Technology Wine Experience

Technology continues to rapidly change almost every industry, with no exception to wine and spirits.

From high-flying drones above the vineyards to smart phones scanning wine labels, technology is improving your latest glass of red. Let’s examine how wineries are using technology to produce better products and provide a better customer experience.

Tech in the vineyard

The buzzing you hear at Kendall-Jackson’s Vineyard isn’t the sound of bees — it’s drones.

“We have two drones, and they’re pretty busy,” Randy Ullom, winemaster at Kendall-Jackson told Wine Enthusiast.

The drones have a lot on their to-do list. They help with marketing, security, surveying, and crop analysis.

The drones can help map the vineyards through photos and then can alert the winemakers to any threat to the vines.

Drones can also fill in when there is a labor shortage or help redirect human labor to more valuable tasks. For example, it would take four workers an entire day to spray a field to ward off infection. Drones can do this quicker, allowing the workers to prune vines or do other activities.

Wine tech changing how we purchase wine

Smartphones give us a window into a lot of things, and apps such as Vivino have given consumers that window into the world of wine. The app tracks what consumers like when they scan the wine label. By scanning a new label, the user now has access to other users’ reviews, the average price per bottle, and more. The app will even give you good ideas of what to pair the wine with.

Other apps let you scan the QR code on a label to get more information or bring you directly to the vineyard’s website.

Besides smartphone apps, technology is also transforming how we purchase wine. Companies such as Naked Wines sell their wine exclusively online and provide customers with exclusive wines.

For more traditional vineyards, technology has busted open the direct-to-consumer wine channel. Vineyards are now able to sell their wine online and technology has helped reduce the logistics and manpower associated with cutting out the middleman in their sales. The DTC channel reached the $3.1 billion mark in 2017 and is expected to grow by 11% this year.

Wine tech at bars and restaurants

Technology is following us everywhere we go — including when we dine out.

Some restaurants and bars now offer the option to order off of iPads or tablets. Uncorked claimed a 20% increase in wine sales for bottles that had photos of the labels and tasting notes on the menu. Labels can start using this to their advantage by providing interactive content for prospective customers.

How bars and restaurants serve wine is also morphing with updated technology. To save money and provide a better by-the-glass experience for customers, wine is now being served on tap or in an Enomatic or Eurocave.

Traditionally, on-tap was reserved for beer. Wine bottles were served by uncorking the bottles and could sit there open for too long causing the wine to spoil.

The stainless steel serving options provide protection for the wine and allow restaurants to have many expensive bottles “open” at once for consumption. Since less wine will spoil, the per-glass price can now also be less for the customer.

Wine tech at home

With more than 80% of all wine consumption happening off premises, it’s natural that wine tech has infiltrated our homes.

On-demand delivery of wine in major cities is growing, with apps such as Grizzly and Uber seeing success. Drinkers don’t have to leave their couch, but can still get a high-priced bottle to their front door in under an hour.

There are also tech gadgets to round out your home bar that are savvier than ever. For example, the Kelvin Smart Thermometer sends the temperature of a bottle inside of your refrigerator to your smartphone, allowing you to know when that bottle is at the best possible flavor.

How you can get techy

While buying a drone might not be practical or affordable for your vineyard, there are still plenty of ways to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind in the wine-tech revolution.

  • Look into adding a QR label to your next production of wine labels that transports customers directly to your website.
  • Reach out to apps, such as Vivino, and make sure if a user scans your label, your information is there.
  • Have your sales reps catalogue which restaurants and bars have smart-menus on tablets or iPads. Consider writing an extra blurb about your winery to add to the menu at these eateries.

Wine and Spirits

Meredith Galante

Meredith Galante is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has been published in USA Today, amNewYork, Newsday, Square and more. She's interviewed then-Mayor Cory Booker, Ryan Seacrest, and other New Jersey folks who made their community better. She's covered breaking news, sports, features, and now frequently writes about small businesses.