Regular readers of my column will know that I have a thing for fully automated POS, self-service, kiosks , robots – and basically anything that allows self-checkout. Well, this week I experienced something new in automation. It was a wine bar that is completely self-service. No human being was pouring and yet there were 80 bottles of wine to sample!
The self-service dispensing was done by machines utilizing smart card technology. The card, with a chip on it, gets preloaded with some money, and then the customer (dare I say “consumer”) will insert the card into the dispensing machine and then press a button over the bottle of wine you’d like to enjoy. The system dispenses the wine into your glass, which you are holding underneath the spout.
The quantity can be as small as 1oz, or a larger 3oz or 6 oz. The price for each is displayed on an LED over the bottle. The system automatically deducts the cost from your smart card, which you then withdraw. The smart card is shown on the right.
The pressure system is powered by nitrogen – pumping some in and forcing the wine out through a tube. The nitrogen keeps the wine fresh for weeks .
The really fun part was being able to try just an ounce of several different wines that I would normally never get around to trying due to the price. It was great!
The self-service machine reminded me of an automated soda machine where the cup drops down, and soda water and syrup are squirted in. Perhaps the next step in wine automation will allow some kind of custom blending.
You can try the technology at the Sarasota Vineyard.
My favorite wine, this particular evening:
Written by Craig Aberle