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Tomorrow Today

The Fully Automated Grape Harvest

Modern technology has long been part of wine-growing. Self-propelled grape harvesters shake the grapes off the vines without inspecting them for quality. After the automatic harvest, the grapes are collected at the winery, and at this point, if the vintners aim to produce a finer wine, they have to have the harvest sorted - by hand, at great expense of both time and money.

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Now wine experts from Geisenheim University are working on a way to automate this process, as well. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute of Optonics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation are pitching in with a testing facility. The scientists use a high-speed camera to help them distinguish the various degrees of ripeness and sugar content in each individual grape. Their objective is not just to be able to sort out foreign matter, but to sort grapes according to quality.