Making fine wine requires a delicate blend of tradition and innovation. At Jordan Vineyard & Winery in California’s Sonoma Valley, tradition means decades of expertise in growing, harvesting and fermenting grapes to make world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. And innovation means using iPad in every sphere of the winery’s operations, from managing soil to managing sales.
“Old-world artistry and attention to detail are not incompatible with the adoption of new technology,” says John Jordan, owner/CEO of Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “iPad and apps enable us to do a better job at our winemaking as well as making workflows more efficient throughout the winery.”
John Jordan, CEO, Jordan Vineyard & Winery
All great wines begin with the most elemental ingredients: soil, water, sun and vines. Tasks like pruning, weeding, pest control, soil amendment and monitoring climatic conditions require constant attention. Using iPad with Wi‑Fi + 3G and a web-based app called AgCode, Jordan staff can now manage and log these duties wherever and whenever they occur.
“The viticulture philosophy we have here at Jordan is ‘precision agriculture’,” says viticulturist Brent Young. “Mother Nature plays such a big role in the growing season and we have to react fast. Because we have iPads right there in our hands in the vineyard, we can make decisions on the hoof.”
Brent Young, Viticulturist, Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Jordan’s customised AgCode app enables Young and his colleagues to flag specific problems, issue work orders to resolve them, log and review field data, and manage workers and equipment — all without having to return to the office.
In the past, work that was needed after an inspection of the vineyard was documented on a clipboard, then entered into a computer back at the office. “With iPad, we can make adjustments and amend work orders right there in the field,” Young explains. “We have more information, and we can complete tasks faster. Our vineyard manager, Dana Grande, completed a week’s worth of timecards in 20 minutes — where before, it’s taken hours to complete that task. Now she has so much more time to spend on other parts of her job.”
Once the harvest is in, iPad helps Jordan’s winemaker, cellar master and cellar crew monitor the movement of wine from tanks to barrels to bottling lines. Using the Citrix app on iPad, Jordan staff can access the winery’s central TankNET system to view and manage data on every tank in the facility, including monitoring lot numbers and locations, fermentation status and temperatures.
Before iPad, the winemaker would check tank temperatures before leaving work, then come back the next morning and hope nothing had changed. “Temperature changes of just a few degrees can damage a wine long before it goes into the bottle,” John Jordan notes.
Now the cellar crew is instantly notified via iPad or iPhone if a tank goes outside the desired temperature range. “They know which tank it is, and by how many degrees,” Jordan says. “Often they can solve the problem remotely. iPad and Citrix have basically allowed us to remove that risk from the equation, and end the problems that have bedevilled wineries for centuries.”
Jordan’s cellar master also uses Keynote on iPad to produce schematics and work orders for the cellar crew, with clear labelling and icons to explain the tasks. “When people understand what they’re doing and why, the probability of error diminishes,” says Jordan. “It enables us to eliminate so many of the common errors in winemaking, and to make wine with even greater precision.”
iPad and Keynote are also a vital part of Jordan’s sales and distribution system. Keynote sales presentations and videos look great and are easy to share on iPad, and additional information is just a tap away.
John Jordan, CEO, Jordan Vineyard & Winery
“A Jordan sales rep goes into a restaurant with just three things: a bottle of Jordan, a corkscrew and an iPad,” Jordan says. “We can tell our story in a vivid, visual way, and talk about the attention to detail that we know separates us from our competition. This was impossible before — it’s not something you can do with pictures or a brochure. iPad has changed how our salespeople approach their jobs. It gives them an arsenal of new tools.”
“Technology has fundamentally changed Jordan’s culture, and at the heart of that is iPad and iPhone,” he says. “Getting people to change how they think about their responsibilities has helped take Jordan from a staid, solid brand to one of the wine industry’s innovative leaders in using technology.”
Young agrees: “iPad has revolutionised not only the way we manage the vineyard, but also the way the team works in the vineyards. The less time I spend at my desk and the more time I’m allowed to spend in the field, the more I can help improve our overall quality and bring the best possible product to the table.”
“For us, iPads aren’t about saving money or cutting corners,” Jordan concludes. “They’re about helping us improve our execution in every phase of our game — and we’ve been hugely successful with that.”