Is the digital wine transformation happening?

The Wine & Spirits industry is known to be conservative and late tech adopter but I believe things are evolving in a good way and the digital transformation may be just around the corner!

This post is following two recent news :
- A chronic on French RCF Radio: “Des Souris et des Hommes” speaking about “Is the wine industry going to embrace the digital transformation?” (Le vin va-t-il faire sa révolution numérique?) presented by Dorie Bruyas & Jean Pouly.
- The announcemenent of Vivino’s Series B investment of $ 25M led by the Family Office of Christophe Navarre — CEO of Möet Hennessy, LVMH.

At 33entrepreneurs (VC and wine, food & tourism tech startups accelerator), we are screening international innovations and investments on our 3 verticals. This constant monitoring allows us to conduct the 33insights.

Last summer, we announced a mapping of 500+ Wine & Spirits Tech startups and 1 600+ applications distinguishing 5 value chain segments :

1 — PRODUCTION (9%):

This segment includes technologies that provide added value during the production process (either vineyard & winery). This is particularly the case with WINEGRID sensors. Inside barrels/tanks this concept is a sensor coupled with predictive models to help winemakers in their vinification and wine aging. On field, there are also solutions such as eVINEYARD that collects information from the vineyard and with disease evolution models helps vinemarker treatments optimization.

2 — RECOMMENDATION (32%)

Here we find influencing purchase decision concepts. This is the case of WINETA, an algorithm that recommends the wine matching your personal tastes. We can also find wine scan / wine scoring and influencing app such as VIVINO (Shazam wine), WINESEARCHER, or HACHETTE WINE …

3 — SALES / DELIVERY (39%)

Largest segment by number of startups, this category include innovations on the way we purchase and take delivery of our wines & spirits. This is the case of GOOT an app who allow us, with just few clicks, to access to all the wines available in my neighborhood wine-shop, order few then choose between a pick-up or a one hour delivery solution. Other startups such as WINE.COM, NAKEDWINES, LE PETIT BALLON sells wine with or without subscription, while GRAPPONSNOUS, BOTTLESTRIP unites communities of buyers and IDEALWINE, CAVACAVE offers wines auction.

4 — CONSUMPTION 17%

Here we find the new consumption models such as 10-WINE, a machine with cartridges of wines, consume your glass of wine as a cup of Nespresso. We can also mention CORAVIN a solution where we can drink our most valuable wines sip by sip, day after day, without worrying about oxidation. The B2B equivalent maybe ENOMATIC a machine in bars / restaurants offering a wide range of wines by the glass.

5 — ŒNOTOURISM & ACTIVITIES 3%

Probably the category that is the most subject to seasonality, œnotourism and activity that aggregates the concepts to help us book a wine tour or attend an oenological event. We can mention WINERIST that propose a wide variety of wine tours or VINEXPLORE where we can find and book wine events.

To conduct this study, we scrutinized the innovations brought by startups in the Wine & Spirits over a period of 15 years. At the heart of the wine, food and tourism innovation ecosystem, we highlighted various criteria including:
• Year and birthplace / Founders
• Positioning in the value chain
• Capital raised in successive rounds / Investors

Through this analysis we noticed two major elements:

- The number of innovative concepts is growing rapidly for the past 15 years either in R&D, applications or startups;

- The number of players positioning themselves on the sale and delivery of wine&spirits is dominating both in volume and value — 39% of startups that capture 79% of the Top120 1 billion over the last 15 years (preponderance of Wine. com and Jiuxian.com which together have raised $ 480M).

This survey coupled with Vivino’s last funding round of $25M ($36,3M since 2009) make me think that the wine & spirits industry is evolving. It may not be at the same inertia or speed of other industries such as the travel with Airbnb or Uber but the wine & spirits industry digital transformation is not an insoluble equation.