The Vinitech-Sifel Innovation Awards judges announcedthe winners on Wednesday 3 September – 19 products, processes or technologies chosenfrom among the 61 entries considered: 1 Special Jury Prize, 3 Gold Awards, 2 SilverAwards, 3 Bronze Awards and 10 Commendations. The key trend to emerge from the 2014 awards is precision farming which is now a reality in the viticulture & winemaking and fruit & vegetable production sectors.

Overview of the 2014 winners:

Gold Awards:
• AMOS INDUSTRIE for Calibaie, a system that grades the grapes as they come out of the automatic sorting machine. It makes optimum use of the grape harvest by selecting different vinification processes according to grape size. The system is already fully operational and represents a real innovation which optimises overall wine quality.
• PELLENC for the Easy Turn grape harvester steering system which enables the operator to move to the row adjacent to the one just completed without any special manoeuvring; it also offers a significant productivity gain and better visibility. The innovation lies in the mechanical design: absence of tie rods, one reversing inner rear wheel and a 95° turning angle.
• SOUSLIKOFF & CIE for its inter-vine tool chassis Guidalex, with automatic row guiding and depth adjustment. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the positioning of the right and left mounted tools is controlled independently and automatically, enabling two half-rows to be worked simultaneously.

Silver Awards:
• INOZY for Smart Glass, a device to control the transfer of liquids in the winery automatically. A remarkable development in precision winemaking.
• LEGER SAS for its inter-vine hoeing machine EcosatelY: which uses draft power to rotate a trihedral ploughshare support mounted off-centre.

Bronze Awards:
• Hygromax by BOUYOUD DISTRIBUTION which helps maintain a high humidity level in the barrel room.
• Mini-Sillon inter-vine hoe carrier by EGRETIER JEAN-MICHEL SARL, an articulated tilling tool support carried behind a tractor, for use in vineyards planted in rows.
• iGoEasy by STILLautomated lift truck guidance system for horizontal load transport.

The Special Jury Prize
It was awarded to DUVIGNEAU ET FILS for its mini-digger with pile driver, designed for trellis installation in the vineyard. The system is completely automated with GPS guidance to an accuracy of one centimetre. It enables an operator to work alone and greatly reduces the strenuousness of the task. This ground-breaking innovation represents a major development in precision farming, a cost-effective solution which also improves working conditions for dangerous tasks which put strain on the operator.