Five Wineries Share Perspectives on QR Codes

One technology trend the COVID-19 pandemic made popular was the QR Code, which became widely regarded as a new, sanitary method for customers to see menus.

It’s been more than two years since the first case of COVID was reported in the United States, but the trend has stuck around at some places where food and beverages have been served. And other wineries are taking it a step further using digital technology that goes beyond menus, placing QR codes on packaging that when scanned with a consumer’s cell phone camera lead to websites, videos and online content … even augmented reality.

But others have returned to the pre-pandemic format, sticking with traditional menus and steering clear of QR Codes and interactive labeling.

Five wineries shared with Vintner Magazine how they are (or aren’t) using QR codes in 2022.

Nini Edwards, Manager of Harkness Edwards Vineyards in Winchester, Kentucky

“We use QR codes for our guests to scan if they want a deeper knowledge of the wine, history of the vineyard and the family,” Edwards said. “People are a lot more comfortable with the QR codes, so we offer a variety if people want to dig a little further into the process. They have been very handy for informative videos more than anything!”

Rik Obiso, Owner of Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg, VIrginia

“At Whitebarrel, when we reopened from the restrictions from COVID, we developed an App, which included wine descriptions and ordering,” Obiso recalled. “The App was not successful because our guests did not want to download an entire app to place an order or view the menu. 

“However, QR codes were the winner for us. We have QR codes for our menus and for ordering tickets to events. We will always use QR codes in the future because it makes sense for us in our new business model.”

Christine Clair, Winery Director at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, Oregon

“We surveyed our customers, who tend to be Boomer and Gen X, who responded that they were not interested in QR code and digital menus,” Clair said.

Austin Hope, Owner of Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles, California

“We have returned to the original menus for a number of reasons,” said Hope, whose winery tried out the technology after reopening. “Many times people were wanting to disconnect during their time with us. Having to pick up their phones was not adding value to the experience of building a connection.

Hope said Hope Family Wines had really leaned in to the old pen-and-paper ways.

“Our guests love to take notes on the wines they are tasting,” he said. “We provide the ability to do so with a hard copy menu and wine list so they are able to order additional wines when they return home.”

Andrea Hartman, Marketing Director, Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Ohio

During the pandemic and the height of the pandemic Gervasi Vineyard transited all traditional menus to disposable and online through a QR code, Hartman said.

“We found guests requested the disposable menu 9 times out of 10 and preferred a physical menu versus the QR code,” Hartman said, “In return, that led to an abundance of waste because we were constantly printing and disposing of menus after each guest.

“In the fall of 2021, we returned to the traditional menus through all of our outlets. Guests do not have a problem with the traditional menus and our hosts sanitize each menu after use.” 

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