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Tesco's virtual sommelier answers questions

Chablis or not Chablis? Tesco's virtual sommelier answers the food and wine matching questions

UK retail giant Tesco has launched a Virtual Wine Advisor (VWA) for troubled consumers who lack basic wine knowledge; giving them the chance to get expert wine advice when they’re choosing wine in-store. James Graham reports

The Virtual Wine Advisor acts like an electronic sommelier, offering customers free, expert advice on which bottle of wine to buy. Located in the wine aisle, the touch screen application gives customers expert recommendations on which wine to choose to go with the meal they are planning – which the company described as “taking the mystery out of wine and food matching.”

Customers will also be able to search for wine by country, colour, style and price, and can get access to further information on a bottle of wine simply by scanning the bottle’s bar code. Customers can also print off any relevant information on their chosen wine.

The Virtual Wine Advisor is being trialled in six stores across the UK, and if it proves popular with customers, it will be rolled out to 150 Tesco stores later this year.

Andrew Gale, Tesco BWS category technical manager, says: “We know our customers are really interested in exploring new types of wine, but they want to make sure they’re getting a wine that will suit them, at the right price.  The advisor is an exciting new piece of technology that takes the guesswork out of choosing wine and will give customers the confidence to try out wines they wouldn’t normally choose.”

The Virtual Wine Advisor is being trialled in the following Tesco stores:  Sidcup, Cheshunt, Sandhurst, Amersham, Horwich, and Warrington.

1 May 2009 - Felicity Murray