Watson makes intelligent wine choices, artificially

AI helping buyers find the right wine

Wine, spirits and craft beer retailer Fine Wine Delivery is using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers choose products from its range.

It says, through IBM Watson, consumers are now able to access a level of expert product knowledge to “assist them in their discovery of the complex world of wine, craft beer and spirits” from their smartphone or tablet.

Fine Wine Delivery operates an independent, expert tasting panel that creates tasting notes on all of its more than 2000 products.

The company says it wanted to make that knowledge more accessible to customers and create an online experience that was as informative as chatting to their expert team in-store.

To achieve this it worked with Auckland-based AI specialist, Spacetime to create a natural language search by ingesting the original tasting notes and using IBM Watson Virtual Assistant to provide customised advice online.

“Whereas previously a customer had to enter the exact details to search for a particular bottle, the Watson-enabled website now provides informed recommendations in response to more general and non-specific search queries,” the company says.

“For example, ‘A dark, spicy Barossa Shiraz under $25’, ‘Rich dark chocolatey beers’ or ‘Craft gins made in New Zealand’.”

This is the second application of Watson AI to a New Zealand business announced this week. On Monday Vector revealed it was using Watson to help detect vegetation threats to its powerlines, and to anticipate weather impacts. 

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