Argentina Vineyard Automates Grape-Picking Counting with NFC/RFID

Argentina-Bodega-Norton-winery-grape-venieyard-NFC-rfid-blogBodega Norton winery in Argentina has deployed a new system that uses NFC phones and RFID tags to track how many grapes each worker has harvested. This means the winery now can save a day every week in collating how much each worker has picked and how much they should be paid.

With the old system, thousands of aluminum or plastic chips of different colors and shapes were used to signify the amount of grapes picked by each harvester, in order to work out how much they should be paid. These were then manually collated each week, which took an entire day to complete.

“A harvester would collect an appropriate chip from a supervisor each time they picked a full bin of grapes and delivered it to a collection site,” the logistics solution provider HID Global explains. “The harvester would pocket the chip, then return to gather another bin full. At the end of a workweek, each harvester would present their chips to a manager, who would tally them and issue a voucher which would be exchanged for payment.

Using the new system reduces much more work. With the new system in place, each of Bodega Norton’s 150 harvesters is issued with an armband equipped with an HID Global contactless card. Grape collection bins are tagged with RFID Epoxy Disc tags and vineyard supervisors are outfitted with NFC smartphones.

The supervisors then read the harvester’s armband each time they deliver a full bin to a grape collection point, assuring both the worker and the supervisor that the collection bin has been counted and credited to the correct worker.

“Hand picking is the only way to harvest grapes properly to ensure the best wine, and at Bodega Norton, if you cultivate the best people, they will help you produce the best wine,” says Pablo Minatelli, vineyard manager for Bodega Norton.

“Due to the efficiencies of the new system, we pay better than other vineyards, and that means we attract the best harvesters… With the best people and reduced administrative time and expense, we get a better harvest and yield.”