Evolution of Wine Technology: From the Vineyard to your Doorstep

Author: Brittany Kaufman 

When you first think of wine, technology isn’t usually one of the first things that come to mind. The wine industry has been one of the slowest to adopt new technology. However, with the world rapidly advancing on the tech front, adopting new advancements should be a top priority. Leveraging technology has proven to provide huge benefits to wineries. Whether you’re creating a new bottle, perfecting your aging process, or stepping up your retail game, technology has the power to effortlessly enhance decisions and increase profits.

Four Major Tech Trends

Wine Technology
               Photo from Future Drinks Expo

Big Hammer Wines claims that there are four major tech trends in the wine business.

  • Big Data: giant informational databases, cleaned up in a usable form. The focus is on

  • Artificial Intelligence: a computing method that builds in adaptation and learning through iteration and analysis. The focus is on decision-making.

  • IoT (Internet of Things): sensors connecting machines and devices for remote communication and control. The focus is on performance and efficiency.

  • Blockchain: a decentralized digital ledger for recording unalterable transactions. The focus is on tracking, transparency, and security.

Adding technology will help grow and advance the wine industry tremendously in the future in many different aspects. Forbes cited a recent 2021 Organization of Vine & Wine study titled, ‘Digital Trends in the Vine & Wine Sector’, where a panel of wine technology experts presented robots in the vineyards, AI wine critics, and blockchain 4X4 codes to track and provide transparency to customers.

“The study is part of our strategic plan 2020-2024, where digital transformation appears as a catalyst … that will allow the viti-vinicultural sector, its producers and consumers, to adapt to a world threatened by the climate change crisis,” said Pau Roca, Director General of OIV. The main objectives of digitalization in wine are to: improve efficiency, productivity, and sustainability; provide more transparency to consumers, and create value propositions and new business models. Let’s dive into a few ways that discover how technology is shaping the future of the wine industry.

Technology advancements in four sectors

Tech In the Vineyard

By adding technology in the vineyards, vineyard managers have been able to use tech tools to improve crops, manage costs and track environmental impacts.

In the vineyard, IoT sensors automatically collect data such as weather patterns, sun exposure, rainfall, nitrogen levels, and much more. By collecting this data, they are able to merge the current data collected with historical data which allows growers to make real-time decisions, quick adjustments, and identify long-term trends.

Tech In The Winery

Using advanced technology helps wineries oversee the quality process from vineyard to bottle. With automated systems, it can help track the entire supply chain. These systems record details at every level of processing such as receiving, sorting, pressing grapes, tank fermenting, barrel aging, and bottling and ingredient labeling. Tech tools simplify tasks such as inventory management. Predictive AI leads to better forecasting and order fulfillment which ultimately improves margin results with fewer supply chain errors, lost revenues, costly adjustments, and write-offs.

On the consumer side, wineries can use these tech tools to do things such as:

  • Engage consumers with QR codes or VR “labels”

  • Offer hard to find information (ingredients or organic certifications)

  • Deliver fun, interactive tasting room experiences with VR or hologram technology

Tech In Wholesale Wine Distribution

Regarding the wine supply chain, it can become very long and complex with many participants. Blockchain technology provides secure, transparent, and verifiable transactions throughout this entire process. Incorporating sensors and tags makes everything more efficient. Using a Blockchain reduces the risk of default, contract breach, product damage, and human error.

Advanced mobile tech makes communication faster for salespeople and as well as customers. With automated warehouses using integrated technology it will improve sales reporting and forecasting. More efficient processing of accounts receivable and payable saves a lot of time and money, as well as the use of flexible pricing tools which would increase customer satisfaction and improve margins.

Tech In The Retail Trade

Through predictive AI, smart technology, storytelling, or “gamification” retailers can offer consumers:

  • Personalized recommendations, subscriptions, loyalty programs

  • Micro-targeted special offers, discounts, coupons

  • Convenient and easy shopping

  • Engaging and satisfying experiences

Tech helps capture more in-store sales when customers are ready to buy. Robotic store assistants lead shoppers to the wine they want, and AI customer service bots answer customer questions reducing call volume, and can send automatic reminders to customers to resolve abandoned carts.

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