SXSW Newsflash: Why tech will save the wine industry

The wine industry is still on the up but data from the US shows it has stuttered and the confidence index for wine owners was negative in the US for the first time in 25 years. So, what’s the issue? A recent Forbes article speaks to the same point.

The challenge is that the younger generations aren’t behaving as they should (or as winemakers would want) They spend less money than their parents did at the same age, they have a broader drinking repertoire and they simply don’t care about the traditional routes for discovering wine.

Heini Zachariassen, a tech entrepreneur, who founded Vivino, an online wine community because he was frustrated by not knowing what wine to buy. Vivino now has a community of 30 million users who upload 100,000 reviews a week. Put into context, a wine critic, expert or reviewer (who younger audiences don’t care about anyway) can post 20,000 in a year.

Heini believes that tech will save the wine industry as it will enable younger generations to engage with winemakers on their terms and in a space free from judgement or snobbery. The secret to the success of Vivino is really understanding the language that resonates. He goes as far as to say that winemakers (and by extension, their labels) only talk about their own sophistication rather than what the wine actually tastes like.

The panel all agreed that the wine industry has a long way to go before it becomes more inclusive and accessible but if it doesn’t embrace technology and its importance to younger generations then its customers will soon be on the endangered species list.

By: Fleur Horner

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