The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 86 of 112

86 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 { technology } IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY CIRCA 2008 AND ACROSS THE U.S., kids are unwrapping remote-controlled helicopters. Within minutes, wide-eyed delight gives way to tears because this darting, fragile contraption has either (A.) clipped a tree and crashed, (B.) lost contact with the remote and flown away or (C.) conked out of power over a roof/ lake/street. In short, just a few years ago, these gizmos were a bad investment. Fast for- ward to 2015, though, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), once known primarily for military uses, are showing up in everything from family videos to national monuments (see more under "drone lands on White House front lawn"). The drone is having its GoPro moment as a must-have gadget, but the increasing number of consumer-level options also means that certain commercial applications, once out-of-reach to smaller operations, are at last in play. I caught up with Luca Paschina, Winemaker and General Manager at Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia. Named one of the "20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry" by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, he's been at the helm for 25 years and now oversees a 40,000-case operation with 177+ acres of vineyards. "A field of eight acres I can look through with my four-wheeler in an hour," said Paschina. He doesn't see the drone saving him a huge amount of time, but it does save a whole lot of data. "On my bike, I have to memorize what I've seen. With the drone, you RANGERS RANGERS DR Cabernet Franc and Merlot vineyards in the Monticello AVA of central Virginia near Charlottesville. HOW FLYING TECH IS PUTTING EYES IN THE SKY IN WINE COUNTRY story and photos by Jason Tesauro

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