Wine Grounds Launches Machine Learning-Based Vintage Scores

Wine Grounds announced this week a revolutionary new vintage quality feature to their food and wine pairing app, Grape Base. Their data-driven approach to determining the quality of a vintage allows industry professionals and consumers to see scores for any wine-growing region in the world. By utilizing machine learning and a proprietary weather model, Grape Base can instantly predict the overall quality of a vintage based on the weather during the growing season, at harvest and throughout the winter.

Grape Base is taking a hyper-local approach to vintage quality and creating scores for the top varietals grown in every officially recognized region, district and or appellation across the globe. Vintage scores will be continually expanded on and made available after the end of harvest in the northern and southern hemispheres. Industry professionals can use the data to make purchasing decisions and project trends in consumer buying habits.

Wine Grounds Founder Chris Hall states, “By tracking and evaluating the weather of a specific region and comparing that to the ideal conditions for the grapes grown there, we can predict the quality of the vintage for those grapes. You can then use those scores to pick the best vintage in a wine shop, from your own rack or out to eat. Somms can ahead on building wine programs that showcase varietals at their very best. It is absolute revolution in wine tech.”

Highlights Include:

  • Weather model can be applied to any region in the world for any grape and it is continuously learning and improving
  • 75+ regions available with scores for the past ten years
  • Search allows users to find scores by region or grape varietal
  • Monthly subscriptions start at US $1.99 after a one-month free trial
  • Grape Base is available in the Apple Store and on Google Play

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“Tastry” uses Chemistry + AI to Analyze Wine and Generate Flavor Profiles

A California startup that taught a computer to “taste” wine is using technology to help winemakers improve their wines and attract new customers.

Founder Katerina Axelsson says Tastry uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze “tens of thousands of wines a year,” generating vast reams of data to help winemakers and retailers target their products more effectively.

Ms Axelsson formed her idea as a chemistry student working at a winery, where she noticed “idiosyncrasies” in how wine was evaluated. A 100,000-gallon tank of wine would be divided in two and sold to two different brands, where it would end up in different bottles, sold at different prices and receive different scores from critics, she states

She began analyzing wine samples, identifying thousands of compounds. Using AI, she could see how these compounds interacted with each other, creating the wine’s flavor profile. She then took that profile and used machine learning to compare its flavor, aroma, texture and color with other wines in the database.

The method allowed Axelsson to develop a wine recommendation app, which was launched on screens in the wine aisles of retailers in 2019. Through a quiz, consumers could input their flavor preferences, and the software would recommend a suitable wine with 80-90% accuracy at the first attempt, she says, rising to 95% with additional input form the user. Tastry’s system now powers its BottleBird wine recommendation app.

Tastry has also begun working directly with winemakers in the United States. Brands pay to have their bottle analyzed “and in exchange they would have access to what we call an insights dashboard, where they can identify how their wine is perceived in their market of opportunity, on a store, local or regional level,” says Axelsson.

One client is O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, one of the largest wine producers in California. To produce some blends, it combines wine from “upwards of 30 different tanks” to create the desired flavor profile, according to Marty Spate, vice president of winemaking and winegrowing.

The company is using Tastry’s AI to “streamline” the blending process by suggesting which tanks to use. “[Tastry is] not a replacement for the modern winemaking team,” he says, however, “that data can be pretty powerful.”

But in an industry steeped in artisan tradition, there are some critics of its algorithmic approach.  “It’s like having a computer analyze a piece of art,” says Ronan Sayburn, master sommelier and head of wine at 67 Pall Mall, a private members club for wine lovers in London.

“I don’t know how keen people would be on following what a computer tells them to drink, based on what they had previously,” he says. “I think part of the appeal of wine is forming your own opinions.”

Sayburn concedes technology can be useful to the amateur, for recommending serving temperature, aeration time and food pairings. “But when it comes to something which is a very emotive subject, I think there’s got to be human contact,” he argues.

Axelsson agrees that Tastry is not a substitute for a sommelier. But she says the scalability of her product makes it possible to analyze more wines per year than a human could ever taste.

Her company will start offering services in Europe later this year in collaboration with an online retailer, and is already thinking beyond wine, having conducted tests for beers, spirits, coffee and fragrances.

In the meantime, she’s happy to spend time winning over the naysayers.

“It takes time to educate any industry about AI and its benefits,” she says. “But if the use case is there and the value proposition is there, I think it’s just a matter of time before people really embrace it.”

