The ingenuity goes by the acronym TPC, or Thermal Pest Control. The humidity is rarely the issue with vineyards. It’s the tendency for mold, mildew and other pests to proliferate during periods of high humidity that can deal a death blow to vines. TPC uses hot air blown from a slow moving machine towed behind a tractor to help kill fungus, bacteria and other pests.
Repeated treatments of TPC, which blow air at 150 degrees Celsius and some 200 kilometers per hour, have proven to have physiological effects on the vines. It increases the antioxidants a vine produces and actually thickens the leaves of the vines and skins of the fruit. This all allows producers to eliminate conventional chemical treatments commonly used to combat pests in humid regions. While TPC was not invented in Brazil, coming instead from Chile, its rather widespread adoption here is an indication of the willingness of Brazil’s wine industry to take risks and think outside of the box.