. Energy News .

US wineries uncork Internet innovations
by Staff Writers
Napa, California (AFP) July 12, 2012

From iPads in vineyards to virtual tastings on Twitter, the tradition-steeped US wine industry is increasingly turning to Internet Age innovations to improve vintages and profits.

A Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) that ended Wednesday in California's renowned Napa Valley featured sessions on using Square to rack up sales and Groupon to pack tasting rooms.

The idea is to bring wine into the digital age, with glass-swirling connoisseurs chatting online and sharing pictures and videos from vineyards and barrel rooms -- but the age-old industry has proved slow to change.

"There is more potential with social media in the wine industry simply because wine is social," Andrew Healy, chief social officer of 3 Rock Marketing in Napa, told AFP.

"The wine industry should be at the forefront of social media. Unfortunately we are not," he said. "We are rooted in tradition and very slow to change."

VinTank was established as a "digital think tank for the wine industry" and provides ways for wineries to track what is being said about them online.

"Looking at the wine industry, we see a product mired in antiquated laws, complex distribution paradigms, unique product qualifications, and innumerable complexities," VinTank says on its website.

"Through technology and innovative strategies, we are dedicated to finding the solution."

Wine makers in the United States face a mishmash of state and county laws regarding shipping alcohol directly to buyers.

"This crazy 50-patch quilt of wine sale laws is a problem," said Mark Vogler, self-described "social media maniac" and founder of Out In the Vineyard, which promotes Wine Country getaways in tune with gay lifestyles.

Wineries are keen to put Internet technology to work for "direct-to-consumer" sales that result in far higher profits than going through distributors, who still dominate the market.

The quest for Wine Country technology tools benefits from the proximity of Napa Valley to Silicon Valley, which provides access not only to new ideas but the people behind them, according to Healy.

"We get people here every day from Google, Facebook and other technology companies spending time and money in Napa Valley, so we are lucky," he said.

Social media was a hot topic at WITS, with wine makers and sellers urged to build communities at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other sites.

"Those brands that participate deeply are winning the market today," said Sean Moffitt, co-author of "Wikibrands," a book about how to transform one's company by mobilizing customer input.

The conference also focused on how tablet computers like Apple's iPad are changing the industry, with vintners using the devices for everything from monitoring grapes to making sales pitches to big wine buyers.

"The era of paying for a printed wine list is really coming to an end," said Alpha Lab chief executive Josh Hermsmeyer, who was part of a panel devoted to the growing popularity of iPads in the wine business.

"It's been wildly successful."

About 50 iPads are used at Hahn Family Wines in California, according to marketing manager Joshua Cairns.

"Our bottling line manager doesn't even have an office; he just carries his iPad around," he said.

Visitors to the Hahn tasting room are invited to use iPads to take notes and email them to themselves, feeding addresses to the winery's database.

The wine industry has progressed a bit since the first WITS here eight years ago but has more work to do, according to event organizer J. Smoke Wallin.

"Wineries and vineyards are used to planning what to plant now to be growing in a decade, and we are talking about how to respond to a tweet in 15 seconds," Wallin said.

"Think about the disconnect between the kind of long-term thinking in agriculture and the fast-moving responsiveness that this world of technology has created."

The reward for the wine industry is worth the effort, given the potential for ongoing relationships with customers, feedback on vintages, and data about how wines are selling, according to Wallin.

"Master the tools of information ubiquity," Economaney.com founder Dave Maney told WITS attendees.

"There is no question that this information revolution is the largest animating force in the economy today... Surf it. Read it. Take the time to get it."

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

School days rivalry leads to pocket sommelier
Napa, California (AFP) July 11, 2012 - Daniel Feder is out to trump a grade school buddy who hit it big with online travel service TripAdvisor.

He plans to do it by putting a sommelier in the pocket of any wine lover with a smartphone.

The lawyer turned Internet entrepreneur created WineLuxury.com, a website operating in stealth mode ahead of the planned release of applications for Apple or Android-powered mobile gadgets in October.