Source :CNN Business London

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Vivino Raises $155 Million in Series D Funding

Vivino, the world’s most downloaded mobile wine app and largest online wine marketplace closed (this week) a $155m Series D funding round led by Swedish based investment firm Kinnevik with Sprints Capital accompanying as a new investor. Additional participants include GP Bullhound and existing early-stage investor Creandum. This latest round brings Vivino’s total funds raised to date to $221 million and includes a mix of primary and secondary investment.

Vivino currently boasts a community of 50 million wine enthusiasts, who turn to the platform for its personalized recommendations, unbiased rating system, and expansive selection of wines from more than 700 marketplace partners worldwide. The new capital will enable Vivino to improve its core technology and artificial intelligence platform to create better and more personalized recommendations for Vivino users. The company will also deepen its focus on select markets with the greatest potential for growth, including the US, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, and Portugal.

“This is a testament to the remarkable work that our teams around the globe have done to build an extraordinary business,” said Heini Zachariassen, Vivino’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “This round has raised important capital for our rapidly growing company and drawn some exceptional new leaders to our board. The funding will enable us to continue to build on our core strengths, expand industry partnerships drawing more merchants and wineries to our marketplace, and support our continued global growth.”

Alcohol e-commerce sales worldwide have grown immensely, and it is estimated that by 2024, they will exceed $40 billion. Zachariassen credits the company’s growth to this continued shift in consumer behavior. “Our user retention rates are high, and we’re seeing a steady conversion of app users to wine buyers. That’s a good move in the right direction. By creating more value for our users, we also create more value for the company and industry at large.”

Since its Series C raise in February 2018, led by Vivino’s current board chairman, Christophe Navarre and former CEO and Chairman of Moët Hennessy, Vivino has increased its user base from 29 million to 50 million and has significantly grown its marketplace business, which connects wineries and wine merchants to its community. The company has posted a 100% annual growth rate for the last seven years and a 103% increase in year-over-year sales in 2020.

#vivino #vivinonews #winenews #ecommerce #winemarketing #winesales #consumerbehavior #AI #mobleapp #economics #winebusiness #winelovers #winelover #wine #wineapp #vivinoapp #winetrends #winetechnology

Pau Roca, Director General of OIV gives his overview of the 2019 global wine sector and the impact of Covid-19

Speaking from the OIV’s [International Organisation of Vine and Wine] headquarters in Paris, by web conference to over 3,000 international wine journalists, and trade, Director-General Pau Roca presented today [April 23, 2020] details of the 2019 wine production, consumption, and international trade. The impact of Covid-19 in the sector was also highlighted.

Here are the important facts and highlights of today’s Conference:

  • The surface area of the world vineyard is estimated at 7.4 mha, which has been stable since 2016;
  • World wine production is estimated at 260 mhl, a marked decrease, compared to 2018 historically high;
  • World wine consumption is estimated at 244 mhl, marking a +0.1% with respect to the previous year;
  • The world wine export market has expanded both in volume, estimated at 105.8 mhl (+1.7%), and in value with 31.8 bn EUR (+0.9%);
  • 2020 Harvest – first estimates of wine production in the Southern Hemisphere indicate low expected volumes for 2020 (with the exception of South Africa and Uruguay).

Vineyard area stabilization

In 2019 the world area under vines, corresponding to the total surface area planted with vines for all purposes, including young vines not yet in production, is estimated 7.4 mha.

Starting with the Northern Hemisphere, overall stability can be observed in the European Union (EU) vineyards, which stands for the fifth consecutive year at 3.2 mha.

Within the EU, the latest available data for 2019 indicates an increase in the area under vines in France (794 kha), Italy (708 kha), Portugal (195 kha), and Bulgaria (67 kha). The vineyard surface area in Spain (966 kha), Hungary (69 kha) and Austria (48 kha), on the other hand, slightly decreased from 2018.

In East Asia, after over 10 years of significant expansion, the growth of Chinese vineyard (855 kha), second in the world by surface area just behind Spain, seems to be slowing down.

In the United States, the vineyard has been consistently decreasing since 2014, and its estimated surface area in 2019 is 408 kha.

In South America, developments in vineyard surface area between 2018 and 2019 showed a downward trend for the fourth year in a row.

The only exception in the continent is represented by Peru that increased by 7.1 kha (+17% / 2018) its vineyard surface area reaching 48 kha.

South Africa’s vineyard surface area remained stable with respect to 2018, at 128 kha.

Australia the area under vines remained stable at 146 kha in 2019; while New Zealand the surface area grew by 1.6 % reaching a record-high of 39 kha.

Production back to the average

World wine production, excluding juices and musts, in 2019 is estimated at 260 (259,0) mhl, marking a sharp decrease of 35 mhl (-11.5%) with respect to the exceptionally high volume recorded in 2018. Overall, after two consecutive years that can be defined as extremely volatile, 2019 brings global wine production back to average levels.

