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Providore Wines debuts New Zealand first, augmented reality wine (don't worry, it's the label – the wine's still drinkable)

Newcomer to the Central Otago wine scene, Providore Wines, is using augmented reality technology to take users on the journey of how its drop is made, from grape to bottle, via its labels. The experience lets customers go inside the landscapes of Providore's South Island winery, see where it's made and get to know the people that make it, including Pete Bartle, one of New Zealand's most respected winemakers. 

The augmented reality experience features winemaker Pete Bartle talking the viewer through how the wines are made and the unique attributes of the Central Otago region, as well as the story behind the brand. There's also the option to toggle between seasons, altering the graphics on the app.

“While technology is not changing the way we make wine, it is changing how we share it,” Providore CEO Craig Coote says.

The agency behind the technology was Wellington creative digital studio Maggle, which worked with Providore over a year to craft the stories. These will be updated monthly to keep customers entertained, with six already ready to go in the pipeline. 

Maggle Managing director Mitch Duncan says while AR is definitely no longer a new concept, developments are being made in the technology that allows brands to continue to explore digital storytelling and push the boundaries of what is possible.

“Providore isn’t the first wine company to use AR, but what we are doing is more interactive and engaging. We are creating a whole digital world inside the bottle for people to explore.”

And the use of the game-changing technology was very much a strategic decision. Seeing as there roughly 700 New Zealand wine porducers and thousands of brands operating within the country's domestic market, it's proving harder and harder for new wine brands to stand out and grab consumers' attention.

The illustrations of Providore's vineyards on its labels come to life via augmented reality

The approach Providore has taken is not dissimilar to that of Wellington's oldest pub, The Thistle Inn, which created a virtual reality experience for Wellington On a Plate's food festival in 2017 in order to tell the story of one of its meals and its journey from catch to plate, as well as the story behind a Garage Project brew that was created and matched to the meal. 

The Thistle Inn manager Richard Walshe said at the time it was important that people learned more about the back story behind their food, as it educates people on how this product has reached them.

“I don’t think people appreciate the work that goes into it and all the different elements,” he says. “This gives a small insight into the process and the effort put in.”

Coote says Providore's approach has helped them have a greater impact on customers, while forging a better connection with where the wine is actually from. 

"Central Otago is a place which is incredibly dear to our hearts. The people, the landscape and the wines we are able to make there are extremely unique. We can't wait to share these stories with customers, whether they're in Levin or London." 

Providore Wines officially launched in December, and is a collaboration between a group of Central Otago wine enthusiastics, including Peter Bartle, a much awarded winemaker with over 25 years' experience.

"I am absolutely committed to making the very best wine coming out of the region," he says. "The wines are at the heart of everything we do and to be able to use this technology to communicate with the people enjoying them is hugely exciting." 

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