Bots in vineyards, AI wine reviews and blockchain 4x4QR codes to track wine and provide transparency to consumers. These are just some of the topics that were presented by a panel of wine technology experts in a recent OIV 2021 study.Digital trends in the Vine & Wine sector’, the study included a comprehensive survey of wineries in 18 OIV member countries as well as in-depth interviews with 21 wine technology experts. The results reveal 9 major technology trends that will shape the future of wine.
According to Pau Roca, Director General of the OIV (International Organization of Vine & Wine), “The study is part of our 2020-2024 strategic plan, where digital transformation appears as a catalyst… which will allow the sector wine, its producers and consumers, to adapt to a world threatened by the crisis of climate change. 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.
Nine major digital trends in the global wine industry
Here are the descriptions of the nine major technologies that are expected to transform the global wine industry in the future:
1) Wine Internet of Things and Sensor Technology – there will be an increased use of technological sensors in the vineyard, cellar, distribution and on the bottle of wine itself. The data will be compiled on the Internet in order to be easily accessible to employees and consumers.
According to Oliver Oran, CEO of Chainvine, this type of sensor technology will give birth to the smart wine bottle, which is: “a bottle of wine moving and sharing its data”. The combination of sensors, blockchain, and QR codes will allow the bottle to track its temperature, humidity, location, who it was sold to, and its current price. Additionally, consumers will be able to learn about the vineyard it comes from, how the vineyard was grown, how the wine was made, additives, and wine reviews from experts and other consumers.
2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Wine – more use of smart machines in the vineyard and cellar to perform tasks requiring human intelligence. This includes better crop tracking and management, monitoring of quality processes in the winery, and more comprehensive wine reviews.
According to Dr. Bernard Chan, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Central Arkansas, applying AI to different wine reviews “will allow us to create a database that synthesizes all of the different reviews to provide more clarity on taste markers and what a 90+ plus wine does for a specific region.We are not trying to replace wine reviews, but to provide a more comprehensive analysis of wine for consumers.
3) Robotics in the Vineyard and the Cellar – increased use of robots for fertilization and harvesting in the vineyard, and control of stocks and movements in the cellar.
According to Mr. Albert Strever , Senior Lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, “With the cost going down in recent years, it is believed that over the next three to five years these robotic systems will have a much greater impact on the the vine and wine.”
4) Satellite imagery and GPS in the vineyard– although already used by large wine companies to monitor the health of vineyards, it is expected that these technologies will also be adopted by small wineries. Using drones and satellites, wineries can easily gather data on maturity, water shortage and disease pressure in the vineyard, and act faster to preserve quality. This also supports sustainability, as products are only sprayed in the vineyard when necessary.
5) Laser image detection and ranging in the vineyard – Thanks to LIDAR, which is a remote imaging technology, the structure of a vineyard can be mapped. This allows wineries to create 3D maps of vineyards, which helps with robotic technology in the vineyard and reducing accidents. This will help create the ‘Smart Vineyard’ of the future.
6) Wine Block Chain Technology – a blockchain containing encrypted information that will improve wine traceability and facilitate smart contracts. This will be especially useful with wine distribution, so distributors and consumers know where the wine has been. This will also help reduce wine fraud and counterfeit wine.
seven) Electronic labels for wine – electronic wine labels that provide detailed information about the wine. Consumers will be able to use their smartphone to access 4x4QR codes which will provide comprehensive information about the vineyard and wine production – even links to videos. The E-Label will offer better transparency and increased traceability. Electronic labels are part of the smart wine bottle of the future. Some wineries are already experimenting with labels in augmented reality, but the E-Label of the future will provide much more information.
8) Electronic certificates for wine – as wine is transported and sold around the world, there are currently many paper documents required to ship and receive wine in different countries, as well as tax and tariff documents. Electronic certificates will eliminate paper and allow digital access to all these documents.
Oran is enthusiastic about this technology, as he also considers it good for the environment and economical. “Currently, in the United Kingdom, 15 million euros are spent each year on customs formalities. Thanks to this technology, we will be able to arrive at a world where there will be no more paper declarations.
9) Smart wine storage – because wine is stored in warehouses around the world, there is a need to move to smart warehouses that will help wineries reduce costs and improve efficiency and logistics. This will mainly focus on the increased use of robotics.
Highest Priority Technologies for Global Wineries
One of the interesting aspects of the study was how global wineries responded to a survey question about which technologies they thought had the highest level of priority importance. The results, in order of importance, are:
1) Digitization of wine content with an electronic label
2) Blockchain Technology
3) Satellite imagery for vineyards
4) Electronic certificate for trade and distribution
5) Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Wine Storage
Ironically, however, when survey participants were asked to rate the extent to which the global wine industry was embracing digital technologies compared to other agricultural sectors, such as coffee, cocoa and olive oil, they gave themselves the equivalent of a C+. They didn’t think they were very low or low, but they didn’t rank high or very high either. At least the wine industry recognizes that it needs to do a lot more work in order to successfully adopt some of the new technologies that will not only contribute to higher levels of efficiency and productivity, but also improve sustainability, worker safety and consumer transparency. .