The other dimension of weighing

Weighing the harvest: an essential step for wineries seeking efficiency and traceability

3 July 2024

The harvest period is the most important time for a vineyard. This step is decisive because it can call into question the work of a year. Winemakers must redouble their efforts to assess the maturity of the grapes in order to determine the best time to start the harvest. Viticulture is an ancestral art that combines traditional know-how and technological advances. Winemakers, anxious to optimize their harvesting processes, are increasingly turning to modern tools to improve the efficiency of harvest reception and ensure impeccable traceability. Among these essential tools, the weighing of the harvest occupies a prominent place.

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The role and advantages of weighing the harvest in wine-growing areas

Accurate harvest management and value for money:

The weighing of the harvest allows the wineries to know precisely the quantity of grapes harvested. They can plan and optimize the use of fermentation tanks, presses and storage tanks. Weighing the harvest contributes to more efficient logistics and economic management.

Traceability, management of grape varieties and parcels:

Precise management of harvest inputs facilitates the traceability of grape varieties. By recording the quantities of each grape variety harvested, wineries can follow the evolution of stocks and evaluate the yield of each grape variety and plot. This also helps to comply with the regulations concerning the origin, the composition of the wines, and to ensure compliance with the designations of controlled origin. The weighing of the harvest contributes to better management of water resources and wine inputs. It promotes a more sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture. Weighing data can be used to target areas with the highest yields, facilitating the adoption of more resource-efficient viticultural practices.

Precise count of harvest inputs:

For wineries that buy grapes from independent growers, the weighing of the harvest is essential to ensure fairness between the parties involved.

Weighing the harvest: Two reliable approaches for wineries

Precise management of the weighing of the harvest is essential for wineries. Two methods in particular have proved their worth: The axle weights for the harvest reception and the weight sensors integrated under the reception conquests. Let’s look in detail at how these systems work and how they improve the harvest reception process.

Weight axles for harvest reception

Axle weights for harvest reception are mobile weighing systems used to measure the harvest weight of harvesting or transport vehicles. The flexibility of this method allows winemakers to measure the weight of grapes as soon as they arrive at the site, regardless of the location of the reception. Dynamic weighing ensures quick and easy operation. Axle weights offer accurate and reliable measurements. They help optimize the production and reception processes of the harvest.

Good practices for the installation and use of axle weights for the reception of the harvest

Traceability of measures guaranteed by the COFRAC brand:

Benefit from a calibration certificate with precise and verifiable traceability. At Captels, the axle weights for harvest reception are calibrated and adjusted using standard weights. They offer traceability of the measures guaranteed by the COFRAC brand.

Install the axle weight on a flat surface:

Choose a flat, stable surface in a straight line in order to install the axle weights for harvest reception. Concrete or asphalt surfaces are generally preferred for their stability and strength. Avoid loose, uneven or sloped surfaces. These result in load transfers between axles and loss of accuracy.

Periodic verification of the instrument:

A periodic check of the axle weight is recommended. This involves calibration using standard weights with traceability of measurements guaranteed by the COFRAC mark. For use in dynamic weighing mode, you can make a comparison with a weighbridge-type reference weighing system. A regular check will allow you to quickly detect and adjust any potential deviations in measurements.

Operator Training:

Operator training is recommended for optimal use of the axle weight when receiving the harvest. It aims to ensure a complete understanding of the operation of dynamic weighing and the implementation procedures. This simple and accessible training does not require any particular prerequisites. Its goal is to reduce handling errors and maximize measurement accuracy.

Axle Scales for Harvest Reception

Weight sensors for harvest reception conquests

In wine estates equipped with receiving conquests, the use of weight sensors can be an effective solution to obtain precise weight measurements of the harvest. These sensors are installed directly under the receiving conquests. The weight sensors automatically measure the weight of the harvest discharged into the weighing hopper. They allow the direct recording by an operator the weight of the harvest at the time of reception.

To fully exploit the advantages of this method, wineries must have a suitable reception dock. This approach ensures reliable weighing data to optimize the process. Nevertheless it remains less flexible than the use of axle weighing system for the harvest reception. It is important to respect the manufacturer’s installation and use recommendations. Here are some key guidelines:

Choosing the right location for installation:

Weight sensors must be installed in a suitable location. Make sure that the surface on wich the weighing hopper will rest in flat, stable and able to withstand the intended load. For an existing dock, don’t forget to take into account the height of the weigh sensors to make the position of the conch optimal. A good location must also allow easy access for the reception of grapes and the maintenance of weight sensors.

Periodic calibration of weight sensors:

Periodic verification of the weight sensors is necessary to ensure their accuracy. Calibration shall be performed with standard or substitute masses. This will adjust any potential drift of the sensors and ensure reliable measurements of the harverst weight.

Training of user personnel:

Train staff in the use of weight sensors is necessary. Training should cover the operation of the weighing system, appropriate weighing procedures and awareness of errors to avoid. This adequate training will help the user staff to avoid handling error during the harvest reception process.

Preventive maintenance and regular cleaning:

A preventive maintenance program for the weighing hopper will have to be implemented. This includes regular inspections, cleaning of the weight sensors, checking cables and connections. Preventive maintenance will hep to quickly identify and correct a potential failure, while extending the life of weighing equipment.

Weighing hopper

Increasing efficiency and tracabilty: the essential contribution of grape weighing in viticulture

Modern viticulture is a subtle balance between tradition and technology, wherre every step of the wine production process is carefully scrutinized to obtain superior quality products. From the vineyard to the cellar, the weighing of the harvest is an essential step for wineries in search of efficiency and traceability. By gaining in efficiency and traceability with the support of this essential step, wineries can not only improve their productivity and competitiveness, but also meet the growing expectation of consuments for superior quality and environnementally friendly products.

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