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QR technology creeps onto latest wine labels

Slowly gaining acceptance in the wine trade is the adoption of QR (quick response) technology involving label-based two-dimensional bar codes which, when captured with a mobile phone, take you to the wine’s website.

The tool, widely used in Asia, and popular in Japan since the mid-90s, has been applied to the repackaged Portuguese brand Tagus Creek, and New Zealand’s latest label, Insight, from Vinultra.

Fleur McCree, co-owner of Vinultra, explained: “All you need to do is download a free application to read the QR codes and although we’re not really using it in the UK, in Asia it’s a phenomenon, where use of the codes started back in 1994 on most music and FMCG products.”

Essentially, the codes are a way to bridge the gap between the offline and online worlds, and provide an opportunity for wine producers to provide consumers with the latest details on what they’re drinking, without having to constantly update back labels.

To the casual observer however, they look like nothing more than a black and white pattern in a square box.

“The codes give people more reasons to take the wine home and discover more,” said McCree.

She also stressed the benefits for brand owners. “The cool thing about the code is that it means you can change the content behind the scenes on a day-to-day basis so that every time you capture the code you know there is something new.

“The code can also link to different content according to the retailer.”

Europe and the US have been slow to adopt the codes, although McCree points out that Pepsi has started putting them on cans and UK retailer M&S has got them on some products.

Tagus Creek, which launched its new look at last week’s LIWF, is hoping consumers will use the QR code to link to its website to view videos of tastings.

The Portuguese wine now has brail incorporated into its latest label, as well as an enlarged font to highlight its mix of indigenous and international grape varieties.

New Zealand’s Insight wine is a completely new brand for the UK market through importers Buckingham Schenk.

Including a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling, the wines from Marlborough are made by ex-Cloudy Bay head winemaker Eveline Fraser.

Patrick Schmitt, 24.05.2010

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