QR Codes on Wine Bottles

4th January 2022

QR Codes Wine Bottles

What exactly is a QR Code?

The abbreviation for ‘Quick Response‘ Code, the QR Code has been around since it was founded in 1994 (by the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave). Something of a excitement buzzed around on these scannable codes in the 1990’s and though having plenty of PR exposure and supporters they never quite captured the imagination and usages of the consumer – For some years they faded and remerged on the fringe of trending though never quite doing so.

In the last few years (since 2017) and with the continued advancement of mobile phone technology (portable scanning devices) the QR code have made some kind of explosion of usage with many countries now seeing them as a main way in which to contain & distribute easy to access information.

Statista report shows that, in the US alone, 11 million households scanned a QR code in 2020. There is significant growth from 9.76 million scans in 2018.” source QR Code Tiger

To give an overview of what a QR can do -it’s a two-dimensional version of the Barcode able to convey a wide variety of information almost instantly with the scan of a mobile device. Able to store up to 7089 digits or 4296 characters, including punctuation marks and special characters, the Code can equally encode words and phrases such as internet addresses. (source QR Code Generator)

QR Codes on Wine Bottles

As much as QR codes are great for their versatility, they appear to rarely get used when it comes to appearing on wine labels. To highlight this I went through 100 bottles of sparkling wine (5 had QR codes) and 50 still bottles (1 had a QR code) which shows a very weak average usage. Of course, this is just one test case and my wine collection will differ to others should they also check what % have QR codes on them.

The benefits of using QR codes includes:

  • Take consumer directly to the website of the winery
  • Share food pairing tips
  • Offer discounts / promotions / competition giveaways
  • Learn more about the winemaker such as a introduction video
  • Sharing your tasting experience ie taking you to a Tweet / FB post / FB page

 

What did the QR Codes on the 6 bottles do when I scanned them?

Leber Svecina – Rosé Penina (Slovenia): http://vino-leber.si

VENTIVENTI – Pas Dosé (Italy): https://ventiventi.it/venti_nature/

Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire – Trianon 1966: http://www.champagne-lemaire.fr

Champagne Telmont – Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut: https://uqr.to/qcly forwarding to https://www.uk.champagne-telmont.com

Champagne Chanoine Freres – Réserve Privé Brut Millesime 2014: https://www.chanoine-freres.fr

Bolney Wine Estate – Pinot Noir 2018 (still wine): http://smartyt.ag/385a92 forwarding to bolneywineestate.com

 

What I would gather from my findings is that QR codes are not only relatively scarce in their usage within wine labels, there is also not a lot of creativity in that the websites of the wineries is the only place the QR codes take me. Each of the QR codes were easily visible to a degree on each label, one or two were quite small in size (though all scanned without any issue).

Is there a gap in the market for QR codes on wine labels? I would certainly say so and especially in that more imagination can be used to make the usage of them more rewarding for the end user. Yes, a URL is great and it saves the consumer / user time (no typing of domain name needed), though only one of the labels above took the time to steer you to the page of the wine in question, all others was to their home page.

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.