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    About Us

    Our Story:

    VinSense is an Indiana LLC formed in March 2015 to produce an innovative decision support software system for agricultural crop production. The new technology enables producers, field managers, and winemakers to make better crop management decisions to improve production volume, uniformity and quality and increase profitability and long-term sustainability.

    The VinSense software, initially targeted at the wine grape growing and winemaking industry, will deliver the following value to our customers:

    • Increased crop volume
    • Enhanced crop uniformity
    • Better crop management – cover crop decisions, irrigation practices, pruning, canopy management, and other crop management decisions
    • Long-term crop sustainability
    • Better soil moisture management – resulting in water conservation and lower irrigation costs
    • Optimal soil nutrient management
    • Better environmental protection practices

    Our product is based on the latest soil, viticulture, enology and predictive analytics research, as well as the latest sensing technologies (in situ and remotely sensed). The key unique components of the system are the transformation of this data deluge into easily understood information relevant to crop and winemaking decisions and the incorporation of soil physics and hydrology, viticulture, and enological models to increase the relevance of the information and enable predictive analytics for management and planning. The user friendly visual interface and decision tools are being developed with “real world” producers to ensure that the data provided is relevant, understandable, and, most importantly, actionable.

    Our Team


    Professors at Purdue University


    David S. Ebert, PhD

    David Ebert is the Silicon Valley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He also directs the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in visual analytics and the Purdue University Visualization and Analytics Center.

    Dr. Ebert is a leading expert in integrated, interactive data visualization and analysis, having deployed solutions for effective decision making in medical applications, veterinary applications, public safety, logistics management, weather, and emergency response. He is also very active in the visualization community, teaching courses, presenting papers, co-chairing conference program committees, and holding senior leadership positions in professional societies (IEEE, ACM).


    Christian E. Butzke, PhD

    The Purdue Wine Grape Team’s Professor of Enology, Dr. Butzke is a past president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and current chairman of the Indy International, one of the largest wine competitions in the world. His Extension responsibilities include professional engagement activities from local winery consultations to global winemaking projects. He is editor of “Winemaking Problems Solved” and author of the popular textbook “Wine Appreciation.”

    Butzke has also been Director of Winemaking for Sakonnet Vineyards in coastal New England and a tenured faculty member in the world-renowned Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis.

    Philip Owens

    Phillip R. Owens, PhD

    Dr. Phillip Owens is a Research Leader at the Dale Bumper Small Farms Research Center at USDA ARS in Booneville, AK. His hydropedologic-based research utilizes soil landscape modeling coupled with GIS, remote sensing, terrain attribute analyses and geostatistics to relate soil spatial variability to landscape scale processes.

    Through this research, Dr. Owens has developed a transformational soil mapping technology that predicts soil properties at a high resolution and relates the soil properties to functional responses of plants.

    Sue Ebert

    Sue Ebert, Client Relations Officer

    Sue brings a strong background in human resources, administration, and translating technology into understandable terms to VinSense.

    Professional Staff


    Larry P. Ebert, JD, Founding CEO


    Madeleine Houghton, COO

    Madeleine Houghton, CEO

    Maddy Houghton is a strategic enterprise leader specializing in corporate strategy and restructuring. Her experience includes building and successfully managing large cross-functional teams to reduce risk, optimize operations and efficiency, and manage large-scale change to achieve enterprise goals, long-term sustainable growth, and profitability.


    In 2012, she received the “Woman of The Year” award from The National Association of Professional Women, “For Demonstrating Excellence and Dedication Within Their Profession” and the “Best In Business” award from The International Honor Society – Beta Gamma Sigma, ”Recognizing Business Excellence.” She is also the Chief Executive Officer of King of Clubs Wine

    Lise Asimont

    Lise Asimont, Advisor

    Lise Asimont brings 20 years of winegrape industry experience to our company. She incorporates technology with traditional grape growing practices to drive field uniformity to make great wines in the vineyard.  She is a past president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and has served on the ASEV and Unified boards.

    Photo of Minerva Dorantes

    Minerva J. Dorantes, Soil Scientist

    Minerva Dorantes is a research soil scientist with the company. She takes soil field data and converts it into practical maps to support the development of viticultural interpretations across fields. She is passionate about teaching soil science to landowners and extensionists. For the past four years, she has been transferring knowledge and new technologies in soil conservation and spatial modeling to several institutions in Central America.