05/02/2024 // Nick Edwards

Robots uncorked! Saffron Grange trials VR

Robots uncorked! Saffron Grange trials VR

At Saffron Grange we take great pride in marrying traditional viticulture techniques with the very latest technological advances, in our ongoing quest to bring you the most delicious quality English Sparkling Wines.

This is why we are delighted to embark on a new adventure this year in a new project with VR specialists Extend Robotics and the brilliant minds at Queen Mary University, London, funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), that we hope will supercharge our vineyard management practices.

Now, we know that talking about VR, robotics, and AI can be a bit like navigating a vineyard in the dark for some of us but bear with us as we attempt to break the project down into small sips…

Tech takes root: introducing our new robot-helper

This Spring, Saffron Grange will welcome its newest team member in the form of a robot, armed with VR capabilities. It’s here to work alongside our team over the next two years to help make our work even more precise and environmentally friendly. The robot will be like a virtual vineyard superhero, operated remotely through a VR headset and computers. One of its top skills? Image spectral analysis acting much like a pair of superhero goggles for grape analysis – helping our team quickly and effectively detect pests and diseases.

Blending innovation with tradition

The project aims to bring the emerging ‘precision viticulture’ trend to the forefront of vineyard management practices in the UK. As the pilot vineyard, this is something we are fully behind and proud to help advance. Precision viticulture blends advanced technologies, data analytics, and precision farming techniques to allow growers to remotely monitor crop health, identify potential issues early on, and take appropriate action. Ultimately, this will help produce better overall crop quality and a more fruitful harvest.

While this is all very exciting, we remain deeply committed to traditional winemaking techniques that have stood the test of time. Our approach is to marry these traditional approaches with new technologies to ensure that your favourite Saffron Grange wines continue to impress even the most discerning of palates!

Sipping success: UK vineyards surge

Why is it needed? With a projection of over 29 million bottles being produced annually and a 90% increase in vineyard land by 2032, the UK viticulture industry is surging and there is a real need for efficiency. At Saffron Grange, we believe there is real potential in emerging technologies, such as VR and robotics, to significantly impact growth and productivity.

So, here’s to our high-tech vineyard adventure – a toast to innovation, sustainability, and of course, exceptional wine! We look forward to sharing updates with you on what we discover and learn throughout this project, so be sure to check back regularly.