Whether your winery brings in 5 tons or 5,000 tons, getting ready for harvest takes time, sufficient planning, and financial investment (enter harvest intern expense). However, all that work could be compromised if there isn’t proper organization throughout the entire process. Without it, you might end up burning yourself out. That is when mistakes start to happen, details fall through the cracks, and your level-headed state of mind becomes threatened.
Although not all wineries share the same workflow procedures or winemaking styles, there are some shared ways to avoid many operational headaches. We spoke with some of our boutique producers, as well as some of our larger clients, on their secrets to maintaining, if not increasing, wine quality and preserving their sanity during this chaotic time of year.
Here are some of common themes among successful wineries:
1) Strong vineyard tracking
Having the ability to record and access fruit maturity and phenologic data from anywhere, including right in the middle of your vineyard. And being able to access historical data when identifying problem blocks, as it can help you craft proactive strategies to ensure quality this year and for years to come.
2) Plan out your picks
Don’t get caught without a home for your fruit! Using real-time vineyard data, estimate your pick dates in advance, especially for your largest lots. This helps to ensure that you don’t have to hold fruit in the cold room (if you’re lucky enough to have one) until space frees up which could compromise quality.
3) Digital fermentation tracking
Get your Brix and Temperature readings recorded into your software the second it’s taken by your team, thereby giving you instant access to any problem spots that may arise. We all know how critical catching those temperature spikes can be and how a slight slip-up could affect quality.
4) Get external lab results immediately
Get notified of your external lab results the minute they’re posted. Making sure your production software enables automating analytic uploads allows you take instant action on the results. You won’t have to wait for an email and manually enter the results into your database or spreadsheet to make those time-sensitive decisions.
5) Label vessels with valuable information
Wandering around barrel rows wondering what they contain? There’s an easy solution for that. Label them with pre-populated stickers containing lot and barrel information so you know exactly what it is, all the treatments the lot has had, and recent analytics. A QR code takes it a step further, allowing you to quickly scan the barrel with your mobile device to access all that information digitally. And hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you send out a work order right there on the spot using your tablet!
6) Digitize Work Orders
Imagine this – when harvest is over, you’re actually done! You don’t have to spend days or weeks at your desk updating your records from those piles of paper work orders. Software has come a long way in the past decade to allow for mobile entry of daily harvest information and cellar workflow. With a digital work order system, it’s quick and easy to assign tasks to your team, monitor their progress, and validate their work before it’s recorded. Say hello to your future! You can now focus all those wasted data entry hours spending time with your wines.
7) Understand your COGS
Who knows, maybe you’ll find a little extra room in your budget to invest in that special project to take your wines to the next level! You won’t know until you start tracking costs, and over time you can use historical data to make better, more informed decisions that increase profitability.
8) Automate compliance reporting
Stop spending time each month, quarter or year shuffling through all that paperwork to reconcile your gains and losses – look for ways to automate and simplify the process. We know you’d prefer to spend your time in the cellar focusing on your wines, and that’s how it should be!
Finding a solution that knocks out all 8 of these stressors is not a challenge. InnoVint’s intuitive and powerful winemaking system hits the mark on all of them and ensures that you have the tools to create the best wine possible, without all the headaches. We’ve worked hard to develop a software that allows you to improve overall wine quality, and your business – that’s a winning combination you can’t ignore.
There’s still plenty of time to get started with InnoVint prior to harvest! Our winemakers on staff are ready to cater our product to your needs. Tell us a little about yourself at email@example.com or give us a ring at 707-418-0119.