HID Global, a provider of logistics-oriented radio frequency identification (RFID) tag solutions, was picked by Bodega Norton winery in Argentina to refine its harvesting process.
The Irvine, Calif.-based firm, in partnership with system integrator Fundación Ada Byron (FAB), worked with Bodega Norton to develop a solution to replace a cumbersome, outdated tracking system that was used for compensating employees. The winery’s former system was based on the manual distribution and collection of thousands of aluminum and plastic chips that tracked the amount of grapes picked by harvesters.
“The chip system presented inherent administrative and logistical difficulties. The paper-based system required that one day a week was allocated for collecting, counting and processing the chips. On that day, harvesters were unable to earn compensation collecting grapes and the winery did not have grapes to proceed with wine production,” HID Global explained.
With the new solution, each harvester is issued an armband equipped with a unique HID Global contactless card; grape collection bins are now tagged with HID Epoxy Disc tags; and vineyard supervisors are outfitted with NFC-enabled smartphones. The system allows vineyard supervisors to place their smartphone next to the harvester’s armband triggering an audible beep that assures both the harvester and supervisor that the collection bin has been counted and credited to the appropriate harvester.
“Hand picking is the only way to harvest grapes properly to ensure the best wine, and at Bodega Norton, people bring to life the winery - if you cultivate the best people, they will help you produce the best wine,” said Pablo Minatelli, vineyard manager for Bodega Norton. “With the best people and reduced administrative time and expense, we get a better harvest and yield.”
Bodega Norton says its 150 harvesters and supervisors now devote an additional day each week to gathering grapes.