Drinking wine is synonymous with tradition, but new traditions are being born as wineries inject technology into the sipping experience. With everything from social media integration to location-based check-ins and scanning apps, wineries are updating the drinking experience with a techie twist.
Bouchaine, a winery in Napa, California is implementing shelf-takers, bottle-neckers, and wine list stickers printed with digital tags for point-of-sale display.
That means consumers who download Microsoft Tag Reader to their smartphone can quickly and easily scan a bottle of wine that catches their eye to get more information about the wine and recommended food pairings.
"Over the years, many tools, digital and otherwise, have been developed to assist wine consumers in making purchasing decisions. Some of these tools did not really offer anything of substance," said Greg Gauthier, Bouchaine’s vice president of wine production and sales.
"We are embracing digital tags technology because it allows us to put valuable decision-making information at your fingertips."
Since choosing the right wine can be so daunting for amateurs, another trend is embedding rich media directly into the tags themselves so consumers can watch videos about the wine before committing to a purchase.
Wineries are also focusing on developing technology around smartphones and tablets, in particular the iPad. For example, some are working to create iPad winelist apps where customers can access the most current information about wine and menu pairings.
"Content is king,” said Lisa Mattson, who works at Jordan Vineyard and Winery. "We can tell our story directly. Having that tool that makes it easier for the sommeliers, but we can tell the story ourselves because while Jordan is an established icon … the videos are a reminder of the passion and the people involved."
Aside from digital tags, rich media, and iPad apps, wine in general is becoming a hot topic online with blogs and social media strategists.
Probably the most notable is wine lover Gary Vaynerchuk who has taken his passion to video and social media therefore spreading his knowledge and expertise to everyone online. Following suit, various labels are moving to the blogosphere and Facebook to rally others around the topic.
There’s even a social media platform designed especially for wineries to use on Facebook called Social Candy.
"We try to provide tools for wineries to increase their fan base by offering promotions that are hidden unless you become a fan like special tastings for fans only or a two-for-1 tasting pass," said an SC rep.
Social media is all about rallying around a common interest, and what better topic than wine? No wonder so many people are taking to Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter to preach the good wine message.
That said, social media and digital tags are making information about the extensive topic more available to those casually surfing the web, making wine tasting far more accessible.