From vineyard to wine glass, the SIMATIC IT manufacturing execution system (MES) from Siemens has transformed every part of the winemaking value chain at Great Wall Wine Company, a subsidiary of China Oil and Food Import and Export Corporation (COFCO). The company is one of the biggest wine firms in Yantai, Shandong Province ‒ China’s most renowned grape growing region on the eastern coast.
Great Wall Wine Company has successfully incorporated modern technologies into the traditional craft of winemaking. Great Wall Wine Company has been the benchmark of China’s wine industry, with products sold all over the world. Brewing 50,000 tons of red and white wine annually, the Yantai winery started production in 2000.
With its growth came some common business challenges for process industries. Maintaining high quality standards while managing complex facilities and processes, in this case, vineyards and winemaking. Transforming into a modern manufacturing enterprise meant applying a broad range of technologies to replace manual processes and paperwork with automation.
Great Wall Wine Company implemented Siemens’ SIMATIC IT MES to manage 12.7 square kilometers of vineyards, some run by the winery itself and some by local farmers. The winery uses Siemens-built meteorological stations to gather data on soil nutrients, moisture, and temperature ‒ basically anything that could affect a plant’s vigor. Field technicians also use a Siemens-developed application to record how much pesticide the vineyard will receive during a given period of time. All of the information is uploaded to the MES, enabling the analysis of the health of the vines and the possibility of damage by insects.
“Together, the data gives us an accurate picture of the whole vineyard,” says Liu Jianbo, head of the information technology (IT) department at Yantai Winery. “The data also allows us to make informed decisions about how to tend our vines in response to weather changes and insect problems. We can get better grapes based on collected data instead of relying solely on experience.”
The results are taking this age-old process into the digital era, standardizing the entire production process, improving efficiency and quality, reducing process errors, and delivering traceable production information for continuous improvement. That’s worth raising your glass.
Find out more about how the Great Wall Wine Company is transforming winemaking, and creating strategic competitive advantage through the application of modern technology.