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Video - Drones serving wine growers

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This is the fourth take-off of the day for Jeanne and Alix, managers of two of the four ''grands crus'' classified wines owned by Bernard Magrez, owner of not less than forty vineyards throughout the world. Here at Pessac, near Bordeaux, for the classified  ''Grand Cru'', Graves Château Pape Clément, as well as the Haut Médoc Château La Tour Carnet, every 15 days for the last six months, a drone has been used, to monitor and manage the vineyards

Jeanne Lacombe, Operations & Development Director - Château Pape Clément :

"On the same part of the vineyard, variability and heterogeneity, can easily be identified from the sky, thanks to the drone. So today, we can determine where these areas are on lots of small islands or segments of the vineyards. This is what we call precision viticulture."

Many parameters can be observed and measured. To obtain these measurements, the drone is equipped with an infrared camera. After the flight plan has been loaded into the piloting console, Jeanne and Alix, take command of the drone manually.

Once the desired altitude has been reached, they put it into automatic mode. The drone then overflies the area according to the pre-defined flight plan. When the mission has been completed, the drone automatically places itself in a stationary hover, and the two pilots then land it manually. The 'photo's are then sent to a specialist who assembles them and then provides a detailed analysis of the area. A simple, fast and much more interesting operation than with the satellite measurements used previously.

Jeanne Lacombe, Operations & Development Director - Château Pape Clément :

"Here, we are at only 30, 50 or 80 metres ( 100, 160 or 260 ft. ) above the vines. There is a certain degree of reliability which is not always the case with the satellite data."

If they still do not have enough historical data yet to establish the real benefits that the drone can give them regarding the quality of the wines, both winemakers are nonetheless convinced of its effectiveness and its ever-increasing value in the future.

Jeanne Lacombe, Operations & Development Director - Château Pape Clément :

"Maybe not just like that. A château like us, in directly acquiring a drone, has to obtain the theoretical ultra-light license, for which you need to be trained. It's all the same something pretty costly, but I think that having recourse to service providers who do this, it will develop, and in fact, it is the future."

A future that has a cost: 50,000 euros for the purchase of this drone. The cost of excellence targeted by these ''grands crus'' without doubt. It has also been called ''Vers l’Excellence'' ( ''Towards Excellence" ) by its owner.

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