The editorial was written for the introduction of The Wine Hour #13 with Simon Pavitt.

Fine Wine and Technology. What should come first? Which is at the service of the other? I have to admit that I was struggling to write this introduction. Because technology and fine wine are such polarizing topics.

Regardless of its inevitability, technology raises questions. In its report, the London Technology Club and its COO Simon Pavitt aptly looked over the different steps of the value chain. How technology plays a role is different depending on its usage. It can help understand the terroir and the climate, produce the wine, trace it, sell it, distribute it, share information on it, and even invest in it. When they introduced stainless steel vats, I am sure some people were reluctant, as people would be reluctant to today’s technological advances and solutions.

Call me a romantic but fine wine is made to create an emotion. Actually, isn’t that part of the definition given by ARENI, the global think tank on fine wine? It’s about that link created with the terroir, and the work done in harmony with nature. I can see you smile. But the link we have with nature, the ultimate provider of all our resources, is crucial. And it’s something that should not be forgotten as more and more technology is used in this industry. Technology is a tool and not an end in itself.

And I would hope, with the pressing issues of climate change and inequalities, that technology will be used for the greater good, to make sure that our relationship with nature is one of collaboration and harmony, to make sure that those who work the land benefit from the technology deployment. Time and again, humans have concentrated power and access in a few hands, and prioritized profits, with the results we have witnessed. Time and again, humans have tried to dominate and reign over nature, trying to duplicate it, with the results that we have experienced.

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