Mike Wheeler

Premium wine business course to be launched at Vinexpo

Two of the world’s great wine regions have come together to offer a high-end business course spanning two continents.

The 10-day Business of Wine course will give industry professionals access to some of the leading minds in Adelaide, Australia, and Bordeaux, France.

The course is the result of collaboration between renowned wine industry educators the University of Adelaide and the KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy in Bordeaux.

The 10-day course was launched today, 29 May, at the Vinexpo in Hong Kong.

Course participants will spend five days in each region where they will be given exclusive access to vineyard tours and master classes led by chief winemakers. Alongside this, a tailored academic program will cover subjects such as research and development, global market insights, wine marketing, and consumer behaviour.

Bordeaux is probably the most famous wine region in the world while Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is within an hour’s drive of globally renowned regions Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

Adelaide joined Bordeaux as a Great Wine Capital in 2016.

“This unique and immersive program has been designed to allow people from all over the world to learn from the experiences of experts from two of the world’s greatest wine regions,” said University of Adelaide Wine Business Program Director Marni Ladd.

“Participants will learn from the best academics and business leaders not just about the science of wine, but also about future challenges in the wine business.”

The program is a direct result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Adelaide Business School and KEDGE Business School last year.

KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy Director Professor Jacques-Olivier Pesme said France and Australia’s winemaking histories and experiences were different but very complimentary.

“As such, the experiences, practices, and technologies of these two regions provide different perspectives which are among the most successful ones in the world of wine,” he said.

“This polarity is what make this program so unique; a truly holistic learning experience.”

Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producer and the second largest exporter to China, behind France. South Australia produces about 50 per cent of Australia’s wine and is home to leading brands including Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys Wines and Wolf Blass.

Expressions of interest are being sought for the inaugural course, which will likely be held in Adelaide in November 2018 and Bordeaux in May 2019.

The new course was launched at a Vinexpo event attended by wine business leaders, industry bodies, dignitaries and the Great Wine Capitals Global Network community.

Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, involving the participation of both the University of Adelaide and KEDGE, is the most influential wine and spirits trade fair in Asia. This year, the fair celebrates Australia as the ‘Country of Honour’.

Speaking at Vinexpo, Australian Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the course would take advantage of existing and emerging market opportunities.

“Australian wine producers have never been so connected with the world as the global demand for our wine only grows,” Senator Ruston said.

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Artificial intelligence boosts wine’s bottom line

The Australian wine industry is turning to artificial intelligence to streamline its manufacturing.

South Australian tech firm Ailytic has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) program to significantly increase production efficiency by optimising machine use.

It uses an AI technique called ‘prescriptive analytics’ to account for all the variables that go into mass-producing wines such as grape variety, packaging and finished product inventory.

The program then creates the best possible operation schedule, allowing companies to save considerable time and money.

Ailytic’s list of clients includes world-renown wine companies such as Pernod Ricard, Accolade Wines and Treasury Wine Estates.

It has now included South Australian company Angove Family Winemakers as well.

Pernod Ricard Global Business Solutions Manager Pauline Paterson said AI was highly beneficial for the wine industry and helped to increase the bottom line.

“We use it mainly around production line and use it to derive the most efficient way to produce our product,” she said.

“It is definitely helpful with changeover, how many bottles we need, how much wine and what order to do everything in.”

Ailytic’s system is able to obtain essential information from wineries using remote sensors, which are placed on equipment and around winemaking facilities.

These sensors track a number of key metrics including throughput, machine uptime and changeover time from red to white when bottling.

This includes the sub-classification of each colour such as sweet red, dry red, aromatic white and fortified wines.

Ailytic’s program ensures that wine is changed quickly, without contamination, bottled using appropriate glassware, labelled and then packaged appropriately.

The sensors then transmit the data to a computer in real time using Wi-Fi.

A single production run for bottling can take anywhere between one hour to two days but Ailytic’s system reduces time spent changing the line setup by up to 30 per cent.

Pernod Ricard is the world’s second leading wine and spirits company, with a network of growers across six countries and €8.68 billion in sales in 2015.

Its brands include Jacobs Creek, Campo Viejo, Brancott Estate, Kenwood Vineyards and Wyndham Estate.

Ailytic co-founder and CEO James Balzary said the company’s AI program was perfect for the wine industry because it thrived in complex environments.

“Our algorithms work well for things like packaging, bottling and general manufacturing – the wine industry is where we are seeing a lot of appetite and the most uptake,” he said.

“People think of wine as a romantic artisan type of process, and it is, when you are producing small batches or super-premium wine, but the majority of wines we drink are mass manufactured in big complex tank operations. That’s where we come in – the more complex the business, the bigger the benefit.”

Ailytic’s involvement in wine manufacturing has seen it nominated at the 2017 Wine Industry IMPACT Awards in Adelaide.

Ailytic’s other clients are also based out of South Australia and include Australia’s lone sink manufacturer Tasman Sinkware.

However, it does plan to expand its clientele and has already garnered international interest in their product.

“Even though the bigger wineries would find this more useful, even smaller operations will benefit from this,” Balzary said.

“It’s an affordable solution that used to only be accessible to bigger companies but we try to focus on bringing advanced capabilities to Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturers and service providers.”

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