On September 10th, the project i-GRAPE was celebrated amidst “Porto Wine Day”, an event hosted by the Port and Douro Wines Institute (IVDP). With the goal of preserving the wine’s heritage and attained to the theme “Douro + Susteinable”, this was also an opportunity to celebrate Sogrape, which was awarded in the “Viticulture” category. INL is the project coordinator of i-GRAPE and Professor Paulo Freitas, INL’s Deputy Director-General, attended the event, held at Teatrinho Reguense, in the city of Peso da Régua.
i-GRAPE is an innovative project, focused on developing a new generation of analytical methods for control of the grape maturation phase and vine hydric stress. Operating in a highly competitive market, its simple, rapid and cost-effective techniques will allow the winemaker to control irrigation in the latest steps of grape maturation, and plan the harvest at the optimum time. When it comes to efficacy, this means optimizing wine quality at the end of the wine value chain. Promoting forefront applications to everyday fields, i-GRAPE provides a digital tool that supports the decision-making processes, making sure that the automation control has an impact in the quality and value of the wine. This tool consists in an apparatus that is a fully integrated, low-cost, stand alone optical device for monitoring grape maturation and vine water stress.
Surpassing the general knowledge of wine’s cultural relevance, the ceremony organized by IVDP was a gathering point for future progress. In Professor Paulo’s view, this was an opportunity to think collectively: “Amidst the celebration of ‘Port Wine Day’, in Régua, IVDP recognized the work made by Sogrape (in collaboration with INL and the other partners integrating i-GRAPE), awarding it the ‘Sustainable Douro’ viticulture prize, for the development of a dispositive that autonomously evaluates the maturation of grapes”.
The long-term i-GRAPE vision is to bring the “lab” to the vine, and the parameters pertaining to vine and grape control to the home base station on the farm, without human intervention. INL is part of the consortium formed by partners from Italy, Germany and Portugal.