Future of Agriculture 155: Behind Wine: An Inside Look Into the Modern Vineyard with Richard Hoff of Mercer Ranches


Richard Hoff is the Director of Viticulture of Mercer Ranches. Mercer Ranches is a grape farm that produces high-quality wine through strict quality control and precise technology. Richard is considered an expert in wine tasting, wine manufacturing, and general viticulture. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Viticulture from Washington State University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.


Richard joins me today to discuss in great detail how the production of wine works - from the grape to the bottle. He describes the vineyards Mercer owns, the grapes they produce, their different yields, and their farming practices. He explains some of the details involved in processing such as pruning and de-leafing, as well as the technologies they use. Richard also shares some of the problems he looks forward to being solved by technology in the future.



“There's just not much of an argument anymore whether mechanization is as good as hands.” - Richard Hoff




This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:


  • Introducing the vineyards, the varieties of grapes they produce, and their wine production.
  • The time it takes to go from planting grapes to extracting wine.
  • The longevity of a vineyard before it has to be replaced.
  • The value of specific varieties of grapes per ton.
  • Various labor challenges they faced that mechanization and automation solved.
  • Implementing new technology and machinery in the vineyards.
  • The methods they apply when creating new vineyards.
  • Determining the best combination that marries quantity with quality.
  • The level of attention required to grow the best grapes possible.
  • The effect of mechanization on data collection.
  • Problems he hopes technology will solve in the future.




Connect with Richard Hoff:







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About the Podcast

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Future of Agriculture
Future of Agriculture Podcast

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About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.