Laffort’s Applied Research Cooperative (ARC) was one of the “coolest products” at Unified this year, though it wasn’t on the tradeshow floor nor is it really a product. Laffort USA technical manager, Peter Salamone, hosted a seminar describing ARC at the Citizen Hotel during Unified. ARC is a framework where member-winemakers collectively decide upon an applied research goal and set up commercial-scale experiments in their wineries to attempt to meet that goal. Laffort, in cooperation with ETS Laboratories (which is providing analytical support), is acting as a facilitator rather than as research-director.
Ordinarily the rules I impose on myself for this list would exclude the ARC, but I did want to make a special mention of it because sometimes the most significant innovations are social rather than merely technical. I’m pretty old school. I tend to prefer academic research over commercial research, but the gap between academic research and its application is often very wide indeed.
What’s Cool: The Laffort Applied Research Cooperative can be used to help wineries get the most use out of the in-house experimentation (AKA winemaking trials) that they are already conducting on their own by enforcing better experimental design and putting the winery in communication with other wineries looking at the same issues.