It is probably no surprise that the wine industry has become very interested in figuring out how to use electronic media to draw consumers into the wine market and intensify the relationship. Much of the focus so far has been on social media vectors such as Facebook and Twitter, which connect consumers and producers and facilitate conversations of various sorts.
For what it’s worth, insiders believe that CellarTracker, the online wine community and cellar management program, has had the biggest impact so far. Click here to read Jancis Robinson’s analysis from today’s Financial Times.
Wine’s digital dreams go beyond social media, however. I’m impressed with Tesco’s smart phone wine app, which I have written about before. My college class was awed when I showed them this video of the wine app in action.
Now Microsoft has developed its own touchscreen tabletop wine program for restaurants and bars to help consumers get more involved in their wine-by-the-glass choices (and to keep them entertained until their wine arrives, I suspect).
(I remember when tables like this held quarter-eating video games like PacMan. Back to the future!)
Leave it to the French, however, to really think outside the bottle and box. Here is their vision of the digital [wine] dream.
(I wonder what Sarkozy thinks of this! He seems to want to make wine less — not more — accessible.)
I think we are in the early stages of understanding which of these digital wine ideas will catch on as a way to educate and inform consumers and create a more personally satisfying and commercially successful wine experience. My guess is that we will have to explore many blind alleys before we find the right approach.
So keep your eyes open for new ideas — and pass me that little USB spigot. I want to download some Brunello.