A new machine appeared in the Angélus vineyard: SOBLI, the semi-automatic anti-hail balloon launcher made by the French company Selerys. SOBLI was based on LAÏCO which we spoke to you about in spring.
Until now, when there was a risk of hail, our teams have had to launch one or more balloons manually with the help of a portative launch pad to have a significant impact on the storm. This solution, albeit an effective one, was nevertheless very demanding since it meant that we had to be present in the vineyard at the exact moment when there was a hail alert and for quite a long period of time, and sometimes in the middle of the night.
After LAÏCO, Selerys quickly developed SOBLI: a semi-automatic launcher that enables the fast release of up to six anti-hail balloons via a simple SMS text message. A radar device set up at Saint-Christophe des Bardes detects in real time the presence of clouds and potential storms, and a smartphone application alerts our teams when the hail danger threshold has been passed.
Once the order has been given, the balloons automatically take off into the sky and scatter hygroscopic salt into the clouds in order to disrupt the process of hailstone formation. As a result, the storm breaks up and falls to the ground in the form of rainwater.
Today, we have installed at Angélus the first prototype of this latest generation of anti-hail launcher with the aim of protecting the vineyard even more efficiently against the risk of hail, while at the same time enhancing the work conditions of our teams.