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Social Media, World Wine

Post your #wine rating to Facebook; wineries get emails, preferences

Winergy owner, founder and “serial entrepreneur” Thomas Hansen with iPads

GLEN ELLEN – QR codes, those scanable squares that pack information for inventory systems, are reaping a harvest of winery customer feedback with a new application from a Glen Ellen startup.

Launched last September by self-styled serial entrepreneur Thomas Hansen, Winergy Inc. just added QR links to a smart phone to its first winery product: iPad rating cards.

“People love to rate things and contribute to the body of knowledge,” said Mr. Hansen. “They especially love to rate wines and make tasting notes to take home. We made it a lot easier.”

Tasting room visitors can swipe their smart phones over a QR (Quick Response) code posted throughout the premises, or on the door if the winery is shut, to access a rating page for a wine. They can also use a winery’s iPad to enter notes and a star rating on each wine they taste.

If the QR code and a smart phone is being used, the notes can be published immediately on a Facebook page, or emailed to the user.

But whether they’ve used their own iPhone or a winery iPad, the winery has captured – with the person’s knowledge – their email addresses.

“But even better,” said Amelia Ceja, owner and president of Ceja Vineyards in the Carneros region, which beta-tested the technology in its Napa tasting room, “we have their wine preferences. If a visitor gives our pinot noir five stars and notes how delicious it was, we know where to promote that wine.”

During three months of use of the iPad technology, Ceja has garnered over 200 email addresses and although it’s difficult to gauge how that affects wine sales Ms. Ceja is certain it has bumped up online orders.

“They get home and when they see the email they remember us and the wines they enjoyed. From there it is just one click to our online store,” she said.

Ceja just began using use the QR codes and Ms. Ceja is seeing lots of interest among smart phone users, she said.

Winergy charges by the rating: $1 each with a $200 minimum, “otherwise we couldn’t make any money,” said Mr. Hansen, who has founded three software companies.

Four-employee Winergy has been bootstrapped so far while the team perfected its first two products. About 25 devices at 15 wineries are either using the technology now or will soon deploy it, he said.

“I know better to think about investment capital before we have established product revenues, but we’re almost there.”

Though company’s initial focus was wineries because the technology lends itself well to wine marketing through wine rating, “But there are many, many places the technology – and the almost universal desire to rate – can be used,” he said.

For more information visit http://www.winergyinc.com.

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