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Ep 11: TNWG Wine Times: AI in the Wine Industry and How Do I Smell and Taste Wine?

Undoubtedly and far from surprisingly, the wine world is not void of being influence by the technological advancements that we are seeing throughout all walks of life.


In the wine world, though, how is this being made possible? Below are 4 AI firms utilising the advancement in technology:



  1. Tastry - Is a US start up which is utilising an AI based recommendation platform which will take a consumer's preference selection of wines and compute that into wine suggestions for purchase. The idea behind it being that you no longer look at the label on a wine bottle or the named producer, but work off the taste profile of the individual. Effectively, the view point being that the algorithms embedded within the AI development - allows the 'computer to taste' because it is brought back to chemical compounds rather than the human element of seeing a label and automatically having a view on how good the wine will be in the glass. Interesting...😲 

  2. Vivino - the well known wine app, apparently now stores your data within an AI backed power model which then sends you a newsletter with appropriately designed wines that fit your profile. 

  3. Sun'Agri - a French company formed some years ago now but designed as a state of the art sunshine management system - the system installed above the crops is designed to limit excess solar radiation and help with any extreme temperature differentials. 

  4. Tule - another US based firm that is said to be helping with irrigation decisions. There is a physical sensor stored in the fields which then looks to, combined with AI, work out how best to care for the vines - water stress levels, evaporation levels etc.



However, in truth, AI is far more than this it is already used in the wine industry for not just consumer preferences and vineyard management but also inside the winery, where it can look at fermentation processes and fine tuning them for consistency and best product production. Indeed, it could also be used in streamlining operational processes such as stock management and logistics as well as Marketing and Advertising - is this in fact written by AI today? 🤣


One thing is for sure, the wine industry is modernising alongside the rest of the globe in utilising AI and machine learning for the better ! Watch this space as we look for more great innovative usages in 2024 over the coming months.


Moving on... let's move towards a Basic Topic but questions always arise on it - so here are my:


Top Tips on How To Smell and Taste Wine...


Unflattering photo of me!



💡Firstly people, NO aftershave or perfume to be worn 😲I know...shocker.... BUT if you want to really smell the wine, you need to do it without any foreign smells affecting it.


💡Secondly, ensure you are serving the wine at the right temperature. So contrary to popular belief, that does not mean that we serve white wine directly from your fridge (although reality is that probably happens quite a bit in most households). Here is a rough temperature gauge for different wines:


  • Sparkling wines: 6-10 degrees (well chilled)

  • Sweet wines 6-10 degrees (well chilled)

  • Light / Medium Bodied White Wines 7-10 degrees (chilled)

  • Medium / Full Bodied White Wines 10-13 degrees (lightly chilled)

  • Light Bodied Red Wines 13 degrees (lightly chilled)

  • Medium / Full Bodied Red Wines 15-18 degrees (room temp) 


🎯The reality is, and to keep it simple, if you have a white wine chill it but then let it come up a couple of degrees in temperature once taken out of the fridge before you smell and taste it. For reds, as long as it is not baking hot in the house then room temperature will do nicely. 


💡Hold your glass by the stem. You have decided to serve the wine at the perfect temp, so don't alter it by warming the liquid with your palm.


💡Now, most people are likely to now say swirl the wine in your glass, to oxygenate the wine or aerate it. However, I typically take one sniff in my glass beforehand. Just readies you for trying to identify the smells. Then swirl then take another sniff in the glass.


💡Try then to identify what you are smelling in the glass. If you want to note it down, do so. There are no rules (but also may look a tad awkward in a busy bar).


💡If you are unsure, swirl the glass again and then have another sniff. There is no issue with sniffing multiple times!


💡Then the second half of the fun, the taste. Take a large sip of wine / small gulp, and swirl in your mouth whilst sucking inwards with your mouth slightly open to allow more oxygen in to your mouth. Why do this? Again, why not see what happens if you don't...


