It seems every day there is a new article stating, ‘robots to do this and robots to do that by 20XX…’. Well now it’s the wine industry’s turn to have this discussion with Chateau Clerc, a fifth-growth Chateau situated in Pauillac Bordeaux, having just signed up their first ‘robot employee’ named ‘Ted’.
It’s important to note though that Ted is not here to take over fine wine, in fact, his role will be to relieve the current employees of some of the repetitive tasks that need to be completed. A human hand is still essential for a perfect, high quality harvest.
Ted was developed in partnership between French agricultural-tech company Naio Technologies and the chateau owner Baron Philippe de Rothschild. It has been purpose built to manage the particular difficulties of the densely planted vineyard’s terrain, which comprises of roughly 99-acres of very old rows of vines that are unevenly spaced. Ted utilizes a GPS-guided system which has a pre-programmed map.
Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy, director of Clerc Milon, says that even though there’s a fair bit of tinkering to be done, he finds it very exciting and reckons Ted should be ready to go come Spring. He also feels that robots are an effective solution for reducing their dependency on fossil fuels and the harm caused by traditional agricultural machinery.