Is the Intelligent Vineyard the Future of Winegrape Growing?

Phil and Kim Asmundson will let n.io — an artificial intelligence platform — handle day-to-day irrigation decisions. (Photo Credit: Patrick Lewis)

Phil Asmundson is by no means a veteran viticulturist, but a half-dozen years ago, after watching his wife and business partner, Kim, auguring soil samples, he recalls turning to her and saying, “No offense, but there’s got to be a better way.”

And so began the Asmundsons’ quest to farm a 20-acre high-tech vineyard in Willcox, AZ, designed to produce ultra-premium wines. The term “high-tech” doesn’t do Deep Sky Vineyard justice, however. In fact, it is managed by a company called n.io so that once it is up and going, it could potentially be run with only minimal input from the grower — if that’s what the grower wants.

For example, they’re going to let n.io handle all facets of irrigation this coming year. It seemed like a logical next step after seeing the results of implementing the n.io system in 2016.

“It changed how we looked at the world rapidly,” says Phil Asmundson. “Most growers water by the hour. We did. But emitters can clog and we found what we thought we were putting on the vineyard was off by as much as 45%. Time is not the important metric; it’s how much you put on.”

Adds Kim: “And we have many, many different soils, which all react to irrigation differently.”

Clearly, a more individualized system was called for, Phil says. That, in essence, is what the n.io software platform provides.

“We have 15,000 vines and we listen to every one of them,” he says.

Integrating Technology
Blake Duhame is Program Director for n.io Ag. It is a division of n.io Innovation, a three-year-old Colorado company whose CEO, Doug Standley, worked with Phil Asmundson at Deloitte & Touche. Asmundson is an investor in n.io.

An artificial intelligence platform, n.io was built to be industry agnostic. In addition to agriculture, n.io has also been applied to industry where it is currently digitizing 45 factories, n.io’s core technology being the “secret sauce” behind all of them, Duhame says.

Precision Ag Vision Conference ad“What n.io can do in ag is become the farm’s universal nervous system for all sensing, logic, and control,” he says. “All this dumping of disparate, useless data on farmers becomes overwhelming. With n.io, real-time data from the field is not only being gathered, but autonomously acted upon in an intelligent way.”

For example, frost can be a devastating problem in the high desert of Arizona in the spring, where the average high temperature in April is 77°F, but the average low is 37°F. If n.io senses temperatures approaching freezing in the fruit zone, high humidity, and moisture on the leaves, it will turn on a frost fan, and text the grower that the fan has been turned on. As the temperature rises it will turn the frost fan off, sending the grower another text and warning that according to the forecast there could be another frost that evening.

“The possibilities are endless,” Duhame says. “You no longer have to manually keep track of all this information and then make decisions after the fact.”

Growers can let n.io make as many or as few decisions as they want, Duhame says.

