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?