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Wine goes very technical

Here is a diverting read: a trip to Napa Valley’s wine country. It involves a robotic grape picker. The Singularity is coming!

12 comments to Wine goes very technical

  • time for the new Luddites.

  • cjf

    My apology to Monty Python; but,
    “Luddites? Did someone say Luddites?”
    Funny how part numbers cheaply stenciled, may be
    changed, in so many systems. Sorry, “new guy”.

    Oh, no! Citizen “Cain Winery”. Wonder if they, too,
    ‘will not sell a fine wine, before it’s time” ?

  • Steven Rockwell

    This is great. When they remake I Love Lucy, they can replace that bumbling redhead with C-3P0. The fellow robotic stomper C-3P0 fights with can be played by Marvin the Paranoid Android. Hilarity ensues.

  • Laird

    Not to be unduly pedantic, but the article talks about a robotic grape sorter, not picker. Frankly, I would think that a robotic picker should be more useful, but what do I know?

  • cjf

    Pickers come out, next season. Illegal labor is eagerly
    awaiting them. A fine vintage with just a hint of machine oil.

    There was a movie, I think it was “Runaway” with Tom Selick ??? about pickers run amok.

    Ah, new places for small children to put their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (I know of someone whose child put one in a VCR drive. Someone else’s put a cookie in the CD drive)

  • DavidC

    The last time I visited the Napa Valley, we chatted to the local winer for 1/2 hour, and then its expected that one buys some of the wine which could be anything from £30 a bottle.

  • Nuke Gray

    A few years ago, my friend and I were discussing this, and we realised that humans would still be able to monopolise some jobs, such as running bars devoted to robot clients! Call them Andies bar, or Squeak-easies, the only place for any artificial person to relax after work. sounds like i should start that business NOW!

  • andyinsdca

    @Nuke Gray: See Rush’s video for “The Body Electric”

  • The leading wine techies have for quite a while now been at the University of California at Davis, not far away from there at all. I think the more interesting stuff comes in on the molecular gastronomy and the genetics side of things, but improving grape sorting is also useful, I guess.

    The trouble with the Napa Valley is that it is full of far too many people who made money in Silicon Valley or Hollywood and have then semi-retired and bought or founded wineries. This leads to winemakers who have too much pretention, too high an opinion of their winemaking skills, and too little familiarity with wines that don’t cost £30 a bottle. This leads to the wines there being too expensive, and the region being one of the world’s leading centres of wine-wankery.

    Which is not to say that wonderful wines are not made in the Napa – they most definitely are.

  • James Waterton

    Humpf. The technical/scientific revolution in winemaking saw its genesis in Australia (canopy management etc.) and this continues to this day.

  • Yes, maybe. Australia has been very influential in the industrialisation of winemaking and getting quality control right, but as I said, I think the more molecular aspects of it have tended to be US driven. There has been lots of feedback between the two places anyway. One of the most famous influential of the more technical Australian winemakers is Brian Croser, who is a Davis graduate (and whose winery is named after a place in California), and there are plenty more.

  • mac

    The roboticization of agriculture can’t come soon enough. Whenever I hear some American idiot spout the usual tripe that “we can’t have agriculture without all the Mexicans,” I ask them how they think the Japanese and the Australians do it. Do they they the Aussies and Nipponese import Mexicans to pick their crops?

    When I get the usual blank look, I tell them about mechanization of agriculture. Unfortunately, most of them completely ignore that point and then go on to say it’s just racist to not want to help all the fine Mexicans who come to the U.S. to pick crops.

    Of course, the fine Mexicans picking the crops are also having kids that run up the costs of local schools, fill the prisons, and stage demonstrations in LA and Frisco waving the Mexican flag and calling for Aztlan. If Cal had the $ in its treasure that it spends every year on illegals, its budget would be in balance.

    Liberals. True, unadulterated, unmitigated fools. Damn the lot of them to Hell.