Australian winemakers will have a better idea of when to pick their grapes thanks to new tech they can carry in their pocket.
Developed by researchers at Charles Sturt University, the WineOz Smart Grape app makes it easier for growers and vineyard managers to measure and track grape development.
The new app could help growers make even higher quality wine.
Lead researcher Professor Leigh Schmidtke says the smartphone app allows growers to quickly measure and chart the colour and size of wine berries.
“Being able to measure and chart colour change is very valuable and allows winemakers to predict when they should be harvesting the grapes to end up with the style of wine they want to produce,” Schmidtke says.
“What’s more, the colour and berry size data can be used to monitor negative developments in the crop.
“For example, if you start to see a reduction in the size of the berries that you wouldn’t expect as they normally mature, you know that they are losing water and can take remedial action.”
Australia is the fifth-largest wine producing nation in the world.
The nation’s more than 2,400 wineries and 6,200 grapegrowers contribute $40 billion to the economy each year.
Wine Australia General Manager Research, Development and Extension, Dr Liz Waters, said the app has translated Australian-based research into a simple tool suited to Australian conditions.
“The app will make it easier for grapegrowers and winemakers to use objective measures – proven for Australian conditions – to determine the optimum fruit picking ‘window’ to suit desired wine styles,” Waters says.
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