I was sitting on a plane recently surrounded by people either banging away on their laptop or “thumbing” through their phone and it got me thinking about the wine industry’s relationship with technology. People have suggested that the wine industry is so steeped in tradition and so far behind “technological times”, that online marketing for suppliers will never work. They suggest that the industry is too “word of mouth” dependent, and that winemakers really do drive around with an 800 page dog-eared print directory in their pickup rather than research what they need online.
Is that really possible…would we chose to make life harder in the name of tradition?
I started to think about this and it occurred to me that the wine industry is all about making things easier…with two caveats. First, it leads to better quality wine and second, it helps sell the wine we produce.
Just a few examples to hammer home my point:
In the vineyard we’ve designed gentler mechanical harvesters. On the crush pad, pneumatic basket presses are better than the originals, and in the cellar, double sorting machines provide even cleaner grapes. We have products like Acrolon’s TankNet that allow you to monitor and manage tank temperatures from anywhere in the world and management systems, like WMS, that allow access to production activities anywhere you can get on the internet. Our tasting rooms have POS systems, like VinNOW, that can track customer behavior and buying habits at a level inconceivable 10 years ago. In the marketplace, we can monitor activities at the account level to see where our competitors wines are being sold and where our wines need to be. Online marketing providers, like the Wine Industry Network, is now connecting buyers and suppliers in a virtual marketplace never before seen, and are growing at a rate that exceed even the most optimistic projections!
With all that said….I hope we never lose the traditions that make the wine industry so special. Who doesn’t love walking the vineyards and seeing them change from one season to the next, the smell of fermenting grapes during harvest, experimenting with different blends in the lab and the excitement surrounding a new release. Best of all….celebrating the fruits of our labor in a way that other, more “technologically advanced” industries only dream about!
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