Lidl has a new Facebook tool which helps you pair wines with food — here’s how it works

German challenger grocer Lidl has launched a new chat tool on its Facebook page allowing customers to find the perfect wine for their meal.

The Winebot, called “Margot”, is a chatbot which picks up on key words such as foods, grape varieties and colours to match customers with their drink of choice.

Margot communicates in a “light-hearted, friendly tone of voice,” according to Lidl, which launched the new device on Wednesday.

The chatbot was correctly able to suggest useful pairings for some foods, but still runs into some issues.

To use the tool, Facebook users should head to Lidl UK’s Facebook page and click “send message” to get started.

Next, you can select from three options to help you narrow down your search, including a quiz to test your own wine knowledge.

The author is on her last day of Veganuary — a month-long endeavour to live a plant-based lifestyle undertaken by hundreds of thousands of people each year in the UK.

Owing to dietary restrictions, we started with a difficult question, and asked Margot to find a wine pairing for vegan sausages and kale.

Despite not picking up on the finer nuances of our request, the chatbot was able to understand we had asked for a vegan-friendly meal. So far, so good.

It appears that the chatbot is easily confused, and using a conversational tone can throw the AI off your request.

Next, we asked for fried chicken:

“Fried chicken” does not seem to be one of Margot’s go-to recipes, as the chatbot was only able to read and work with the ingredient itself.

Nonetheless, it gave an informed answer, steering us in the direction of Lidl’s range of Chardonnays and reds from Bordeaux.

For the record, if you were planning to have fried chicken, we’d suggest a wine with high levels of acidity to cut through all that grease, while something with a touch of sweetness will also keep your palate entertained. Try pairing it with sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Champagne. A drier style of Riesling would also work, but really, fried chicken and beer are a true match made in heaven.

We also typed in “chilli con carne” one of Margot’s own suggestions, to see how Lidl’s wine buyers had prepared the winebot for consumer interaction.

As well as providing a selection of wines to choose from Lidl’s own range, the chatbot also provides general advice for matching wines with food.

Margot is also an authority in the sweet wine category. We asked the smart tool what to do if we decided to make dessert.

“As a general rule the sweeter the dish, the sweeter the wine should be,” Margot advised, before suggesting a late harvest Tokaji and an Asti for our fabled night in.

Aside from food pairings, Lidl’s winebot can also suggest bottles based on budget, region, colour and grape variety.

We created a Hungarian friend who was invited to dinner, and asked Margot to find something special.

Alex Murray, digital director at Lidl UK, said that the chatbot is in keeping with the challenger grocer’s reputation for “providing fantastic quality wines at highly competitive prices for our customers.

“Margot will ensure choosing the right wine is never a daunting process, and we hope this service – along with the existing in-store and online information we already provide – encourages customers to discover the perfect wine from our curated range.”

The news comes after Lidl has climbed above and beyond its competitors to become one of the UK’s fastest growing supermarkets last year, thanks in-part to the grocer bolstering its range of affordable and premium wines.

Last August Lidl saw its wine sales grow by around 37%, and increased its number of Wine Tours events from four to six per year.

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