“You can go all the way from n.io offering suggestions to n.io acting completely autonomously on the farmer’s behalf,” he says. “The beauty of n.io is in its simplicity.”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Grapes Stories
GenNext Growers
June 29, 2017
Cornell Graduate Student Earns Grape Disease Research
Doctoral candidate recognized by American Society of Enology and Viticulture for work studying sour rot pathogens. Read More
Grapes
June 29, 2017
Cornell University Wants You to Name That Grape
Contest to name cold-tolerant variety a seedless ‘Concord’-type berry runs through July 31. Read More
Grapes
June 26, 2017
Washington Grape Grower Battles New Threat
Apples, cherries, and pears are also threatened by Tobacco Ringspot Virus, a pathogen never before seen in Washington state. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption Produce Safety Rule
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Grapes
June 5, 2017
California Winegrowers Award Scholarships to Employees’ Kids
California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation awards $30,000 in student scholarships. Read More
Grapes
June 5, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Berry Scarring
It’s a costly defect, but learning what causes berry scarring can help you prevent it. Read More
Grapes
June 3, 2017
Powdery Mildew Management Tips for Vineyards
Follow these suggestions to help reduce disease pressure in your vineyard. Read More
Grapes
June 2, 2017
Cutting Down on Biggest Grape Growing Expense
An automated grapevine pruner hopes may help slash labor costs. Read More
Grapes
June 1, 2017
Organization Now Washington Winegrowers
New name and logo better reflects the evolution of the state’s industry, as more growers have wineries. Read More
Grapes
May 19, 2017
Researchers Still Have a Lot to Learn about Spotted Lanternfly
While some feeding habits have been recognized, there’s still a learning curve with this enigmatic invasive pest. Read More
Grapes
April 25, 2017
Examining the Effectiveness of Biologicals Against Downy Mildew in Grapes
Growing conditions in the East are breeding grounds for pathogens, and coupled with highly susceptible Vitis vinifera cultivars proves to make sustainable grape growing practices a challenge. Read More
glass of red wine
Grapes
April 20, 2017
Would You Be Willing to Pay More for Organic Wine?
While consumers might be ready to fork over more for organic produce, study says the feeling isn't quite the same when it comes to the adult beverage. Read More
Grapes
April 19, 2017
Donnell Brown Named President of National Grape & Wine Initiative
New president brings experience in wine industry communications. Read More
Grapes
March 28, 2017
Understanding the Economics Of Red Blotch in Grapes
An economist and a plant pathologist team up to help growers understand the threshold for action when a vine is diagnosed with the virus. Read More
Grapes
March 6, 2017
Washington Announces Record Winegrape Harvest
‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ is the leading grape variety, accounting for more than a quarter of the total harvest. Read More
The Latest
Grapes
July 7, 2017
California Winegrowers Applaud $5 Millio…
Governor approves Pierce’s Disease Control Program money for the first time since 2011. Read More
Grapes
July 3, 2017
Climate Doesn’t Weigh Heavy On Ste. Mich…
While warming trend has been a part of past few seasons, the vineyard is incorporating new technologies to grape growing versus altering production techniques. Read More
Grapes
July 3, 2017
How to Handle Warming Pacific Northweste…
The warming temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are well-suited for red winegrape production, but other changes in viticulture practices must be made. Read More
GenNext Growers
June 29, 2017
Cornell Graduate Student Earns Grape Dis…
Doctoral candidate recognized by American Society of Enology and Viticulture for work studying sour rot pathogens. Read More
Grapes
June 29, 2017
Cornell University Wants You to Name Tha…
Contest to name cold-tolerant variety a seedless ‘Concord’-type berry runs through July 31. Read More
Grapes
June 26, 2017
Washington Grape Grower Battles New Thre…
Apples, cherries, and pears are also threatened by Tobacco Ringspot Virus, a pathogen never before seen in Washington state. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption P…
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Grapes
June 5, 2017
California Winegrowers Award Scholarship…
California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation awards $30,000 in student scholarships. Read More
Grapes
June 5, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Berry Scarring
It’s a costly defect, but learning what causes berry scarring can help you prevent it. Read More
Grapes
June 3, 2017
Powdery Mildew Management Tips for Viney…
Follow these suggestions to help reduce disease pressure in your vineyard. Read More
Grapes
June 2, 2017
Cutting Down on Biggest Grape Growing Ex…
An automated grapevine pruner hopes may help slash labor costs. Read More
Grapes
June 1, 2017
Organization Now Washington Winegrowers
New name and logo better reflects the evolution of the state’s industry, as more growers have wineries. Read More
Grapes
May 19, 2017
Researchers Still Have a Lot to Learn ab…
While some feeding habits have been recognized, there’s still a learning curve with this enigmatic invasive pest. Read More
Grapes
April 25, 2017
Examining the Effectiveness of Biologica…
Growing conditions in the East are breeding grounds for pathogens, and coupled with highly susceptible Vitis vinifera cultivars proves to make sustainable grape growing practices a challenge. Read More
Grapes
April 20, 2017
Would You Be Willing to Pay More for Org…
While consumers might be ready to fork over more for organic produce, study says the feeling isn't quite the same when it comes to the adult beverage. Read More
Grapes
April 19, 2017
Donnell Brown Named President of Nationa…
New president brings experience in wine industry communications. Read More
Grapes
March 28, 2017
Understanding the Economics Of Red Blotc…
An economist and a plant pathologist team up to help growers understand the threshold for action when a vine is diagnosed with the virus. Read More
Grapes
March 6, 2017
Washington Announces Record Winegrape Ha…
‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ is the leading grape variety, accounting for more than a quarter of the total harvest. Read More