Software now the hidden bean counter, cellar hand.
Publish Date: November 1, 2005
Author: Beverley Prideaux
The biggest single advantage gained from good information technology in a winery is cost management and reduction. As profit margins shrink alarmingly, every dollar spent unnecessarily has a multiplier effect on the bottom line.
Software that has full accountability and tracking capacity saves time and money on everything from routine administrative tasks to accurate tax control. Preferences between wineries will vary but an integrated system that applies to all areas of wine production is the benchmark.
Goundrey winemaker Stephen Craig is happy with the performance of the Ezywine system, installed in the Mount Barker winery in Western Australia’s Great Southern wine region. “It handles everything, from vineyard through to cellar door. The system is fully integrated and can keep track of parcels of fruit from harvested tonnes, through to delivery of the final product,” he said. “Even where a parcel is split between tanks, the proportion of cost for the fruit is allotted to those batches of wine and maintained. Any additives or procedures are calculated and automatically tracked. Purchase orders are generated automatically when winery requisites reach a set trigger level. At any point in the winemaking process we know the exact composition and cost of every tank in the winery.”
Excel spreadsheets are also used extensively in the winery. The software is programmed to take care of routine tasks and also to produce recording sheets. “If I need to transfer wine from one tank to another, the program produces a worksheet for the cellar hand and tracks the movement,” Stephen said.
“Each red fermentation tank has a dedicated pump run and is operated by the computer so it pumps over automatically at the programmed time. We don’t have to go and push buttons.”
Other software monitors and manages temperature control in tanks. Efficient temperature control can greatly influence power costs. “Our computer systems all have back-up battery systems to prevent malfunctioning if the main power supply fails,” Stephen said.
Source: Australian Vignerons