Why spend an entire day when a machine can do it in 4 hrs? Loni: “I am woman, hear me roar!”

Shot on location less than half a mile from the Russian River in Sonoma at the 248-acre Hop Kiln Winery, watch as former American Airlines pilot and now CEO David Di Loreto explains why mechanization is the future, and why hiring cash-driven picking crews out of Fresno is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

We spent half a day at Hop Kiln winery, tasting wines, talking with David Di Loreto, winemaker Charles Mansfield, and exploring the grounds. There is so much footage I decided to break it into separate episodes. In this segment we learn about Hop Kiln’s investment in technology and their attempts to gain an edge thanks especially to a French-made Pellenc Activ’ 4560 tractor.

I think this is the first time Loni has driven a giant rig like the tractor seen in this video. She sighs, and says to me, “boys and their toys.”

Living with me and my gadget and sports car-driven obsessions, she’s had plenty of training though.

And now we’re seeing increased mechanization and computerization of vineyard management. Many, as Di Loreto suggests, scoff. But I can’t help but agree this is the future. If investment in technology means higher throughput, at less cost with same quality, how can it not be the next big thing?

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear