Ted travels from the 11th to the 21st century at the Domaine de Lavauguyot
The Domaine de Lavauguyot is a wine-growing estate located in the region of Haut Poitou. It is part of the Ampelidae Group and now covers around twenty hectares. They follow a mix of tradition, respect for nature and the latest current wine-growing techniques there. At the centre of the estate sits a manor house built in the 11th century. It has been living with Ted for several years on 13 hectares within the context of a study on the future of wine growing.
Experimentation, the estate’s cutting edge
On the lookout for the latest trends in vine growing, Frédéric Brochet, the estate’s owner, wishes to anchor his business within the practices of the future. “The proximity of Futuroscope might perhaps be a factor in this vision!” he says.
To prove it, the business is committed to the “VitiRev-FuturoVin” experiment initiated by the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. “This involves experimenting and defining the production conditions of tomorrow’s wine growing industry. We’re working on the technical, varietal and social dimensions all at the same time”, so Ted’s arrival was deliberate within this context.
Frédéric Brochet is therefore proud to have been able to implement various experiments over the latter years, particularly:
– Changes of varieties in order to select disease-resistant vines.
– Autonomy with regard to the use of fossil fuels (electric vehicles, use of solar panels) to limit noise and eliminate carbon pollution.
– The development of wine tourism with its “winemakers for a day” packages where anyone can slip into the shoes of a wine producer, etc.
“Once you’ve used Ted, you don’t want to get up on a tractor anymore!”
The wine estate covers 20 hectares with Sauvignon and Pinot noir varieties planted in a single area. It has been converted to organic farming since the years 2000. The land has also been cultivated biodynamically for 2 years.
“I often found it difficult to find workers to drive the vineyard tractor. Ted was the perfect solution.” Three people therefore deal with the robot, taking turns.
“As it operates over many hectares, we have had a large hand in developing it and we have therefore been the first to test new software versions and new tools. We have also worked a lot on the batteries with our intensive use of the machine in collaboration with Naïo Technologies in order to improve the robot and adapt it to our needs. We are very grateful for the reactivity the teams have shown in supporting us”.
For Frédéric Brochure, one thing is sure: there’s no going back. Moreover, he no longer has any tractors on the estate. If he needs one, he hires a contractor, but Ted deals with the weeds on the majority of the land.
Ted is the future!
“Ted will be one of the important elements of the ultra-modern wine growing estate in the future”, but the robot can’t manage without human input. First and foremost, the skills of a good winemaker will always be valued: “knowledge of weather conditions and of the land in order to intervene at the right time!”.
In the future, he is ready to try out the new versions of the high-clearance robot. He is looking forward to the development of complementary tools which could also optimise working rates and times. “I’m particularly looking for solutions for pruning or mowing! Working on a slope is also problematic and something I’d like to get away from”.
Going over to electricity for everything is indeed a priority for him and the date for it has already been approved. “We hope to be fully electric on the estate in 8 years’ time and we’re counting on Ted!”.