Life on iPad

The modern making of a vintage.

Christian Gastón Palmaz, Director of Operations, Palmaz Vineyards. At Palmaz Vineyards in Napa, California, master vintner Christian Gastón Palmaz analyzes powerful data on iPad to transform the way he manages his winery from the vineyard to the tanks — and even the tasting room.

Great winemaking is both art and science. For Christian Gastón Palmaz, iPad has eased the efforts of both, and transformed production of the fine wine Palmaz Vineyards is known for.

Before a single grape is harvested, Palmaz depends on iPad to manage the 600-acre vineyard owned and operated by his family in Napa, California. He uses the Field Assets app to gather data on soil hydration, nutrient profiles, leaf moisture content, and cluster temperature — basically anything that might affect a plant’s vigor. Palmaz also uses the Topo Maps app to calculate down to the second how much sunlight a particular location will receive in a day. “Together, this data gives us an accurate picture of the whole vineyard, allowing us to make informed decisions about how to tend our vines. The data helps us get better fruit,” says Palmaz.

“We’re equipped to make better decisions in our fields every day.” Christian Gaston Palmaz, Director of Operations.

iPad has not only improved operations in the field, but also replaced complex industrial controls inside the winery. Conventional fermentation was once a labor-intensive process that required winemakers to manually draw and test samples and constantly go back and forth between the tanks and the lab. Frustrated with the lack of innovation in operational equipment, Palmaz worked with an engineer to develop an enterprise-level app to automate the system. Now data is always available, and winemakers can spend their time tasting and making adjustments on the spot. They spend less time collecting data and more time crafting the wine. “I see them getting to the end goal — creating beautifully complex wines — with greater focus now,” says Palmaz.

“iPad removes the burden of data collecting and frees up our brilliant winemakers to focus on the art of winemaking.”

iPad has changed the way Palmaz Vineyards operates, from the vineyard to the tanks. It’s even transformed the tasting room — where they stream presentations from iPad to Apple TV. iPad lets Palmaz and his team share detailed information about the wine and engage with customers like never before. “It has elevated tasting to a more interactive experience,” says Palmaz. “iPad brings us the perfect balance of function and creativity. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the one device we all love at home is the same device we want to use at work. Nothing else comes close.”

“The quality of the wine we produce today is dramatically better because of the powerful information iPad puts at our fingertips.”