( Courtesy Vinergy Inc. )

A California startup, Vinergy Inc., has equipment it says will improve vineyard efficiency by reducing a labor-intensive part of harvest — transporting grapes to the end of rows.

With the rechargeable Vinergy Cart and Vinergy Wheelbarrow, the Bakersfield, Calif., company promises to increase the amount of grapes that can be harvested by saving up two hours of labor for each team of pickers every day, according to a news release.

According to Vinergy, a standard 8-person crew can harvest about six boxes of table grapes an hour, at a labor cost of $4.33 a box over the course of a day.
The Vinergy Cart can hold 16 boxes, increasing yield with a labor cost increase of 12.5%, but a real-world reduction of per-box labor costs that range from $1 to $2.30, according to the release.

“When we were picking significant volume we saw a tremendous cost savings during our trials with multiple crews and packing variations,” Rope Eddy, ranch manager for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Anthony Vineyards, said in the release. “Crews that were using traditional wheelbarrows were asking when they could begin using the Vinergy carts.  We are excited to begin working with the Vinergy team as we prepare for next season and scale more carts across our crews.”

Vinergy Carts are loaded with empty boxes and pickers fill them as the operators move the carts down each row with the touch of a button. Each cart is powered by an electric motor with a continuous run time of 8-10 hours, according to the release.

The company has a video demonstrating the process on its website, https://www.vinergyinc.com/.

Each cart rents for $820 a month. Vinergy recommends six carts for each crew and a dedicated operator.

“I am excited to have a collaborative relationship with growers as we apply innovative technology to help increase production and lower costs, not just for table grapes, but for blueberry and pepper growers too,” Justin Meng, Vinergy co-founder, said in the release.