💡 So take a large sip and drink it as you would without looking to taste versus taking a large sip whilst sucking in oxygen into your mouth as its partially open. What do you notice? Are the flavour profiles stronger and more identifiable? That oxygenation and rotating around the cheeks within your mouth is helping you aerate the wine and giving you stronger flavour profiles. (NB: A safety note, a small amount of alcohol via osmosis is being taken in even if you spit, so do not think it is safe to drive after a big tasting session!)


✍️ If you are out and about, make a little note in your phone or with any medium you can to make notes of what you taste and smell. Most importantly, did you like it or not? Why did you like it? 


✍️ If at home, make a spreadsheet or put a few notes down in a book (I have many of these lying around now that give me thoughts and ideas!). 


Right, on to the Wine Of the Week and what do we have this week: 


FURMINT, Hungary

2021 Pajzos, Furmint from Tokaj in Hungary


🍷 Furmint is a white grape from Hungary, famed for its dominance in creating the wonderful Tokaji dessert wines. However, it also makes fantastic single varietal dry white wines too which makes it incredibly versatile. Some have referenced it as 'Burgundy on Steroids'. Furmint actually is genetically parented from Riesling and Chardonnay so you can understand the zingy extra expression on a Burgundy Chardonnay as a reference point. 


🍷 This particular Furmint is a 2021 vintage, it has a breathe of fresh air - but summery feel

to it, with spice and weight. This would be superb as an aperitif prior to food or think of a bowl of olives or light nibbles in the spring! For mains this would still be great with seafood and for me, especially some prawn linguine - see my website for a nice recipe there too!


🍷 Flavour profile wise, this has the lot - it has enough acidity there to hold with more food items than discussed, the citrus and apple fruits blend well and a balanced reasonably long finish with some minerality behind it on the mouthfeel make this a wonderful white wine!


🍷 Try a Dry Furmint and let me know what you think!


🗞️ LATEST DRINKS INDUSTRY ARTICLES 🗞️


TOP ARTICLE THIS WEEK



This is a worrying one this week. You may or may not have heard of a number of profile high end restaurants closing across the UK at the turn of the year and this trend looks set to continue. For me the only way forward if we want to keep our diverse cuisine options and back small independents, which is what I once ran, then we need to remove VAT from the hospitality sector, look to allow better guidelines on foreign nationals being able to work in the sector and consider sommelier roles and head chef roles to be seen as visa options.


OTHER ARTICLES OF THE WEEK OF NOTE:




📈 MARKETS IN BRIEF 📉


On the week (as at 11:05 11/01) changes:


EQUITIES: ⬇️ FTSE 100 down 0.06%; ⬆️ DAX up 0.09%; ⬆️ S&P up 1.6%; ⬆️Nikkei 225 up 7.04%; ⬆️ Dow Jones up 0.7%;

COMMODITIES: ⬇️ Brent Oil down 1.5% ; ⬇️ Crude Oil down 1.3% ; ⬇️ Gold down 0.9%; Silver flat; ⬇️ Copper down 1.3%

BONDS (in yield terms): ⬆️ UK 2yrs higher 0.0865%; ⬆️ UK 10yrs higher 0.126%; ⬆️ German 10yrs higher 0.096%, ⬇️ US 2yrs lower 0.005%; ⬇️ US 10yrs lower 0.033%;


📢📢 ANNOUNCEMENTS 📢📢


The FIRST episode from 'The Northern Wine Guy Podcast Show' Series - What Bottle Is On Your Table, Tonight? is NOW OUT.


Reminder, it speaks to wine experts, communicators and educators on how they entered the wine industry, what wine actually resides on their table when the camera is not looking and where they see value in a region in 2024.


Link here to the website with all my podcasts - we also tonight (UK 5pm) have a live broadcast of 'The Andy and Olly Show' Series 3 where we begin by speaking to Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa.


You can also find all the podcasts on Apple, Spotify and Amazon too.


That is all from me this week, as always, please feel free to SHARE, COMMENT, DM me or give FEEDBACK on these editions. 


Have a good week!

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