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French WineTech Is Bubbling with Ideas

France has one of the world’s greatest wine sectors, and now it is also home to numerous innovative firms that are betting on innovation and digitalization for the sector. Let’s have a look at 3 of them.

Chouette: Viticulture 4.0

Founded in 2015 by two former employees of Airbus, Chouette has developed software and a drone equipped with a multispectral camera that analyzes grapevines’ condition. The goal: helping wine-growers to systematically reduce pesticide use. Thanks to A-to-Z in-house control of the value chain and to pairing a drone with artificial intelligence, the start-up is able to offer a competitively-priced for automatically detecting the most common grapevine diseases and problems.

Our analysis and recommendations enable wine-growers to intervene in a timely and highly targeted way,” co-founder Charles Nespoulous explains. “So they save time and can use less pesticide.”  The Paris-based start-up has analyzed over 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) since it was founded.

Matcha: The Virtual Wine Consultant

The start-up has developed Matcha advisor, a virtual consultant that helps consumers on e-commerce sites and in the rows of brick-and-mortar stores – thanks to a QR code – to choose their wine well.Thanks to artificial intelligence, clients can get advice choosing a bottle based on their budget as well as on food and wine pairings,” Thomas Dayras, the firm’s CEO, explains. Having raised €600,000 in 2018, the start-up is now getting ready for a second round of fundraising.

The solution has attracted large grocery and supermarket chains like Casino and Monoprix, as well as producer-distributors, like Heineken and Kronenbourg. Although for the moment, the start-up is working essentially with e-commerce distributors, their goal is to “develop our presence in physical points of sale, which still account for 90% of the wine and spirits market,” Thomas Dayras points out.

Present in France and the Netherlands, the firm should be announcing new partnerships in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany this year.

Ma Petite Carafe: Bulk Wine at the Ideal Temperature

Ma Petite Carafe proposes an automatic distributor that serves three different wines in reusable carafes at the ideal temperature. “It’s an alternative to single-use bottles that also allows individual clients to consume without generating any waste,” Sophie Blum, the head of the company, explains. Three years of research and development were needed to perfect the machine which is 100 % Made in France. The wine is sold in 5-liter eco-refills with extremely low carbon footprints that preserve the wine’s quality for up to eight weeks after opening.  “Each distributor contains three refills, which corresponds to 20 bottles, or 10 kilos (22 pounds) of glass saved,” she adds.

The start-up, which has raised €1.4 million and which signed its first contracts with cafés, hotels and restaurants in 2020, is working on a solution for stores, too. “Bulk foods are growing fast, but for the moment, there is no good solution for wine,” she concludes.

More info about the Winetech in France

More info about the Wine & Spirits and the Beer & Cider sectors in France.