Wine Aficionado? Six Sigma expert? or both?

I’ve heard of Six Sigma being used in every industry from manufacturing, banking, even baking, but now  . . . wine making?

Just the other night I found out a winery is using Six Sigma principles to ensure they are producing the highest quality wine available.
Yes, that’s right . . .  Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards have combined the old-world art of wine making with the science of data driven Six Sigma principles.  Why not! Isn’t the origin of Design of Experiments from the agricultural world? That’s where (is that right?) RA Fisher introduced the concepts of replication, randomization, blocking and devise analysis of Variance to separate the sources of variation in the 1920s.

How many times have we read the reviews from a single winery, how some years are better than others, etc., and wondered why they can’t make the quality more consistent? Why not apply Six Sigma to wine making?

I think it makes perfect sense!

Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards is applying Six Sigma principles in all stages of the process:

  • Conduct extensive analyses of soil, water and climate to find the most favorable sites for our vineyards.
  • Choose rootstocks that thrive best in the soil composition of a given vineyard.
  • Meticulously prune vines to enhance the quality of grapes and to allow consistent ripening.
  • Apply chemical and sensory analyses to pick the grapes at just the right time to produce optimal flavor in the wine.
  • Listen to the voice of the customer – whether you are a sophisticated wine drinker with well-defined preferences, a social wine drinker who knows what you like and wants the security of consistency, or you just want a good place to start

The use of Six Sigma in all business process makes good sense. There is talk that Six Sigma is dead, and that people are waiting for the next big thing. The truth of the matter is no matter how you repackage the tools, these tools will be around for decades, because good decisions are based on data analysis and that should never go away.  My only hope is that they are using @RISK  to analyze their data to make even better decisions.

The next time I am in California or the local wine store, I’ll have to investigate this further.

Published by shunt27

I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Palisade Corporation.

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