A first at Château Clerc Milon: TED, a prototype robot designed for high density vineyards
Château Clerc Milon reports on the first trials in its Pauillac vineyard of TED, the first multi-purpose straddling electric robot specially designed for soil cultivation of high density vineyards.
The trials mark the culmination of an ambitious project that started with a desire to address a particular issue. Vineyard work involves a number of time-consuming and laborious tasks, such as mechanical weeding beneath the rows. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the owners of Ch. Clerc-Milon, therefore decided to take part in the development of a specific solution, in keeping with its long-standing policy of taking a responsible approach to the protection of its vines and terroir through measures such as banning chemical weedkillers from all its vineyards and in June of this year, Baron Philippe de Rothschild concluded a partnership with Naïo Techologies in order to combine the start-up’s technological expertise with the skills of its own technical staff.
“We see robotics as an effective solution for the future. As well as helping to make our vineyard work less arduous and respecting the soil, it will reduce our dependency on fossil energies and the harm caused by traditional agricultural machinery”, says Philippe Dhalluin, Managing Director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. “It was Naïo’s development of a robot designed for vegetable farming that first caught our eye in 2015. We suggested working together on a project for a vineyard robot suited to the particular problems we face in the vines at Château Clerc Milon. There is no question that robots would be replacing humans in the vineyard, particularly when it comes to picking and selecting grapes, but the well-being of our workers is our first concern ”
This innovative vine-tending initiative is just one aspect of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s broader environmental policy. The company draws on current best practice to limit the use of plant protection products at all its estates and is firmly committed to further progress. In pursuit of that goal, the technical staff uses sustainable, organic and biodynamic techniques with a strong emphasis on biocontrol solutions. As a result of this policy, the frequency of treatments on the estate has been reduced by over 30% since 2008.