Shelburne Vineyard, a Vermont-based winery that produces red, white and ice wines using Northern varietal grapes and sustainable agriculture, has installed wireless environmental sensing system to monitor grape crops health during seasonal changes.

The vineyard uses distributed network of low-power wireless nodes from Williston, made by Vermont-based MicroStrain, and a new cloud-based data service – SensorCloud, which remotely monitors temperatures in real-time environment.

Grapes are highly vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and get easily damaged during spring and fall seasons, therefore it is important to monitor the temperatures constantly to ensure crop health.

In April 2012, the Marquette crop of Shelburne Vineyard was threatened by a cold weather.

However, with the SensorCloud platform the vineyard has an unlimited access to continuous environmental data using which it can create alerts during major environmental changes.

The scalable network monitors all the vineyard’s plant varieties and supports cost-effective condition based cultivation and harvesting.

Shelburne Vineyard used two MicroStrain ENV-Links and a synchronized wireless sensor data aggregator (WSDA) to monitor temperature, relative humidity, soil moisture, leaf wetness and solar radiation sensors across multiple locations within a distance of 2km.

Shelburne Vineyard founder Ken Albert said before adopting MicroStrain’s monitoring tool, they monitored temperature with a rudimentary min-max field thermometer.

"This thermometer did not provide any timeframe for when the max or min temperature was reached," Albert said.

"As a result, we were forever resetting it on site and going back the next day to see results.

"Now, not only can we verify the exposure of our crops to multiple variables, but we can remotely track these variables over time to better respond and manage our resources such as water and fertilizer."

MicroStrain president and CEO Steven Arms said the Shelburne Vineyard project gave them an opportunity to demonstrate both the autonomous monitoring and big data capabilities of their latest wireless technology.

Image: Shelburne Vineyard uses MicroStrain’s SensorCloud platform to access unlimited continuous environmental data, to analyze trends and to create alerts during temperature fluctuations. Photo: MicroStrainde