Vineland’s Optical Sorter

It is really no secret that WineCollective is a fan of Vineland Estates. Throughout the years, we have featured multiple wines and when winemaker, Brian Schmidt, proposed a special project earlier this year, we jumped at the opportunity for a Vineland exclusive.


The 2014 Vineland Cabernet Franc is showcased in many December packages, which is the wine’s sole distribution around the world, for now. What makes this Cab Franc even more special is that it is the first of Vineland wines to be sorted through their new optical sorting machine!

Vineland is not only the first Niagara winery with an optical sorter, but also the first Canadian winery to own the machine. According to Brian, the sorter is an absolute “game changer.”


Using cameras and lasers, the optical sorter essentially removes all unripe grapes from those qualified to be vinified. With the ability to recognize colour, size, shape, structural properties and even, chemical composition, sorters are in widespread use in the worldwide food industry for processing harvested food like potatoes, veggies and of course, grapes!

As the sorter pushes through the grapes, the camera and lasers take 1,000 pictures per second, allowing ripe grapes to be compared with unripe grapes as well as foreign material such as stems. The unfit matter is then sorted to waste, while the bountiful fruit just passes on by.


How does it work?

With the combination of camera sorters and lasers, the sorter functions using visible light wavelengths, as well as infrared and UV spectrums. “The optimal wavelengths for each application maximize the contrast between the objects to be separated.”

Compared to manual sorting, the optical sorter gives Vineland the ability to better sort quality fruit, maximize out put and increase yields, and of course, reduces manual labour.

You may be wondering how this impacts the wine, or specifically, the 2014 Cabernet Franc and truthfully, there are no flavour or character changes to the wine. However, with top of the line sorting technology, you can be sure that only the best fruit was used to create the wine and therefore, it is of superior quality.

As a young wine, the 2014 is mighty full and complex. The Cabernet Franc is layered with ripe cherries and currant, as well as soft touches of spice and pepper. We were extremely impressed when trying this vintage for the first time.


The optical sorter has even inspired Brian to create a new line of wines for Vineland named “Game Changer.” With ever changing labels, Schmidt hopes to highlight people, places and new technology in the wine industry, starting with the optical sorter. We hope to one day also bring this project to members!

For more information on Vineland and their fabulous wines, check out our Vineland Estates blog, which highlights Brian’s last trip to Calgary and WineCollective headquarters… where dreaming of the exclusive Cab Franc first took place.

Be sure to let us know what you think! Don’t forget to rate and comment on the new Vineland Cabernet Franc!