Japanese vineyard makes excellent wine with Raspberry Pi

Vineyard Kikushima grows Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on steep slopes in Katsunuma, the heart of of Yamanashi’s wine region. It’s scenic and full of wine — double tick — but humid conditions attract lots of insects prone to attacking grapevines. And while these insects can be managed using pesticides, that approach risks tarnishing the flavour of the wine as well as being undesirable from an ecological perspective, so Raspberry Pi has been harnessed to keep chemical use to a minimum.

Vineyard Kikushima in Japan
Ideal working conditions

We first met Vineyard Kikushima owner Kunio Kikushima in The MagPi back in 2020, when their Raspberry Pi-powered pest management system was still in the trial phase. Two years later, the “Hinno” IoT system Kunio set up with the help of the Japanese Raspberry Pi Users Group is still going strong, covering four fields of vines.

How does it work?

Raspberry Pi 3B+ collects data from air temperature and humidity sensors out in the vineyard, and sends it over 3G to Kunio’s dashboard every hour. There is no need to visit the vineyard in person to gather data, and the dashboard allows Kunio to monitor atmospheric conditions remotely, before deciding whether or not conditions are optimal for spraying crops with pesticides. Spraying at the right time means the pesticides are more effective, so Kunio can use as little of them as possible.

The total cost of the monitoring system, including the solar power equipment and 3G dongles, comes in at around £450. Kunio hopes to roll it out to other vineyards in the area, helping more local vineyard owners save time and money, and make their wine more delicious, with Raspberry Pi.

Visit Japan’s wine region

Wine tourism is really taking off in this area of Japan, but the tradition goes back a very long way. Legend has it that a Buddhist priest had a vision of the Buddha of medicine and healing holding a bunch of grapes, so the priest planted some vines in the area as long ago as the year 718. He then taught local people how to grow them, and the variety came to be known as Koshu grapes, which are still popular today. We recommend heading there on the first Saturday of October, when the Katsunuma Grape Festival takes place.

Wine from Vineyard Kikushima in Japan
Some of Vineyard Kikushima’s finest produce

You can read a bit more about Vineyard Kikushima, one of Raspberry Pi’s customer success stories, here.

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