Italy  (47.5  mhl), France (42.1 mhl), and Spain (33.5  mhl), which together account for 48% of world wine production in 2019, saw a sharp decrease in their wine production with respect to 2018.

Other EU countries that registered a decrease in production with respect to 2018 are Germany (9.0 mhl, -12%), Romania (5.0 mhl, -4%), Austria (2.5 mhl, -10%), Hungary (2.4 mhl, -34%) and Greece (1.9 mhl, -8%). The only EU country that, in 2019, saw an increase in its wine production is Portugal with 6.7 mhl (+10% / 2018).

In Eastern Europe, weather conditions were favourable in Russia (4.6 mhl, +7% / 2018) and Ukraine (2.1 mhl, +6% / 2018), while in Moldova the harvest was less abundant in 2019 and the vinified production was equal to 1.5 mhl (-23% / 2018).

In Asia, the new data available for China indicate an estimated vinified production of 8.3 mhl in 2019, marking a decrease of -10% with respect to the already relatively low production level of 2018.

In North America, wine production in the USA is estimated at 24.3 mhl, a decrease of 2% compared to 2018. This slight decline in 2019 does not depend on bad weather conditions or the raging fires that occurred in California (harvest was just before), but it is a response to overcome an oversupply of grapes and wine.

In South America, the overall trend for wine production in 2019 is negative with respect to 2018. However, while in Argentina (13.0 mhl) and in Chile (12.0 mhl) 2019 vinified productions are lower with respect to 2018 but overall in line or even higher than their five-year averages, Brazil (2.0 mhl) registered a sharp decrease in its wine production in 2019 of more than 1 mhl (-34% / 2018).

In South Africa, 2019 production reached 9.7 mhl. This represents an increase of +3% with respect to the low volume registered in 2018, but it is still far from the average production levels recorded before the beginning of the drought that heavily impacted the country for three years in a row (2016, 2017 and 2018).

With regard to Oceania, Australian wine production registers a decline for the second consecutive year reaching 12.0 mhl in 2019 (-6% / 2018). In New Zealand wine production was 3.0 mhl in 2019, a slight decrease of -1% with respect to 2018.

Expansion of the international trade of wine

In 2019 the world wine export market – considered here as the sum of the exports of all countries – has expanded with respect to 2018 both in volume, estimated at 105.8 mhl (+1.7%), and in value, with 31.8 bn EUR2 (+0.9%).

Strong increases can be observed in exports from Italy (+2.0 mhl), Spain (+1.3 mhl), Canada (+0.4 mhl) and Chile (+0.3 mhl). However, significant reductions in exports are recorded for Australia (-1.1 mhl), South Africa (-1.0 mhl), Ukraine (-0.4 mhl) and Hungary (-0.3 mhl).

In 2019 the global value of wine exports is on the sustained growth path started in 2010 reaching a new record high. France was still the most important world exporter in terms of value, with 9.8 bn EUR exported in 2019. There were rises in the value of exports in many large exporting countries like France (+425 m EUR), Italy (+211 m EUR), and New Zealand (+84 m EUR). The largest declines include Spain (-234 m EUR) and South Africa (-73 m EUR).

In 2019 the international trade of wine in terms of volume was mainly dominated by three European countries – Italy, Spain, and France – that together exported 57.1 mhl, accounting for 54% of the world market.

In 2019 the top three importers in terms of volumes were Germany, the UK, and the USA, which together imported 40.4 mhl, reaching 38% of world total. These three countries represent 39% of the total value of world wine imports, reaching 11.9 bn EUR.

The first importer in 2019 is still Germany with 14.6 mhl, even if its wine import volume decreases by 0.6% compared to 2018.

China for the second consecutive year saw a significant decline in its imported volumes (-11% / 2018), reaching 6.1 mhl in 2019. In terms of value, the trend is similar, with an overall downfall of -9.7% compared to 2018, reaching 2.1 bn EUR. The only category that increased both its volume (+8%) and its value (+8%) is sparkling wine, although it represents only 2% of the total imported volume.

Early estimates of the 2020 harvest in the Southern Hemisphere

First estimates of wine production in the Southern Hemisphere indicate low expected volumes for 2020 for the majority of countries, with the exception of South Africa and Uruguay.

In 2020 a decline in production volumes in all South American countries, with the exception of Uruguay, are expected. In Argentina estimated production is 11.6 mhl (-11%), in Chile 10.5 mhl (-12%) and in Brazil 2.0 mhl (-1%), while in Uruguay 0.65 mhl (+11%).

