Virtual reality (VR) has seen use in a huge number of industries and sectors, from architecture to sport, but winemaking would not appear, at first glance, to be a natural fit. However, several Australian winemaking associations are investing in the technology.
The Australian Federal Government provided $2.8 million (AUS) to winemaking bodies and associations to invest in projects to boost tourism. Three successful applicants are planning to use the money to create VR or augmented reality (AR) experiences.
One of those is being developed by Riverland Wine, which is based in the largest grape-producing region of South Australia. The executive chair of Riverland Wine, Chris Byrne said they hoped the VR technology would help sell the area to wine lovers.
“We are really confident that we can begin to attract a lot more attention to Riverland Wine, and what it has to offer the globe,” Mr Byrne said, “It is consistent with our whole approach here in the Riverland, which is to look towards technology as being the way forward, whether it be in the farm or on the marketplace.”
Recently, China has emerged as a major market for Australia’s wine, and Seppeltsfield Winery considered this when developing its own VR experience to market its vineyard to tourists.
Chad Elson, sales and marketing manager for the winery said that the VR experience has done well in Asia: “We found that particularly in China, it is a fantastic element of our marketing mix,” he said, “It is just another compliment in what people are doing to help sell their wine internationally and their businesses as destinations for tourism.”
The experts don’t consider it likely that VR could ever truly replace a real life winery experience, as Elson said: “Just being able to give them a small flavour of what they can expect increases their interest,” he said, “We find it more as an interest prompter.”
For continued coverage of new ways that VR technology is being used around the world, keep checking back with VRFocus.