The advanced technology helping viticulture adapt to climate change
The grip of climate change is being felt in the world’s vineyards - disrupting practices that have been built up over thousands of years. Small changes in temperatures are resulting in large fluctuations in yield and quality across seasons. Deep Planet says viticulture is the canary in the coal mine for the broader agriculture industry and is seeking investment to further develop the next generation of monitoring solutions to help winemakers adapt.
If every great company has a great origin story, then Deep Planet is destined for big things.
The three founders of Deep Planet – Sushma Shankar, Natalia Efremova and Dave Carter – came from different parts of the globe but found each other while studying an MBA at Oxford University, where they submitted entries to the same competition on using technology to tackle the global water crisis.
“We got to know each other through those graduate studies and found we were all on the same mission to apply our skills to the benefit of the planet,” said Dave Carter who is now Deep Planet Chief Executive Officer.
“I was in oil and gas and mining, Natalia was in defence and casinos working on neural networks, and Sushma was working for big telecommunications and oversaw the lab that brought 4G to market.
“We realised over a beer we could come together to apply all those technologies and said, ‘Hey we can make this into a company’ – and basically started it in the pub in Oxford where Bob Hawke set his yard glass record.”
But instead of targeting beer like the former Australian Prime Minister, the trio set their sights on the winemaking industry.
- Learn more about Deep Planet’s investment opportunity to further develop the next generation of monitoring solutions for the viticulture industry, via AgriFutures growAG. here.
Deep Planet’s journey into Aussie wine tech market
“I’m from the Hunter Valley and knew a fair bit about the wine industry already and we had a hunch that climate change was a big problem for viticulture,” said Dave.
“We reached out to a lot of different industries and 99 per cent of the people who came back were in the wine industry because they’re being so badly affected by the changing climate. One small change can have a huge impact on the flavour and the quality of their grapes.
“Producers said to us there used to be one unusual season out of every five. Now it’s four unusual seasons in every five. Harvest dates are getting pushed forward or pulled back by a whole month. There are new diseases affecting parts of the crop that wouldn’t have in the past and 75 per cent of plantings today will not be viable by 2050. They’re all going to have to be replanted and this is just with a slight change in temperature.
“Viticulture is the canary in the coal mine for the wider agriculture industry.”
Using AI to monitor vineyards
To help winemakers adapt to these climatic changes, Deep Planet developed the VineSignal platform. The proprietary software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to interpret data from a multitude of sources, including satellite imagery, climate data and on-the-ground detection, to identify the digital signals of nine major pests and diseases, as well as soil carbon, soil nutrient levels, and the sugar content of the grapes.
“Growers using VineSignal know when to harvest, where to harvest, they know the quality, the sugar content and what their yields are going to be,” said Dave.
“There is less manual testing required, less labour-intensive travel, and expensive inputs such as fertiliser can be optimised to reduce cost.”
Deep Planet has approximately 70 large scale customers for its subscription software, which has 90 per cent of its features functional.
The company is now seeking further investment of USD $2 million, via the AgriFutures growAG. platform, to develop the final 10 per cent of features on VineSignal and expand marketing and customer support of the product in the world’s major winegrowing regions including Australia, France, Spain, Italy, the United States and South America.
As a frequent user of growag.com, Deep Planet understands the value of the platform to seek out and find new opportunities, to complement their product offering.
Dave enquired about several Wine Australia funded agritech licensing opportunities featured on growag.com, which resulted in Deep Planet obtaining exclusive licensing of The Vine Nutrition App technology.
“We are thrilled to confirm we have signed a licensing agreement with Wine Australia and NSW Department of Primary Industries to commercialise the app’s technology in Australia. This will be a welcome addition in our toolkit of viticulture remote sensing, monitoring and prediction features already offered on the VineSignal platform.”
Creating climate solutions for the global agriculture sector
The UK-based company continues to expand its global reach, with offices in the US, France, and through its involvement with AgriFutures evokeAG. 2020, has established a strong foothold in the Australian wine market.
- Learn more about Deep Planet’s journey into the Australian wine tech market here.
Being part of the evokeAG. experience enabled Deep Planet to engage with local growers and research organisations directly, while further introductions through Austrade helped to build their extensive network of connections throughout Australia.
“What we are building is the ultimate climate solution for agriculture, and we are starting in the wine industry,” said Dave.
Deep Planet have now been selected in the 2023 AgriFutures evokeAG. Startup Startup Showcase, which provides an opportunity for local and global startups to showcase their innovative products to the evokeAG. delegates in Febraury. Each startup will present a three-minute showcase on the evokeAG. 2023 stage across the two-day event.
RELATED: The 40 agrifood tech startups to watch in 2023: evokeAG. announces its 2023 Startup Program participants
For more information on Deep Planet’s investment opportunity visit AgriFutures growAG. here.
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