In This Case Study

Challenge

Bouchaine Vineyards is the oldest continuously operating winery in Carneros, a region located in the southern tip of Napa Valley, CA. For years, the winery relied on visual cues along with weather data and industry expertise to achieve maximum yield and determine when to irrigate specific blocks of grapevines. 

However, increasing threats from climate change--like rising temperatures, drought and smoke--began making this approach more difficult. Bouchaine decided that technology could help them respond to the threats of climate change as well as meet mandates to reduce water consumption due to extreme multi-year droughts. 

For example, precise temperature sensors in specific vineyard blocks could help determine when to open the canopy to expose grape clusters to additional light in cool vintages or to leave extra leaf coverage to protect the clusters in hot years. 

In addition, sensors on vineyard assets could help inform decisions related to day-to-day operations, such as:

  • Supplying the correct amount of water at the right time
  • Managing the distribution of water
  • Managing asset location and scheduling
  • Managing asset maintenance and health
  • Automating tasks that require considerable time

Bouchaine had already installed IoT sensors in its vineyards and incorporated them into different aspects of its operations. Now, however, it needed a partner that could help tie all the data they were receiving from these sensors to other data sources for a complete picture of growing and operational health. 

Solution

WWT was introduced to Bouchaine through Cisco to explore the integration of sensor data collected by Cisco's Industrial Asset Vision (IAV) product. IAV pulls together data from remote sensors placed in the vineyard along with several other data sources, including those related to weather. This integration enables entire teams to have access to the same data on a single platform, enabling Bouchaine to make informed decisions about growing. 

From an operational perspective, the vineyard management company receives information from GPS tracking sensors placed on mobile assets to know their location in real time. Vineyard management needs to coordinate several tractors daily across multiple properties, and having location information improves their productivity. 

WWT provided recommendations to deploy and commission the Cisco IAV sensors and integrate the data stream into a comprehensive observability stack. This stack also integrates water consumption through real-time metering, power consumption and quality, as well as local and global weather data. This myriad of data is accessible by all stakeholders.

Several technologies make up the total sensor and IoT solution for Bouchaine. 

  • Deployment of standards-based temperature, humidity and light sensors using IAV coupled with weather data from cloud-based weather services paint a clear picture of the vineyard environment using ground truth from the vineyard. This capability allows Bouchaine to confirm the micro-climate of a vineyard block against the mesoscale environment of a region and globally.
  • Cisco Edge Intelligence is used to collect and transform data from production assets like wells, tanks, industrial controls and other aspects of the manufacturing side of wine production.
  • Observability is achieved using an enterprise-class data collection and visualization platform that processes data of any source or type into usable insights.
WWT supplied sensor, wireless network and equipment interface consulting and implementation, as well as integration into an observability solution. Additional integration is on the roadmap.

Results

Precise water monitoring

Bouchaine buys recycled water from Sonoma County to irrigate their fields. Delivery of water is billed by way of using a flow meter that is inconsistent. Cisco and WWT worked with the vineyard management company to digitize all meters within the system and use the real-time data to calculate exact usage and correct any faults that may result in excess consumption. 

Ongoing use of flow metering will be used to compare exact water delivery billed at the source and to water consumption at the field level. This will help Bouchaine identify any infrastructure issues, such as clogged filters and pipes or leaks.

Data will be used to trend water use more closely than what is possible today from "doing rounds." This data-driven approach has the added benefit of eliminating truck rolls.

Collection of systematic vineyard data

Previously, Bouchaine didn't have a way to collect microscale data in the vineyard, which could be tracked by block over time and used in conjunction with other collected data to assess the quality of the vintage. 

The collection of systematic vineyard data will allow growers to learn more about ideal growing parameters for their specific site, thereby informing future planting.

Enhanced visitor experience

By deploying mesh wireless technology, Bouchaine is now able to activate its vineyard as a broadcast station, enhancing on-site tours as well as virtual sales. The camera system that is broadcasting uses Cisco CURWB as the backhaul that allows video streams to be sent back to the corporate network.

Having a live video experience from the vineyard is expected to enhance search engine optimization for increased web performance. 

Improved brand image

From a product sales point of view, 100,000 corporate customers encountered Bouchaine virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new digital transformation refreshes the story and the brand, extending the relevance of a virtual/hybrid experience. 

For corporate on-site visits, Bouchaine can now offer a sunset view over the San Francisco Bay from the position of the dining room. For tours, they can provide live interactions with their friends or social network.

Moving forward

Bouchaine is enjoying real-time visibility of vineyard health using multiple types of sensors from multiple manufacturers. WWT has enabled the winery to observe their operation both in the vineyard and in production areas. 

But this is just the beginning of Bouchaine harnessing technology. With sensor infrastructure and a comprehensive observability stack in place, the winery can pursue deeper integration, scaling out beyond the vines in Napa, CA, to other "sister wineries" around the world.

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