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Virtual Vines: Are Virtual Wines Next?

posted in: FOOD Tech, Tech Trends


Many of us enjoy a tipple, and if you’re partial to a glass of wine or two it might interest you to find out – as I did recently – that it was the first liquid to be drunk on the moon.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin says he sipped some wine before he stepped out onto the lunar surface in 1969 with Neil Armstrong. He also says it was part of taking communion, so far be it from us to cast cast doubt on his motives.

Wine is big business; There are even specialist university courses dedicated to areas such as Wine Tourism like the one offered by the aptly named . But for those without the means to travel the world in search of the finest vintages, the idea of getting that sort of experience virtually is an interesting proposition.

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The Burgundy Wine School in France now offers a Wine Tourism course

That’s what Found Studio has tried to do with its Virtual Vines multi-sensory experience which debuted last year.

Touted as “an innovative new approach to wine tasting” it was developed in partnership with the famous Brancott Estate in New Zealand (for those in the know, they were the original Malborough Sauvignon Blanc makers, starting out over 40 years ago).

“We believe no other wine brand has used true VR and multi-sensory elements to create such an all-encompassing wine tasting experience,” says Toni Ingram, Head of Marketing, Wines and Champagnes at Pernod Ricard.

Combining real-time 3D animation and storytelling, the experience – which toured several festivals over the course of last summer – transported multiple simultaneous guests straight to those New Zealand vineyards from its Red Shed pop-up.

This innovative approach to wine tasting was developed in partnership with the Brancott Estate in New Zealand Share on X


The Found team created an experiential tasting concept by incorporating sensory elements Share on X

From witnessing the birth of Marlborough as a wine region to feeling the wind on their faces as they walk through the vineyards, this is a wine industry first that starts to explore the potential of VR to enhance real-world experiences and sensations. The Found team created this experiential tasting concept by incorporating sensory elements including the use of Arduino to create interactive electronic objects and immersive theatre techniques to bring a heightened VR experience to the user. Visitors to the Shed experienced seasons changing, grapes flourishing and scents to stimulate their tastebuds in preparation for the real wine tasting which followed afterwards.

“We’re very excited to be working with Brancott Estate on this VR experience. Being able to experiment with new interactive techniques and narration on this project has meant we’ve been able to bring to life the brand’s incredible story and heritage in an innovative and unexpected way,” said Found Studio Creative Director Marcus Moresby.

You can check out the video below, and although we’re not yet at a stage where those multi-sensory experiences can be delivered to every consumer via the Internet, perhaps having a nice glass of wine at your elbow while watching it will improve things. I find it usually does.

Visitors to the Shed experienced seasons changing, grapes flourishing and scents Share on X

Brancott Estate – VR CaseStudy – Found Studio from Marcus Moresby on Vimeo.


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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio and @techtrends_tech on Twitter.