Could the Fourth Industrial Revolution change the wine industry? It already has and will continue to just like it has changed just about every other sector from healthcare to manufacturing to retail. Artificial intelligence touches everything in winemaking from the soil analysis at the vineyards to how consumers select the right vintage to go with dinner. Let’s explore a few of the ways artificial intelligence will alter winemaking.
At the vineyard
Artificial intelligence is already in many vineyards in the form of AI-powered machines and sensors that help assess water needs and soil conditions for the grapes. Automated drones can fly above the vines with thermal infrared cameras to identify precisely what vines need water or suffer from diseases or damage from pests. Additionally, just as tourism companies use drones to make marketing videos, vineyards can use drones to give its customers a bird’s-eye view of the grape-growing process. Ultimately, robots might take over tasks at the vineyards to free up the winemaker to focus on other initiatives.
In Australia, GAIA (Geospatial Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture) uses AI software and a satellite image library to plot every vineyard in the country. The organisation feeds the data it collects to its deep neural network to monitor crop conditions, fruit quality, classify vineyards and more.
Just as it has done in other industries, artificial intelligence can help make wine production more streamlined and efficient. By analysing data from sensors and other data-retrieving tools, AI machines can monitor conditions as well as inventory and suggest action based on the data. As the world’s climate continues to evolve, artificial intelligence can play a critical role in how existing winemakers in various locations adjust to changing climate conditions and help inform new wine-growing regions as they become more hospitable to growing grapes.
Artificial intelligence has already been used as a virtual sommelier to help make wine pairing suggestions (more than 25% of wine drinkers use wine apps to help with purchasing decisions), but we can expect this capability to expand. In one example and partnership, AllRecipes. Com and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates joined forces to offer consumers immediate wine pairing suggestions for recipes on the AllRecipes. Com site. The AI tool used here takes a consumer’s personal tasting preferences, patterns in the recipes and information about what wine is available at local retailers to recommend wines for dishes. Similar to how Netflix or Spotify recommends movies and songs or artists to you, there are many apps and companies such as Wine Ring and WineStein that used artificial intelligence to create a virtual sommelier that can get to know you so well that it can offer personalised wine suggestions. In fact, more than 25% of wine drinkers use wine apps to help decide what wine to purchase. There’s even a smart wine vault on the market that can track your wine inventory and also gives you wine recommendations.
The AI transformation of wine recommendations can also impact your wine-buying experience. The same technology that can recommend a wine to you from an app can inform your wine-purchasing experience either online or at a retail store. Perhaps in the future, you will interact with a wine sommelier robot who will help you pick out a perfect bottle.
Winemaking might be a work of art to some, but it’s fundamentally very scientific. When artificial intelligence is used to analyse data about the grapes and other properties that ultimately influence the aroma, flavour and taste of wine it can identify patterns and insights that might be undiscovered by humans. The data analysis done by artificial intelligence can help winemakers make decisions about their crop and winemaking methodologies to perfect their system.
Now that artificial intelligence has vision and natural language processing, it isn’t too far fetched to believe that AI will soon have other senses such as taste and smell. With that ability, AI will be able to provide critiques and reviews of wine. In fact, Wine Spectator is an entire publication that is written by software, and it already offers ratings and reviews of wine.
Autonomous vehicles and wine
As the driving experience evolves with self-driving cars, it is expected that our vehicles will turn into entertainment area—when the AI system is keeping an eye on the road and navigating you are free to do whatever you want. In this scenario, drinking and driving is no longer a concern. It’s possible that as our roadways change to accommodate more self-driving vehicles, our collective consumption of alcohol will increase.