The Vine Scout - Amanda Mader
Hone Program 1
1 May 2022
Making quality wine is a combination of art and science with many decisions traditionally based on intuition and experience. Amanda identified two fundamental areas where increasing quantity and quality of data can lead to more informed decisions and better outcomes. These were yield estimation and irrigation management. To facilitate this Amanda has created a crop monitoring system that uses load cell technology to capture real time weight variation. More accurate yield estimates enables the wine producer to better plan their production requirements such as number of tanks, bottles, labels etc.
More informed irrigation management leads to better water use efficiency reducing costs, improving quality, and reducing the environmental impact. Amanda is very technically capable and a veteran of the wine industry with extensive experience as an agronomic consultant with her own business. Despite being a business owner, many of the tools and approaches offered by Farmers2Founders were new to her and stretched her to think beyond the provision of technical expertise. Amanda was an enthusiastic learner and contributor bringing a naturally open and collaborative approach.
The key areas of focus for Amanda have been to develop her go to market strategy and the supporting value chain. With regard to go to market, Amanda has a well-established industry network within her own region with evidence of demand for the product. From here Amanda plans to expand to other Australian wine regions and ultimately export the product globally.
Amanda’s knowledge and understanding of her value chain has increased significantly through the Hone program. Essential strategic partnerships were identified and have been established, including component suppliers and service providers that can affordably install and remove the system. Amanda has also leveraged her existing network to “pressure test” and validate her proposed pricing. She has also developed six fully functional units that are now installed and capturing data. As a part of her IP strategy a patent has been submitted for Australia. Finally, Amanda has successfully secured a South Australian Technology grant for $10,000 to further develop her idea.
A brilliant introduction to do something that scares you the most entering into a vast entrepreneurial world.
The priority for the short term is to monitor the installed devices and ensure the data capture is effective and the analysis insightful and value adding to the producer. This will include correlating plant production data with climate and soil data captured from existing systems. With the business growing, the corporate and partnership structure needs to be finalised and will also be prioritised for the short term. Finally, Amanda will capture the results and publish the research associated with the invention.