Drones and ozone for Morellino

In Scansano, Maremma, vineyards become super technological and help respecting the environment

01-09-2016
Technology can also be used to respect the environ

Technology can also be used to respect the environment while improving wine. This was the idea of some producers of Morellino di Scansano who gave life to a very special project. It has Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano as project leaders, joined by team members Fattoria Mantellassi, Fratelli Bruni, Montauto and the participation of Consorzio di Tutela del Morellino di Scansano Docg. Here is Raffaele Foglia’s story for Identità Golose

A project was recently presented that has cooperative winery Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano as project leader, joined by team members Fattoria Mantellassi, Fratelli Bruni, Montauto and the participation of Consorzio di Tutela del Morellino di Scansano Docg. The project’s goal is to increasingly improve the management of the vineyard while respecting the environment. All this through the use of ozone, drones, sensors and Arduino boards.

Let’s start from ozone, which disinfects and sanitizes leaves and induces the plant to be more resistant. During a demo, which took place a few weeks ago, through the passage of a tractor, they spread ozoned water on the plants. Given the characteristics of ozone, the goal is to create a valid and sustainable alternative to the use of chemicals. The fact ozone leaves no traces also allows to work in the vineyard even a few days before harvest, with no risk for consumers. Ozone will also be used in the cellar, both to reduce or eliminate the use of sulphites in wine, and to disinfect and sanitise.

Giuseppe Mantellassi, Benedetto Grechi and Marco Bruni in the vineyard

Giuseppe Mantellassi, Benedetto Grechi and Marco Bruni in the vineyard

The project also includes drones, capable of mapping a hectare-wide vineyard in just 6 minutes. Equipped with a hyper-spectral camera and a 3D scanner, the drone can take a “picture” of the vineyard, plant by plant, collecting info with regards to vigour, hydric stress and other physiological data. The maps created by the drone will later be assembled in a mosaic so as to form a complete image of the vineyard.

This tool will be added to other low cost micro sensors connected to an Arduino boards. These will also serve to monitor the vineyard in detail, creating micro-climatic stations collecting data on a memory stick and then communicating it to technicians via Bluetooth, even at a distance.

Science fiction? It’s not. This programme is already operative and the entire project, lasting two years, has the scientific direction of Fabio Mencarelli, professor at Università della Tuscia and the collaboration of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa.

After all, as Benedetto Grechi, president of Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano, explains «consumer safeguard comes first for us. This is why even before this project we’ve worked hard in these years to certify a traceable product and measure and reduce our wines’ carbon footprint».

A tractor equipped with a prototype to spread ozoned water

A tractor equipped with a prototype to spread ozoned water

After all Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano are also one of the pilot wineries to join the Viva Sustainable Wine project led by the Ministry for the Environment. The environment, also in terms of wastes and using water in the wine productive cycle is a theme Vignaioli hold dear. Indeed their project is based on the use of renewable energy, recycling packaging, using lighter glass and eliminating water waste.

As for water, for instance, in 2012 Vignaioli used 771 litres of water for the production of Morellino di Scansano, while the goal for 2018 is to go below 400 litres. As for greenhouse gas emissions, they’ve reached a result of 1.170 grams of Co2 equivalent for every bottle of wine. This, of course, without forgetting an essential element: wine must be good. And the sample we tasted was good indeed.


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