Being a blogger I have a certain affinity for all things tech, so it’s probably not surprising that I’d be attracted to the latest “new shiny” on the market. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) barrel tagging system being produced by TagStream has recently garnered a fair share of my techno lust, for instance.
But not all the cool new tech is right for us. We’ll be a small winery, with total capacity constraint at around 10-12,000 cases (we will start at around 4000 and move up), and a lot of what is offered on the market is designed for the big boys and doesn’t fit our needs. We wouldn’t know what to do with a $100,000 “CRM solution” even if we could afford it.
Some products though, like the RFID system (15K, not including the database backend), look like a great way to capitalize on our biggest competitive advantage: our small size and ability to produce truly handcrafted wines. One of the perks we want to offer our charter customers and heavy buyers is the option to have a row in the vineyard named after them. We’ll post a plaque at both ends and take a picture and send it to them in a special framed package. People will be welcome to come during harvest and help pick their row and enjoy a bit of the Russian River Valley lifestyle.
Now with RFID tags and an appropriate backend database, we may be able to push customization to another level and offer small lots made just from particular rows. You could, for instance, order a case of pinot and we’d throw in a couple bottles made from grapes grown on your row. Doing something like this now takes a ton of effort in the cellar and careful recordkeeping. Itâ€™s not impossible, but it might as well be.
There are many other benefits of RFID coupled with a well integrated database, including easier compliance and the ability to better blend our wines, so itâ€™s a â€œnew shinyâ€? weâ€™re definitely looking into.