Kuvée is a Boston-based Internet of Things start-up that is developing a WiFi connected smart dispenser. It looks and feels like a standard wine bottle, but is used in conjunction with wine canisters, which are clicked into the dispenser.
The wine canisters can be switched depending on what wine is desired, and Kuvée says the wine canisters will keep any remaining wine fresh for up to 30 days.
The bottle has a touch screen ‘smart label’ that lets consumers access information and content about the wine, as well as ordering more directly from the label.
‘Completely changes how consumers make decisions about wine’
Vijay Manwani, founder and CEO, says that the wine industry has been slow to innovate beyond the glass bottle and cork.
But in an industry steeped in tradition, will consumers be keen to drink wine without traditional cues?
Manwani told BeverageDaily the smart bottle is targeted at a certain group of consumers.
“Kuvée appeals to just about anyone who enjoys a nice glass of wine, but they’re not collectors nor passionate wine enthusiasts,” he explained. “When buying wines for consumption at home they tend to pay around $15 - $25 per bottle for the bulk of their requirements.”
Demographically, Kuvée appeals mostly to wine lovers between the ages of 25 and 50.
“Couples particularly love how Kuvée offers choice (no one has to settle for what the other person wants) and singles enjoy that with Kuvée, they can have one glass and not worry about the rest of the bottle going bad,” continued Manwani.
“Since wine drinking is currently dictated by a two to three day oxidation window before it spoils, most wine drinkers are hesitant to open a bottle for just a glass, falling into the “I’ll just have what’s open” mentality.
“While the Kuvée experience is different than the traditional glass bottle and cork, Kuvée wines’ 30-day shelf life completely changes how consumers make decisions about wine.
"Now, they are able to try multiple varieties at one time, without worrying about waste, forever putting an end to the red versus white battle.”
Learning from craft beer
The popularity of craft beer has shown how today’s consumers seek variety, convenience and authentic products with a story, said Manwani.
“We noticed this trend, and realized Kuvée had the potential to transform the wine industry in much the same way if applied to wine,” he said. “Kuvée is bringing choice, convenience, and a simple, fun unpretentious, story-first focus to wine.”
For wineries, the advantage comes from the potential for direct consumer engagement, said Manwani.
“Roughly nine out of every 10 wineries we approach are interested in working with us, which indicates a genuine appreciation for the benefits that Kuvée provides,” said Manwani.
“Wineries love that with Kuvée, customers actually taste the flavors of the wine as intended, flavors that are normally lost during rapid oxidation, which Kuvée prevents.
“Kuvée also unlocks potential for partner wineries, opening the door to direct customer engagement. Partner wineries learn more about their consumers, while consumers learn about their wine in the comfort of the home.”
Kuvée has raised $6m in venture funding to date. It will start shipping to California and Massachusetts in October, and expand to other markets in December.