Hungarian farm-monitoring technology lured to Chilean wineries

The cutting-edge equipment predicts disease and gives growers time to take preventative action, and arrived in Chile thanks to entrepreneurial fund.

A new, high-tech presence can be expected on Chile’s famed vineyards after an entrepreneurial team from Hungary has been enticed to enter the Chilean wine industry, thanks to Chile’s size and reputation, as well as a government fund that is helping new businesses set up shop in Chile.
How it works
SmartVineyard uses patented radar-sensor network technology to link rain, leaf wetness, temperature, humidity and soil moisture to mathematical models that predict disease.
The early warning system, which has already met with success in Hungary and in southern Slovakia, means that farmers can take preventative action, and generate higher yields of better quality.
“There are grapevine diseases that are hard to predict like powdery mildews, downy mildews, botrytis, black rot,” SmartVineyard chief sales officer, Dávid Salamon, told Fresh Fruit Portal.
“That’s where we come into the picture, to help the winemaker reduce their production cost by optimizing their schedule and irrigation management,” Salamon said.
The technology, which took three years to develop and has been in use for 1.5 years, involves a network of sensor stations deployed around the vineyard that connect to radar-sensor network technology, which sends the information to producers’ home computers or smartphones.
Why Chile?
Salamon said that coming to Chile represented a “dream” for the Hungarian company, which is now positioned to expand into a much larger market.
“We wanted a place with large-scale production and where technology would be more mature,” he said. “From four hectares up, the technology pays for itself in three years time, but it’s the bigger wine producers that can benefit the most out of it…”
 
Added Value for Consumers
An added bonus of the product is a traceability function that Salamon says will add value to his clients’ products.
“Every bottle of wine being produced with the technology will be able to be traced back to the vineyard where it was produced, and the protection methods applied traced back, whether it’s in the barrel or in the shop shelf, so customers will be able to get additional information from their smartphones by checking the QR code on the label of the wine,” he said.
“We’ve also trademarked the SmartVineyard label so that this could be associated with less chemical consumption in viticulture, so that it gives an edge for our customers up on the shop shelves as well.”