Predictive Analytics and the Art of Winemaking
A Reno company has brought the Internet of Things to winemaking, with connected bung devices that alert winemakers to quality-killing elements inside the barrel.
“If the wine begins to spoil, we catch it,” say founders Jeff Urmston and Greg Howard of TrenLot.
They’re offering a hardware-software service. The hardware has sensors to detect changes to temperature, pressure, or humidity inside the barrel, as well as chemical activity that could presage product denigration.
Then, rather than dump a pile of data on the winemaker’s desk, the software analyzes the info and presents it as “actionable insights” that facilitate decision-making.
Urmston and Howard credit their system with preventing a costly loss at one of their beta sites when it reported an across-the-board rise in barrel temperatures after a roll-up door in a storage area was left open on a summer day.
For winemakers who sniff at the notion of being “replaced” by technology, the founders say this is a time-saver that replaces the “busy work” of hand monitoring, and frees the winemaker to engage in the art of winemaking.
The founders were acquainted through their work in gaming technology. The idea for the product came as they were bottling a batch of Howard’s homemade wine.
Urmston and Howard have submitted two patent applications. Egged on by Greg Hughes of Hughes Private Capital, they told guests at a recent event they’d be happy to speak with prospective investors. To complete their beta phase will require just under $500,000. Taking the product to market will require roughly $5 million.