Drones will keep you a wino

Drones and Wine

If you asked an average person their feelings about drones, chances are you’d get one of these responses:

  • Terrifying.
  • Seems like something out of a movie.
  • Is that the new Amazon delivery thing?
  • Big Brother.
  • Are cops really going to use that?

Etc, etc.

I actually have a really funny story about my friend claiming his future job will be “major player in the war on drones,” but the story involves so much personal context and you-had-to-be-there-in-the-moment-it-happened that if I wrote it down here, it would fail miserably and I’d feel like a bad little blogger. So I won’t.

Here’s what I did learn today: your natural tendency to reach for a bottle of wine in moments of anxiety, depression, or, well, actual happiness? That’s going to be saved by drones. 

Here’s why:

In Australia, where some vineyards are already starting to move to cooler regions, the Vineyard of the Future is researching ways to adapt. One solution: Using fleets of drones to take detailed shots of the grapes, analyzing that data with an app, and then using automatic irrigation and fertilization to target specific vines that are suffering in a heat wave or drought.

Basic backstory here: traditional wine production takes place in areas like France, Italy, California, Chile, etc. But as climate change becomes more and more of a reality — take a look at this — it will probably have to shift to colder regions. (You could see an uptick of wine production in Stockholm, for example, which is actually 30,000 tiny islands and gets sunlight 21 hours per day in the summer.)

But because areas like Tuscany and parts of France and California really need to keep making wine for their own economy and identity, we need other potential solutions.

Cue the drones.

Drones, of course, are not a permanent solution. Intermediate-to-long term, here’s the deal: wine-making likely has to change varietals (what can grow where and when) and/or change regions (think “South Dakota Chardonnay”).

Farmland as a whole actually had an up-year in 2014, despite a bunch of click-bait headlines in the last 18 months about massive global wine shortages. That said, this is an issue to keep an eye on — and, uh, so is Harvard buying up water rights for the wine-producing areas of California.


Ted Bauer


  1. Drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Remotely Piloted Aircraft, are the future, they can be used in many ways.

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