Traditionally, the relaxed, farm-centric wine business hasn’t cuddled up to technology. But in the past few years, the industry has sped up to meet the tech world with open arms. Wineries now use rain sensors in the vineyards to conserve water, imbed microchips in labels to monitor counterfeit activity, and use genetic cloning technology to capture the perfect grape DNA. New innovation arrives every day. Here are a few of those trends coming upon us quickly:
Robots in the Vineyards
It’s tough to replace a human eye overseeing the vineyards, but un-manned robots are in development to provide precise reports on each vine or even grape cluster. The machines use non-invasive sensors and artificial intelligence to deliver up-to-the-minute information on vegetative developments, water status, yields, and grape composition. The European-based project, dubbed Vine Robot, is well on its way to being a reality.
Hey You, in the Wine Aisle
A new development in wine marketing technology is capturing a customers’ attention at the retail aisle: beacons. In an eerie nod to Minority Report, beacon alerts are signaled through a smart phone app that is triggered at the store entrance. Designed to improve the shopping experience, the beacons can deliver any personalized message the customer allows it to convey, for example, the perfect wine with pesto pasta, what Dad might want to drink with steak, or a $2 off coupon on your favorite Chardonnay. This system is already being tested in some markets across the U.S. Learn a little more here.
We’ve got Amazon Prime, on-demand restaurant meals, and, of course, Pizza Hut hot dog stuffed pizza delivered directly to you. Now, using an app on your phone or tablet, booze, too, can be delivered to your door—within one hour, the services promise. Drizly and Minibar, two new online delivery startup companies, work with local retailers to bring PBR, Absolut Vodka and even Veuve Cliquot to you when you want it. Just make sure to have your ID handy.
Can You Smell That?
Computer-generated smells—could this new technology make it to wine trend status? Picture this: A winemaker takes notes on a wine she just blended, compiles them into a list of scents to create an aroma profile, then sends the creation through an email. On the other end of that communication, the recipient opens up the file to breathe in the new creation—translated through a scent cartridge tool. Sound gimmicky and far-fetched? It’s not far off. In fact, the technology exists through a company called OPhone Duo. In the wine business, it could be used to translate barrel samples or even announce a new wine to winery club members. Coming soon to an iPad near you.