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Gadget of the Week: Augmented Reality wine

KWV’s Cathedral Cellar hopes to change the consumer experience of wine with augmented reality labels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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What is it?

Each bottle in the KWV Cathedral Cellar range of wines is designed to tell the story of a particular vat – via “living stories” made possible by augmented reality. The bottles are sold with a removable plastic aerator – a device used to expose the wine to more air than usual when it is poured. The aerator serves a dual purpose, as it also contains a QR code that can be scanned from any smartphone to download an app called LABELinmotion.

The user opens the app and points and scans the label of the wine bottle, which activates an augmented reality “story”. Seemingly hovering between the label and the phone, a short movie containing animation and audio tells a tale.

Each of the Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Triptych (a red blend), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage labels unlocks a different story. As KWV puts it, you “meet the Roman god of merriment, Bacchus, see the first vessel to bring vines to the Cape, share in the joy of the first crushing of the grapes, experience coopers in action, are introduced to KWV’s stately headquarters and celebrate KWV’s centennial year”.

Mindful of the global audience for these wines, the user can choose to listen in English, French and Japanese.

It’s the second time round for this innovation, and it has now a more streamlined experience.

“Augmented reality is dramatically changing the way consumers engage with their wine,” says Cathedral Cellar brand manager Tanya Blokdyk. “Cathedral Cellar really values storytelling and what better way to honour this brand’s narrative with a modern take on history? It is a fun, informative and engaging way to bring SA’s rich wine heritage to life.”

How does it work?

  1. Download the dedicated LABELinmotion app from your smartphone’s store or scan the unique QR code, reflected on the wine’s neck tag, which doubles as a reusable aerator and pourer.
  2. Select ‘install LABELinmotion’.
  3. Hover over the Cathedral Cellar label / bottle.
  4. Choose your language: Japanese, English or French.
  5. Enjoy (the experience and the wine).

How much is it?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Triptych and Pinotage are priced at R140 directly from KWV, but up to R175 in stores. The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are R85 each, up to R99 in stores.

Why should you care?

Now that alcohol sales are allowed again, and the industry enjoys a new boom, many brands are struggling to stand out amid the nose. But technology can give them an edge – and augmented reality is being roped in to tell the stories of brands and their products.

As Cathedral Cellar puts it, “Trend-setting wineries globally have been embracing this relatively new technology, which makes navigating the complex world of wine fascinating, engaging – and easy.”

What are the biggest Negatives?

  • The AR experience can feel limited, with the animation brief and the stories too concise.
  • The LABELinmotion app is primarily focused on German brands, and for now has little use beyond scanning five bottles.

What are the biggest Positives?

  • The price is reasonable for quality wines.
  • The technology does not add to the price.
  • The “mixed-use” aerator is a great novelty – and a useful tool for those who want to develop their appreciation of wine.
  • It’s a great conversation piece at dinner time.

* Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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