NewsCollecting weather data above the vineyards: Meteodrone System Launch in Burgundy, France

Collecting weather data above the vineyards: Meteodrone System Launch in Burgundy, France

On March 5th, Meteomatics launched its Meteodrone system operations in Burgundy, France, specifically in the town of Chassagne-Montrachet. This system consists of a Meteodrone and a Meteobase, serving as the ground station for remote Meteodrone operations.

In the presence of winemakers, MAGDA Project partners, members of the French press, and the local mayor, Meteomatics’ pilot comfortably conducted operations from the company’s headquarters in Switzerland, approximately 500 km away. He remotely controlled the Meteodrone from launch to touchdown, successfully elevating it to approximately 3,000 meters above ground level.

Set up in the backyard of Domaine Vincent & Sophie Morey, surrounded by sprawling vineyards, the Meteodrone is scheduled to fly up to four times daily for six months, concluding post-harvests. During these flights, the Meteodrone will collect weather data on temperature and humidity within a radius of 30 to 50 kilometres. This data will then be transmitted to the CIMA Research Foundation, where it will be integrated into a model aimed at generating more precise forecasts for the region.

Image 1: Meteodrone flying above the vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet, France.
Enhanced weather predictions for optimal harvests

This initiative will aid winemakers in safeguarding their vines against adverse weather conditions such as frost, hail, and heatwaves. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure optimal harvests and sustained production of exceptional Burgundy wines, despite the escalating weather challenges due to climate change.

Bernard Morey, owner of the Domaine, highlights the dramatic impact of climate change. In 2021, he reports losing up to 80% of his harvest due to early frost. Improved weather forecasts would enable winemakers to anticipate necessary measures, such as installing candles to warm the vines during hailstorms. Frédéric Barnier, technical director and winemaker at Maison Louis Jadot, hosting the metIS-Hub and GeoGuard GNSS sensor instruments from MAGDA consortium members Cap2020 and GReD, emphasizes the effectiveness of the weather forecast dashboard developed within the project, which will be a valuable decision-making tool for winemakers.

Image 2: MAGDA Project partners and the Meteodrone system in the background.
The Meteobase: A hub for the Meteodrone

The Meteobase serves as a central operational hub for the Meteodrone, providing comprehensive infrastructure for its operation. Equipped with a central computer overseeing operations control, maintenance, and meteorological data recording, the Meteobase also includes a launch and landing platform with a charging station, radio link, and ground station. An internal climate control system maintains ideal conditions for the Meteodrone, its electronics, and batteries. Designed to withstand various elements, the Meteobase is watertight, snow proof, and features efficient rainwater drainage.

Image 3: Meteodrone in the Meteobase, ready to take off.
Flight authorizations and security

Meteomatics secured the first flight authorization from the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) in Switzerland, based on European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. Leveraging this authorization, Meteomatics can obtain approvals for Meteodrone operations in most European countries. Through collaboration with national flight authorities, Meteomatics can secure flight approvals for their Meteodrones in all EASA member states. 

For operations in France under the MAGDA framework, Meteomatics obtained flight approval from French authorities to fly up to 3500 meters above mean sea level during day and night, including beyond visual line of sight. These flights are conducted in restricted airspace at a safe distance from urban areas.


Author: Akemi Narindal-Aoki, PhD



Burgundy, Meteomatics, Meteodrones, weather drones, vineyard