Transitions in process in the wineyard : digital and ecological approaches

We were a group of 22 participants on this field trip dedicated to understanding the challenges of agro-ecological transition in viticulture and in relation to climate change. We explored this theme in the vineyards of Gaillac (Tarn), one of the oldest vineyards in France.
The sun shone down on us all day, an illustration of the challenges of the climatic conditions in the area.
We were warmly welcomed to the French Institute of Vine and Wine in the morning by Christophe Gaviglio, an engineer specialising in agricultural machinery and precision farming. He gave us a very clear and instructive presentation on the potential agro-ecological and economic benefits of robotics in viticulture, precision guidance, electric weeding and plot mapping. He also explained the technical and administrative obstacles that still need to be overcome before these techniques can be disseminated. For many of them to work properly, vineyards need to be of a certain size and standardised. He also spoke about the exchanges on these innovations that are organised within a regional digital living laboratory, the Occitanum project.

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After some time in the classroom, we visited one of the Institute's experimental vineyards and we met Ted, the vineyard weeding robot.

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Then we contributed to the agro-ecological transition in viticulture by giving our opinion on wines made from varieties resistant to fungal diseases (Wine tasting time !)

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We enjoyed our lunch break at the Vigne en Foule restaurant in Gaillac (time to drink wine !).

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This break allowed us to recharge our batteries before heading to Domaine Plageoles in the afternoon.

We were welcomed by Florent, the seventh generation of the family. This family winery is based on a deep knowledge of the terroir and the living processes involved (indigenous yeasts, organic farming, etc.), as well as indigenous varieties (replanting of old vines)

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Some very old vines are too narrow for mechanisation. They are worked by horse.

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We were then able to appreciate the results of this work driven by deep convictions (our winegrower claims to be a "terroirist"). (Time to taste the wine again !)

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With robotics in the morning and organic farming in the afternoon, we were able to appreciate two very different approaches to agro-ecological transition.
The day provided a wealth of information and we'd like to thank Mike Parsons, our interpreter, for his excellent simultaneous translation throughout the day!
We would also like to thank all the participants in the field trip for making the day so enjoyable and convivial! (stay sober !)