With the start of this year’s Vinitech-Sifel exhibition this 1rd of december, which, this year, is being held online, Paul Hublart, Product Manager for Vines and Perennial Crops, and Cyrielle PINELLI, Vintel Agro-Marketing Engineer, give us an insight into the latest benefits provided by VINTEL, particularly in terms of profitability for a wine producing estates in today’s rapidly changing climate.
Itk is returning to Vinitech again this year; so what does this event mean to you?
Cyrielle Pinelli: Vinitech is the largest bi-annual French event in the wine industry, and itk has been part of it since 2016. Vinitech is a three day event that gathers members of the wine-making industry, not only from France but also from Europe and even further afield. We appreciate the opportunity to meet with our partners, such as technical advisers, distributors and wineries, as well as with the institutions we have ongoing projects with. It is a unique event where everyone is in the same place at the same time. It provides a great opportunity to meet, discuss and share ideas. Most conversations take place spontaneously and on the spur of the moment!
Given the current health crisis, it is important to maintain this type of interaction, now more than ever before. This online edition will provide us with an up-to-date overview of the industry’s latest developments and allow us to get a real feel for the market. We managed to acquire a large number of clients through Vinitech exhibitions, and a lot of people are now re-discovering the Vintel brand and its recent developments.
What can you tell us about the Vintel® decision-support service?
Paul Hublart: Vintel is an intelligent digital solution that aims to improve the performance (productivity & profitability) of wine production. It provides precise information on the water status of the land, which is essential for vineyard management, both in terms of improving yields and monitoring the wine’s taste and aroma. The Vintel® DST can be used to monitor the vine’s water requirements in real time. It uses agro-environmental models and artificial intelligence to provide irrigation recommendations that are specific to each plot and wine type.
This solution has been on the market for 5 years and is now used in 8 countries.
With regard to the French market, we mostly work with distributors, such as consulting and/or agricultural supply structures.
When it comes to exports, our teams are in direct contact with producers, including around fifteen major clients located in California, the south of Europe, Latin America and China. The Vinitech event is also a great opportunity to meet and discuss with our foreign customers, who currently represent half of our clients.
What is the return on investment for wine producers?
Paul Hublart: Precision irrigation enables producers to ensure high yields and production quality in difficult years by carefully controlling water consumption. In 2017, a year of severe drought, we monitored several plots and compared the ones that were irrigated with Vintel® with those that were not. We found yield losses of 20-40% in the non-irrigated plots.
We are working with a number of local defence and management agencies to help them better anticipate requests for irrigation waivers with the National Institute of Origin and Quality and to make the best irrigation decisions when faced with the risk of yield losses.
However, we always keep within the framework of additional or back-up irrigation. It is not about “pushing for irrigation”, as is sometimes understood, but rather about helping to reduce water consumption and ensuring that not a single drop of water is wasted. Vintel’s agro-environmental model takes into account the plants’ real needs, the soil’s ability to retain water and the amount of water that can actually be absorbed by the roots.
Vintel’s vineyard management system also allows wine producers to optimise production costs and, with it, their income. Some of our clients have saved up to 200 €/ha on their irrigation costs.
Cyrielle Pinelli: Vintel® is also increasingly used by producers who do not use irrigation, or those who are planning on starting their own vineyards. This solution helps us to identify more sustainable production methods and to encourage producers to adopt deficit irrigation practices – by simulating the effects of different planting densities or growing techniques.
The interface allows the producer to enter their grass seeding and pruning practices. Vintel then uses this data to calculate the vine’s water status. It is also used to obtain useful information for environmentally friendly and responsible plot management.
Why partner with Vinseo for this Vinitech event?
Cyrielle Pinelli: Itk has been a member and close collaborator of this wine producing group for the past 6 years, and we take part in Vinitech under the Vinseo banner every year. Being a part of the Vinseo group has increased our exposure, provided us with more networking opportunities and opened up new possibilities for us. There’s a real sense of community, and above all, it’s a really friendly atmosphere!
We hope that this year’s online edition will provide more open access to the exhibited solutions and create better networking opportunities for everyone involved.