Published in Good Fruit Grower
By Melissa Hansen, Washington State Wine Commission

December 14, 2016

Technology exists for an almost completely mechanized vineyard, but there’s often hesitation by growers and winemakers concerned about the potential impact on wine quality.

The Washington State Wine Commission is supporting new research to address these concerns, comparing wine quality in hand-pruned, mechanically pruned and mechanically thinned grapes. This has the potential to save the Washington wine industry millions in labor costs and also help address labor shortages.

Preliminary results are encouraging, says Jim Harbertson, Washington State University associate professor of
enology, who is leading the research. “It appears that the outcome is not how you get there (in terms of yield),
but that you get there.”

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Mechanization // Technology //