South Africa seems to continue its recovery path from the drought and expects +5% with respect to last year, reaching 10.2 mhl.

In Oceania, Australia expects a lower production level in 2020 estimated at 11.5 mhl (-4%) due to drought and bushfires while in New Zealand (2.9 mhl, -2%) expectations on wine production are by and large in line with 2019, or just below.

These are preliminary estimates and should be interpreted with caution,  given the current exceptional circumstances.

Impact of Covid-19 in the wine sector

At this early stage the information and statistical data available are insufficient to provide an accurate forecast and anticipate the scenario of the vitivinicultural sector in the future. However, due to communication with OIV members (“Member States”), the OIV has certain qualitative information at its disposal.

The feedback given by the Member States reflects a radical change or transfer between distribution channels. The expected overall balance is a decrease in consumption, a reduction in average prices, and therefore an overall decrease in total sales value, turnover, margins and finally profits of the wineries.

As far as exports are concerned, economies in recession are not a promising market to develop, and during this pandemic, the largest consuming countries have been the most affected. Trade flows may recover along with the economy, but some permanent changes could occur.

Alcohol consumption is also being debated. Messages on the positive effects of wine consumption are totally unacceptable and irresponsible.

The same applies to the issuing, under these circumstances, of general statements or biased messages that are the result of ideological concerns about wine consumption, such as abstention.

The OIV’s work follows the Strategic Plan approved by the General Assembly in October 2019 and covers a 5-year period until 2024. In the current context, the objectives and goals of the OIV go hand in hand with the needs that this crisis has highlighted.

The OIV is the intergovernmental organization of scientific and technical nature of recognized competence for its work concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, and other vine-based products. It is composed of 47 Member States. In the framework of its competence, the objectives of the OIV are as follows:

  • to inform its members of measures whereby the concerns of producers, consumers and other players in the vine and wine products sector may be taken into consideration;
  • to assist other international organizations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, especially those that carry out standardization activities; and
  • to contribute to international harmonization of existing practices and standards and, as necessary, to the preparation of new international standards in order to improve the conditions for producing and marketing vine and wine products, and to help ensure that the interests of consumers are taken into account.

Meredith uses AI to sell wine

Meredith Corporation the US largest brand-powered food, lifestyle and entertainment media company, and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S., are exclusively partnering to position the remarkably broad and deep Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio as the perfect wine pairings of choice through the use of Meredith’s smart technology capabilities, including proprietary first-party data, real-time consumer insights and predictive advertising capabilities. This alliance marks the first time a major advertiser has joined forces with Meredith to create and deliver a program rooted in artificial intelligence.

The program taps machine learning techniques to automatically classify recipes on Allrecipes, the world’s largest recipe site with a reach of 55 million consumers, and the diverse wines in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio. An AI-based algorithm then combines the classifications to automatically generate specific wine pairings for each recipe. Suggested pairings appear adjacent to recipes and are automatically linked directly to local grocery stores or to e-commerce partners such as Instacart and Amazon Fresh for fulfillment using Meredith’s proprietary Shopper Marketing platform. Automated wine and side dish pairings can also appear in interactive meal plans which permit users to customize various elements of the meal based on their personal preferences.

Real-time insights generated from this program include user location store proximity, impressions by channel, trending products and trending recipes to help create usage occasions that reinforce the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates wines of choice, keeping the brand top of mind for all entertaining purposes. As part of the campaign, high-impact and targeted media also engages users with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates across Meredith platforms, including strategic video alignments, custom native content, high-impact media and editorial sponsorships.

“We are very excited to partner with Meredith to accelerate consumer engagement with our portfolio of world-class wines,” said Jim Mortensen, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “This data-driven approach represents a smarter, more impactful, results-oriented form of advertising, allowing us to reach high-value consumers at the point at which their wine purchasing decisions are made.”

Corbin deRubertis, Head of Innovation for Meredith, commented, “Consumers are increasingly expecting media platforms to do more than just present search results. They’re gravitating to smart platforms that take into account all available data to make intelligent recommendations. Picking the perfect wine to pair with a new dish is exactly the type of challenge we can solve at scale, and we’ve combined our deep, first-party insights, including our unparalleled context taxonomies, with new machine learning and AI techniques to deliver a next-generation consumer experience that also drives brand equity and product purchase for our client.”

In addition to investing with Allrecipes, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates will leverage Meredith’s scale by extending its exclusive partnership across the company’s O&O assets. Meredith owns the largest premium content digital network for American consumers, reaching 175MM engaged consumers across its platforms.