Title: The long-term viability of US wine grape vineyards: assessing vineyard labour costs for future technology development

Authors: Dean A. McCorkle; Rebekka M. Dudensing; Dan D. Hanselka; Ed W. Hellman

Addresses: Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, 2124 TAMU, College Station, TX, USA ' Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, 2124 TAMU, College Station, TX, USA ' Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, 2124 TAMU, College Station, TX, USA ' Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, 1102 E. FM 1294, Lubbock, TX 79403, USA

Abstract: The motivation for this study centres on the labour-and cost-intensive nature of wine grape production and the potential opportunities for robotic technology. The objectives of this study are to develop cost of production budgets for five representative wine grape vineyards in four US states, assess the economic viability of wine grape production under current operating conditions, evaluate labour costs by production task, and identify common production challenges and tasks that could be augmented with robotic technology development. Investigators have worked with grower panels to develop a production budget for representative vineyards in four states, and to gather input on production tasks that the growers and technology developers feel would be most suitable for robotic technology. A stochastic simulation model was developed to assess baseline pro-forma financial statements for each vineyard size. Combined, the results help in exploring opportunities to strengthen vineyard profitability and competitiveness using robotics.

Keywords: wine grapes; robotic; technology; stochastic; Monte Carlo; simulation; labour; empirical distribution; financial statements; precision mechanisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2019.097734

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2019 Vol.36 No.3, pp.308 - 334

Available online: 06 Feb 2019 *