Another focus for the Gusbourne team has been improving their yield predictions. A more accurate prediction for each block or varietal helps to bring a certain level of efficiency to the business, streamlining production to make communication with the winery or sales team much easier. Previously, bunch and flower counts were recorded on paper at Gusbourne, and then uploaded at a later date. The team were also doing ‘random’ sampling of around 0.5% of vines, which was all that was possible in the time they had.
Using Sectormentor has freed up some time for the Gusbourne team – they have created set sample sites marked by GPS locations, making monitoring much more efficient, and enabling the team to double the number of vines they sample up to 1% in the time they have. This greatly improves the accuracy of their yield predictions, and recording everything in Sectormentor also means their forecasts are available immediately across both sites – allowing Adam and Jon (vineyard manager at the Kent site) to stay on the same page.
“There is an obvious financial saving from mine and Jon’s time for yield estimation, because now it can be done in the field, and because the app makes finding sample bays so seamless, we have switched to using set sample bays. The time saving for data collection is astronomical, that is what hooked Jon on it – he is a Yorkshireman so he has quite a tight wallet. What got him into using it is he can go to sample bay, record that data and when he’s back at the office everything’s there, the yield forecast is already done.”
“For the yield prediction alone it has probably saved me 10-12 hours a year at the computer, that is time that I was not out in the field looking and actually managing the vines. It means I can be out in the field with the guys, I can still work with everyone and do it on the phone… I can stay with team and things are streamlined”
The immediate conversion of raw data into graphs and visualisations is also helpful in many other ways, as it allows the Gusbourne team to come together and make informed decisions more quickly across multiple sites. Adam told us, “Sectormentor gives a quick snapshot of what’s happening in the vineyard, which is what we need in a conversation and making decisions in a hurry. It’s a really speedy and nice way to do it.”
Not only is this year’s data immediately visualised, but viewing it together with past years’ data makes analysis much more powerful, as well as keeping other members of the winemaking team in the loop even if they aren’t in the vineyard.
Jon told us: “When you see a visual representation of graphs over years, how bud burst has fluctuated and how flowering has fluctuated, it’s really valuable to see these patterns so easily.” Adam added: “Charlie, our winemaker, started to take note of it last year. The winery could just click on the phenology report and think ‘this year looks similar to 2017’ so we can start to get an idea of what to expect.”