Science of Wine

Farm Press: Digital data management drives grower’s efforts to produce world-class quality fruit

Digital data management drives grower’s efforts to produce world-class quality fruit

Western Farm Press | By Greg Northcutt | May 10, 2017 | Original ARTICLE

“Our approach is to farm the individual vines so that the fruit they produce all ripens together as a group. We’re trying to do that by employing technology that allows us to analyze macro-level data to help us understand the vineyard at the micro-level. ”

Geographic information systems, which are used to store, analyze and manage such geographic data as soil types, cropping patterns and rainfall, are the future of farming, says Christian Palmaz, president of Palmaz Vineyards, in the Coombsville AVA, near Napa, Calif.

A World Underground – Visualized

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A world Underground – Visualized

The Palmaz Winery is a flawlessly engineered labyrinth of cave tunnels burrowed deep inside Mt George created for the single purpose of making a great wine.  It’s complex structure spans over 100,000 square feet, 18 stories underground and nearly 3 city blocks deep.  Understanding it’s overall architecture is quite challenging even for those who visit in person much less those who visit the website.  The solution was to take the CAD drawings from the engineering team and recreate the facility and mountain in 3D.  Over the years, with the help of brilliant 3D render artist Lance Hitchings, the models have become more and more life-like.

A Year with VIGOR

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SCIENCE OF WINE: A Year with VIGOR | OCT 30TH, 2016 | BY CHRISTIAN PALMAZ

It has been an honor to receive such recognition by press and industry colleagues for our various innovations.  Salon Magazine recently called us “the most technologically advanced winery on the planet and Life Refined said we “flawlessly meld futuristic innovation with ancient winemaking techniques.”  Additionally it has been a pleasure to share our experience and technology with visitors from all over the world.

Science of Wine: Cover Crops Part II

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CERTAIN PLANTS HAVE PARTICULAR TALENTS THAT ADDRESS A VINEYARD’S NEEDS. Generally speaking, a single vineyard can support anywhere from three to six different seeds mixed between the rows, depending on that location’s needs. Here are a few of the more interesting characters we sow, and the talents they possess:

Science of Wine: Cover Crop Part I

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I ONCE HEARD A COMEDIAN SUGGEST that the perfect thing to say to sound like an expert while swirling a glass of wine is “The rains were good that year.…” It got a laugh from everyone in the club that night, but what makes me laugh is the idea that the rains are ever simply considered “good” in any year. In 2013, for instance, there wasn’t enough rain. The 2010 rains were poorly timed. Now, in the winter of 2015-’16, erosion is a concern. Good or bad, we don’t just roll over in the mud and throw our hands up. The committed winemaker plants seeds in the mud — and prays for good weather.

Wine Business Monthly Talks Cap Management

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WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY featured Palmaz Vineyards this month in a fascinating article regarding the complex art of cap management during fermentation.  Christian Palmaz explains how the winery’s unique thermographic system allows winemakers to understand temperature distribution inside of a fermenter.  This research has led to new understandings as to why and when certain aromas and favors extract into wine.  The full article can be seen by clicking here.

THE SCIENCE OF WINE No. 1: Technology’s Uses — and Its Limits

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“The Science of Wine” is a monthly column by Christian Gastón Palmaz about the pursuit (and achievement) of the seamless fusion of technology, art and tradition in winemaking. 

PAY A VISIT TO Palmaz Vineyards and you’ll encounter a dazzling array of technology, but don’t be fooled — all that swanky, futuristic stuff is not what makes the wine. Like so many other technical art forms, winemaking at its core remains qualitative, creative and intimately human. At Palmaz, the art of wine still occurs in the glass, and magic happens in those quiet moments when the winemaker’s mind is open to perceiving, appreciating and harnessing what Mother Nature has given to a particular vintage.

Beginning with my time in school, I’ve been struck by the way some technology actually impinges on the ability to be creative. Learning how to code in various programming languages and toiling on spreadsheets made my brain ache. Database technologies are powerful tools, but I fell victim to spending countless hours crunching data and not enough time outside with dirt under my boots.