In June of 2018 Riverland Wine growers boldly invited a team of senior academics from the University of Adelaide to come to the Riverland and work with them to develop digital technology, specifically to reduce production costs. The team of ten ‘Thinking Growers’ (T10), referred to the nine academics as the ‘Nerdy Nine’ (N9). They became friends. Wine Australia came along and encouraged the two groups to work together. Riverland Wine made a cash contribution to establish a trial. The state government jumped in and doubled the money. Wine Australia added some more cash and more encouragement and the trial of a range of remote sensing devices began.
This week, in a joint media release, the University, Wine Australia and Riverland Wine have announced a $5 million digital technologies project to be undertaken in the region over the next several years. PIRSA are keenly supporting the work as are CCW.
The first serious challenge for the researchers is to show growers that this technology is well and truly affordable and within their reach and that it will reduce production costs. A target date of June 30 this year has been set as the deadline for a ‘show ‘n tell’ field day to illustrate the sorts of sensors that may be utilised and how the data collected, will be presented in user friendly ‘dashboard’ views.