Tomorrow is Here: 3 Futuristic-Sounding Technologies that Are About to Take Over in the Wine Industry
04.04.2024  |  by The Copper Peak Team

We are always in awe of the cool technologies our industry comes up with every year. We hear the buzz at trade shows like the DTCWS and read futuristic-sounding articles that round up what wineries around the world are doing. There are some neat things just on the horizon, and these things will particularly affect the kinds of wineries that come to us for help with their DTC shipping and fulfillment.

Here, then, are some of the top trends and technologies we are seeing, and that we feel are poised to become common practice throughout the wine industry.

Augmented Reality, Augmented Bottles

Augmented reality is simply the idea of integrating digital information (and even digital interaction) right at the point where the user is already interacting with something in physical reality. While many augmented reality experiences started with clumsy-looking VR headsets and glasses, many simpler projects are taking root using just a smartphone and a QR code. Enter the augmented bottle.

The idea is either to replace or enhance the label on the bottle. To do this, customers can scan a QR code or the picture on the label of the bottle itself with their smartphone. Doing so can lead the customer to wine information and reviews—or just make the picture on the label come to life in some fun new ways.

As wineries face the challenge of putting more and more information on a relatively tiny space, we expect to see more augmented reality labels, and even some custom packaging that supports the story being told. This new way of interacting with customers opens the door to gaining crucial data on who is inclined to be a brand advocate.

Augmented labels also open up possibilities for how wine is enjoyed. Imagine that you’ve just received a wine club package from your favorite winery. Just by scanning the label, you can open up a video recording that goes over the tasting notes as you enjoy your club package. It takes the experience of opening and enjoying that wine package to all-new heights.

These kinds of trends will affect both how wine is displayed and marketed in-store, and how it is shipped directly to consumers.

Artificial Intelligence in Wine Sales and Marketing

More and more companies are leaning on AI for everything, from creating marketing materials to data analysis and operations management. So what sorts of things are wineries looking to do with such tools, specifically?

Data analysis for sales forecasting and pipeline prediction. Machine learning algorithms are able to pore through mountains of data, catching patterns a human might miss, or that might simply take a lot of time (and math). Larger wineries are now using these tools to predict potential sales volume across different channels (in the tasting room, shipped DTC, or through three-tier networks) and optimize their spend.

Customer service with NLP. AI tools can now produce natural-sounding language, and even hold entire conversations using Natural Language Processing (NLP). Such tools are common in customer service to power pop-up chat windows and phone triages, as well as to populate FAQs. They can also be used to create compelling email and social media copy for a winery’s digital marketing efforts. 

AI-Powered CRMs. AI is at its best when it is tasked with automating the more repetitive administrative tasks. AI-powered CRMS, for example, help to capture contact data and activity automatically, drastically reducing manual data entry. Those points of contact can then be mapped to opportunities—for example, flagging customers who might appreciate a certain seasonal special, or automating birthday messages and gifts.

A New Science of Sustainability for the Next Generation

Precision viticulture employs cutting-edge technologies, such as drones, satellite imagery, and sensors, to collect and analyze data on soil composition, weather conditions, vine heath, and monitoring the fermentation process. It lays a foundation for understanding how green initiatives can improve the quality of the land and grapes grown there. Being “green” and sustainable has always been important to the wine industry. It is an agricultural industry, after all, and wineries understand all too well the importance of caring for the land.Still, the science of sustainability has lagged somewhat behind the good intentions of the industry…but that’s changing. A new focus on “regenerative agriculture” is seeking to repair the soil and the ecosystems that help to produce wine. Some of the projects within this movement include increasing biodiversity, integrating livestock into growing procedures to help enhance soil naturally, minimizing reliance on pesticides and other chemicals, and enhancing awareness of, and demand for, organic wines. There are now certification programs in place for wineries that adhere to such regenerative practices.

It’s worth noting that younger wine drinkers are especially eager to embrace these trends. In fact, wine marketing firms are advising many of their customers to tout any sort of green processes and sustainability efforts, as this is becoming a key differentiator with younger drinkers.

Where Do You Stand?

As we’ve said before, it’s easy to be impressed by cool new technologies. It’s also just as easy to dismiss a newer, untested technology because of the perceived hype. All the more reason to ask yourself: Which technologies are being tested and used now? Which can have a direct impact sooner rather than later? And where do they impact the process—is it in the viticulture itself? In the experience the customer has when they open a shipment? Or is it one of the thousands of steps in between?

Here at Copper Peak, we stay on top of trends, particularly as they affect the DTC wine market. If you are eager to learn more, or just want to see if DTC is the right move for you this year, reach out to us.