For several decades SITEVI has been awarding prizes to the most innovative products, techniques and services in the vine and wine, fruit and vegetable sectors worldwide. This innovative work being awarded is a clear demonstration of the capacity of businesses to respond to the needs of producers.
The Innovation Awards Panel selected 19 original products, awarding 2 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 12 commendations. These innovations, illustrating the vitality and creativity of the manufacturers, who are keenly in tune with their customers’ needs, will enable producers to meet markets more effectively in terms of quality, health, safety, traceability, performance and marketing.
The award winners were as follows:
There was a particular focus on mechanisation, with the emphasis on harvesting of grapes, indicating that great strides were made with the development of harvesters which meet the constant need to improve the condition of the fruit that goes into the wine, as well as improve operating within the vine row.
The GOLD medal for the permanent 4×4 drive (TPI) for harvesters (PELLENC) is a good example. This anti-slippage device with drives in parallel, works without speed measurement on each wheel and without braking. It preserves the front-back and right-left differential effects with low energy consumption. Simpler and less complex than previous devices, slippage reduction protects the soil, and the safety and stability of the self-propelled vehicle is improved on slopes and banks with better traction capacity.
A SILVER medal (GREGOIRE-LAGARDE) was awarded to the automatic harvester control system in a trellised vineyard. An electronic wave emitter transmits in real time a magnetic field through one of the vine trellis wires. Sensors measure the field intensity and guide the directional control of the harvester. Operational at any time of the year, it frees the driver from having to steer along the line so he can focus his attention on the parameters of the picking operations or, with multipurpose self-propelling vehicles, on trimming, spraying, pre-pruning operations, etc.
The SILVER medal of the Innovation Awards, the trimming machine (I2N) permits thorough thinning while preserving the fruiting zone. The angle of the blade allows cutting at the front – without suction – whilst the rear part creates a depression and draws the plant from the centre of the row towards the cutting system for the finishing cut. This “traditional-style” thinning has a beneficial effect on plant health and keeps treatment to a minimum.
The command and control box for sprayers (NICOLAS THOMAS), commended at the Innovation Awards, centralises the spraying controls, stores the operating and maintenance conditions, the alarm thresholds and gives access to prior input delayed action data. Simple to use, the automated control of the transmission system or sprayers, as well as turbine speed, make it an original and useful tool for passing on work instructions to operatives.
The sprayer for sloping terrain (DRAGONE) has been selected for a commendation. The originality of its distribution device allows it to automatically adjust the position of the nozzles in line with the transverse slope of the vineyard. An electronic balancer indicates the angle of slope; the electronic system calculates the parameters of the vineyard’s characteristics (spacing, distance from the ground and height of the vines) and determines the necessary jet range and direction. The operation is carried out on both sides which provides an economy of product use, especially on irregular terrain.
For working the soil, the same problem of having to work on sloping and reverse slope vineyards finds a solution with the tool carrier frame with hydraulic soil depth control (EGRETIER). Fitted with feelers in contact with the soil, their movement activates hydraulic jacks which keep the frame parallel with the ground. Lateral compensation enables sideways working for reverse slope vineyards. Greater flexibility of use on irregular plots is the characteristic of this innovation.
The scion “grip and snip” grafting kit (WORLDWINE VINEYARDS) enables scions to be selected with great ease in order to carry out all types of top grafting in place of “bud” type grafting of vines, plants and fruit trees. Top grafting, with this device, enables total vine renewal and clone variation on the same plot to be carried out at lower cost. It provides improved productivity for any vine grower or fruit producer wishing to re-graft their vineyard or orchard.
The vine stake extension sleeve (ATELIER PROTEGE LE ROYAL) for use on already existing V-profile type metal stakes, gives greater exposure to trellised grapes. Made of injected polypropylene, this ingenious component is easy to use.
2. Vinification – Oenology
This is clearly the sector that received the most attention among researchers looking into the modern implementation of tried and tested principles, some of which have a long history: quality analysers, aroma recovery apparatus, measuring equipment, wine-leaching equipment, effluent treatment processes, and so forth. [In spite of a considerable number of new products, the panel decided to limit its selection to the most innovative equipment and services].
This is especially the case with the GOLD medal awarded to the SO2 gas absorber (MICHAEL PAETZOLD). This device captures and traps SO2 fumes from a barrel which has been sulphurised prior to filling. Once captured by a compact vertical column, the fumes are treated by an exchange between the fumes in gaseous phase and the treatment solution in liquid phase. Operators are effectively protected from sulphur dioxide emissions and their inhalation. Electric or electronic winery equipment is protected from premature corrosion and atmospheric emissions are eliminated.
Preserving the quality of the fruit is a constant concern for equipment manufacturers. Limiting the grinding and pummelling of the grapes in transit is now possible with the elevator trailer with vibrating floor (AMOS DISTRIBUTION). It has no moving metal parts, conveyor or screw inside its hopper. The grapes are statically screened and then transferred, without mechanical movement, by the vibration of the box. Transportation from the vine to the cellar is carried out in such a way as to keep the berries and bunches as intact as possible and allows them to be lifted and supplied evenly to the sorting tables, de-stemmers or presses.
Filtration earth – kiesselgühr and perlite – is widely used for wine filtration operations, and proved to be an effective, low-cost and simple process. For its disposal after use a collection and recycling service has been developed (FAURE SA). By contract, the winery agrees to store the matter in special boxes and the company carries out the treatment, recycling the diatomaceous earth or recovering the tartaric residue, producing calcium tartrate and composting the sludge mixed with green waste.
3. Packaging and marketing
Recent events affecting the packaging production lines for liquid foodstuffs remind us of the vigilance required from industrialists and the need for all equipment in the bottling line to be of impeccable quality.
The bottling unit (COSTRAL), winner of the SILVER medal in the Innovation Awards, effectively meets this need. A plain and simple design for ease of cleaning, the filler spout has a minimum number of parts in contact with the wine. Contamination or oxygenation of the tank is avoided by preventing any return of air if bottles are not present. The equalisation of the fill level is accurate, regardless of the height of the bottles, and does not require neutral gas or external energy. Cycle times can be programmed and the pivoting stopper column allows simultaneous assembly of 3 stopper systems, capable of handling 1 000 to 3 000 bottles per hour.
The cork elasticity measuring device (CQFD) allows the grading of stopper corks. This device provides a clear and direct reading of the elastic release force, which is directly related to the intrinsic quality of the stopper. Two load sensors located on a dummy bottle, which can be introduced into the bottling line, enable it to display and produce, via a processor, a curve that shows the elastic release force.
The efforts made to personalise products and improve their presentation is directly related to consumer choice. The physical appearance of bottles has a direct influence on their ability to appeal to and attract the consumer. A great many innovations have gone into improving carriers with see-through windows and into simplifying the manipulation of the carrying box itself for use on the display stand.
Further downstream still, in marketing operations where the producer comes increasingly close to his client, tasting becomes a significant aspect in purchasing. The mini-bottle (AD LIBITUM) containing 5cl, without a stopper, has been designed around the medical phial principle. Without plastic or stopper, the wine comes into contact only with the glass which preserves all its organoleptic qualities. It is an excellent promotional tool to be distributed to clients and prospective customers, as well as being utilised in the marketing networks.