LIVERMORE, Calif. – August 23, 2022 – California winemakers are using A.I. to combat climate change challenges. Self-driving tractors, drones and mountains of data are changing the Gamble Family Vineyards' approach to farming.
Watch the Fortune On-Demand Interview with Tom Gamble, Proprietor of Gable Family Vineyards.
Gamble believes that utilizing innovative tools, like artificial intelligence, allows his team to drop many tedious production tasks and focus on more value-added projects.
Seeing so much tech in California wine country is both expected and yet not. Wine has often marketed itself as a natural product, one that combines art and science, with much more emphasis on the art side of the process. That’s been changing in the past decade, as younger generations have taken the reigns at wineries and naturally shift to more technological solutions.
Recently, it’s been enhanced by extreme and volatile weather patterns in California wine country: ongoing drought, rising temperatures, and wildfires that have led to smoke taint from wildfires, diseases in the vineyards, and lots of lost juice in a region that accounts for 81% of wine production in the United States. A report by Allied Grape Growers and the California Association of Winegrape Growers estimates that in 2020, the California wine industry lost more than $600 million due to climate-related impacts.
Yet its proximity to Silicon Valley may have a natural effect too: winemakers are increasingly adopting technological tools to navigate current challenges and look to the future amid climate change.
Gamble shared that the University of California, Davis, is working to release a mobile testing kit designed for non-technicians to use in the field to analyze vine health and detect disease before it spreads. Gamble is also following the development of driverless tractors, and Srivastava says that robotics will play a role in the future of AgTech for both production and shipping.
“A.I. is the future for those willing to invest,” Gamble says. “Those who do not will become less competitive. The needs of people, planet, and profit—the Venn diagram of sustainability—are all being addressed when A.I. is property used.