Thursday 25 August 2011

Canberra wineries using a drop of technology to reach customers

Not only are Canberra district wineries leading the way with high quality wines in several premium varieties, they are also leading the way with innovative technology. Several have started using QR codes on their labels, or are planning to do so in the near future.

Shaw Vineyard Estate, a boutique winery located in Murrumabteman in the Canberra District wine region is one such winery that has started adding the QR (quick response) codes to their labels.

"The use of QR codes in the winery actually started when we began exploring new ways to attract people to our winery and wines through different online marketing channels. The conversation about websites and new technology inevitably headed in the direction that many marketers are heading these days – smart phone apps," said Tanya Olinder, Director and Cellar Door manager at Shaw Vineyard Estate.

QR codes are better known as those 'website friendly bar codes' that are tailor made for helping people navigate to information via their internet enabled smart phones.  First launched onto the scene in Japan in 1994 by a subsidiary of Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota, they were originally designed to track vehicle parts in car manufacture. The codes have been going through somewhat of a renaissance of late with the fast growth in software and devices that allow for the creation and use of QR codes, most notably Iphones and Google powered Android phones.

"From 2011 onwards all new domestic and export wine releases will contain the QR codes within the label design.  The codes will take the viewer to a page on our website which has the most up to date information on the release including tasting notes, food matching ideas, and the latest awards the wine has won.

"Adding another layer to the in store wine selection process definitely adds an attractive element for wineries that have been fighting the 'label and shelf wars' for years in Australia. For consumers this new marketing tool will provide those with a smart phone a more accurate and timely way to research and explore new wines prior to purchase and a few handy tips about the wine to share at the table once they get the wine home," Tanya continued.

Shaw Vineyard Estate hopes that these little codes will help them connect customers more closely with their brand and wine stories well into the future.   Tanya acknowledges that she isn't the first in the Canberra District to implement QR codes, but is definitely in a small group of early adopters.

 "We looked around the region and found some of the other wineries were doing it also so we know there has to be something in it," Tanya said.

In fact there are at least five others who are either already using the QR codes, or planning on using them in the near future. All wines made by Lark Hill will feature QR codes on the labels from the 2011 vintage on.

"The codes on labels provide a fast link to a permanent page on our website with information on that specific wine. They therefore provide permanent after-sales support for our customers – once they purchase the wine they can immediately find out more detail on its provenance, tasting notes and so on. The links will remain active for many years to come so that even if you cellar a wine, you can always find relevant, updated content about it," said Chris Carpenter of Lark Hill.

Lerida Estate will be including codes on their three new release wines – the 2011 Botrytis Pinot Gris, Lake George Blend (LGB) and Moscato style wine, the Rosa Frizzante – all to be released later in 2011. Capital Wines are also planning to have codes on their labels by the end of the year.

And it seems labels are only one use. Mount Majura Vineyard has several concepts under development including their brochure reprinted to include a code that will link to a dedicated page on their website with a video selling the cellar door experience. And in addition to labeling wines of the 2011 vintage with QR codes, Domaine Rogha Crois Wines' flagship Pinot Noir will have a  label code linking to a YouTube video that explains the techniques used to make the wine as well as tasting notes and food matches. Tanya at Shaw explains some of the other uses.

"We now have QR codes at the Cellar door for signing up to our email list and a separate one for liking us on Facebook.  These are two important marketing tools that we use to keep our customers up to date, so making it easier for people to join these lists was an easy choice.  It's definitely an innovation over the old clipboard and wine stained paper sign up list you see at most cellar doors," said Tanya.

"In the world of wine, anything that makes local Canberra district wines more enjoyable for consumers to purchase and consumer is surely going to leave a nice taste in people's mouths," Tanya concluded.

See the below media backgrounder for more detail on Shaw Vineyard Estate's experience implementing QR codes.

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