You probably didn’t know that wine is the second most important product in Macedonia, accounting for 17 to 20 percent of the Balkan country’s agricultural GDP. The local variety of soil creates optimal conditions for wine production. And with over more than 80 registered wine cellars in Macedonia, SmartWine is set to become a valuable asset to the country’s wine industry. The project was originally developed by WIN Group, a developer’s group within the Institute of Telecommunications, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies at the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University – Skopje. The researchers worked together with Makedonski Telekom (which provides SIM cards, hosted data storage collected from the sensors and access to the web solution) and Tikves vineyard.
The intelligent cloud-based, end-to-end system automates grape production and facilitates wine making, following every phase of the process. The solution uses Waspmote, a wireless sensor network distributed on poles throughout a vineyard. For SmartWine, the platform consists of a robust waterproof enclosure with specific external sockets to connect the sensors, a solar panel, an antenna and also a USB cable in order to reprogram the node. The numerous instruments of each Waspmote probe record the weather, leaf moisture, plant growth, soil temperature, solar radiation and soil moisture. Together, the units monitor the vineyard constantly, informing winemakers about the condition of their grapes in real-time. Wine producers save time and money that they can instead invest in strategy, marketing, specialization and pricing – to name but a few key areas in a highly contested market.
All the information gathered by the system is stored on the most reliable cloud infrastructure in Macedonia from Makedonski Telekom and is accessible from any internet-connected device. The winemaker immediately has an overview of all data from a vineyard and can easily control all elements of the winemaking process. The system also triggers an alarm when plants are threatened by disease, drought and frost. This enables the winemaker to intervene if needed – without having to inspect the entire crop.
SmartWine is also an ecological solution increasing efficiency, saving energy, water and crop treatments. By measuring indoor and outdoor parameters, recording soil and plant data, as well as monitoring the fermentation process it can help promote the concept of green wine production.
What’s even better: SmartWine is – despite its name – not limited to the wine industry. The solution behind it is applicable to any other agricultural crop.
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