Are robots making your wine?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking 2018 by storm, becoming mainstream in just about every industry. From capturing and analyzing large amounts of data, to automating workflow processes, the possibilities are endless. In the wine industry, consumers have actually been using AI for awhile now in the form of apps, helping them to chose their next bottle or glass of wine. However, growth and advancement in the field has opened up opportunities for wine makers to take advantage of AI technology.

Let’s be clear about one thing. This doesn’t mean actual robots are going to start making wine (well, at least not yet). AI comes in the form of computer programs, or algorithms, created to perform specific tasks. Often times, these tasks were once done by humans, but with AI can now be done faster and more accurately.

This is exactly what a South Australian technology firm, Ailytic, is doing to increase efficiencies in the wine production process. Their program uses “prescriptive analytics” to account for all the different variables that go into making wine (temperature, inventory, etc). Prescriptive analytics is basically using data to determine the best course of action. And by gathering and analyzing this wine making data for a specific wine maker, Ailytic is able to create the best possible operation schedule, saving time and money in production.

Making wine is often a labor of love, and saving time and money in production can make a huge impact on the bottom line. Using AI can open up opportunities for wine makers that may have not been available before. But as with any new technology, there are a few considerations to take into account, the first being cost, the second being integration.

The way I see it, AI will probably be integrated more quickly into the large or conglomerate wine companies. Cost is not as big of a barrier to entry as it may be for some of the smaller batch wineries. In addition, AI works best when it is used to take over processes that are already in place. Large wineries already have a streamlined production system used to mass produce wine, so incorporating AI is fairly efficient.

This doesn’t mean that smaller wineries do not have opportunities for using AI. Like any other new technology, as it continues to develop, the costs eventually go down.

With AI making headlines, wineries of all sizes are best served by taking notice, researching and becoming more aware of where this technology may help them in their day-to-day processes. Embracing these changes in the industry will make a huge impact on future competitiveness.


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