"It is kind of embarrassing if you are out on a date and have to rely on a sommelier," Feder said while demonstrating his budding service at a Wine Industry Technology Symposium in Napa Valley.

"This will help people look more impressive in front of their friends and dates," he promised. "You will be the big cheese when you walk in there."

WineLuxury is starting in restaurant rich San Francisco; amassing a database of wine lists from the city's restaurants along with tasting notes and food pairing recommendations from sommeliers.

The information will be correlated to critics' ratings and tools will provide based on factors including personal tastes, types of wine, and value for the money.

"We are a pocket sommelier," Feder said. "You will be able to fully deconstruct a restaurant wine list based on whatever parameters you want."

WineLuxury planned to start in San Francisco and then spread to Los Angeles and New York City next year in the belief that those areas represent a significant chunk of the US market for wine-drinking restaurant goers.

The startup's website will let people scrutinize wine lists ahead of time and even email questions to restaurant sommeliers.

"We are trying to create interactive relationships between patrons and restaurants through the wine list," Feder said.

"Our main purpose is to enable people at restaurants to get the best wine for them."

He envisioned eventually getting users to upload wine lists from restaurants to help the startup create the world's largest database of its kind.

WineLuxury hoped to make money through premium memberships or even selling wine to people using smartphones or tablets.

Wine in hand, Feder laughingly explained that the idea for a startup meshing technology and wine was fueled by a drive to one-up a classmate from decades-gone grade school days in California.

"My friend from high school founded TripAdvisor, which went public and he made some obscene amount of money," Feder said.

"The whole motivation behind this is basically a high school rivalry; it is born of total immaturity," he continued. "Steve Kaufer, I have you in my sights buddy."


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

School days rivalry leads to pocket sommelier
Napa, California (AFP) July 11, 2012
Daniel Feder is out to trump a grade school buddy who hit it big with online travel service TripAdvisor. He plans to do it by putting a sommelier in the pocket of any wine lover with a smartphone. The lawyer turned Internet entrepreneur created WineLuxury.com, a website operating in stealth mode ahead of the planned release of applications for Apple or Android-powered mobile gadgets in O ... read more

New eyes in the sky

IGARSS 2012 - 'Remote Sensing for a Dynamic Earth'

MSG-3 set to ensure quality of Europe's weather service from geostationary orbit

Images in an Instant: Suomi NPP Begins Direct Broadcast

Phone app will navigate indoors

Announcement of ACRIDS product line for Precision Airdrop Systems

SSTL announces exactView-1 satellite launch date

Galileo pathfinder GIOVE-A retires

Rising CO2 in atmosphere also speeds carbon loss from forest soils

Taiwan indicts loggers for axing 2000-year-old trees

Study Slashes Deforestation Carbon Emission Estimate

Scientists develop first satellite deforestation tracker for whole of Latin America

White rot fungus boosts ethanol production from corn stalks, cobs and leaves

AFPM Testifies on Concerns of the Renewable Fuel Standard and RIN Fraud

BIO Responds to Petroleum Refiners' Criticism of US Navy Demonstration of Advanced Biofuels

AliphaJet Joins Advanced Biofuels Association

Soluxe Solar Applauds Accomplishment of "Fuel-less Flight"

Solar Community Installs Solar System on San Antonio Porsche Dealership

VERSOLSOLAR Provides Solutions for Reducing Total Costs of PV Plant Construction

KYOCERA Solar Modules Confirmed as PID Resistant

Italian police seize giant wind farm in mafia probe

GL Garrad Hassan releases update of WindFarmer 5.0

U.S moves massive wind farm plan forward

Belgium wind farm a go after EIB loan

Huge Australian coal mine wins conditional approval

Russia expands presence on Spitsbergen

Australia scraps coal port expansion

Trapped China miner found after 17 days: state media

Hong Kong property tycoons charged with graft

Activists reject Chinese dissident suicide verdict

China 'investigating' Shanghai bishop over split

Hong Kong's new govt rocked by graft arrest

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement