Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The End of Hand Sorting?

I am not always a fan of technological advances brought to winemaking but then most of those tend to be about controlling anomalies: spinning out excess alcohol, remastering chemical composition to account for low acids, etc.
The optical sorting machine seems to be a winner. Bloomberg ran a piece about this machine and I found it on Dr. Vino's blog. It is fascinating technology, seemingly meeting with glowing reviews from real-world users. The grapes move through the machine and a picture is taken, then sub-par grapes are blown off the line with a poof of air.
This may be another blow to day-laborers and maybe even to volunteers who like to help during harvest. Many small wineries will not be able to afford the $175K price tag, so this is not the new face of all sorting, but it seems like a technological improvement we can all get excited about!
As long as that cost is met with real savings, so the prices don't shoot up faster than the quality...but if the improvement is as good as they claim, even a nominal increase in price can be justified by an accompanying rise in quality.

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