back to article Corking story: Idiotic smart wine bottle idea falls over, passes out

The spit bucket of idiotic tech ideas has just grown a little lighter with the death of "smart wine" company Kuvee. Kuvee was selling an Internet of Things wine bottle, basically a bottle-shaped sleeve with a touchscreen on the front. Owners would buy special cartridges of wine that slide into the bottle, which then displays …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    These clowns were still in business?

    Who knew ... I laughed their sales droid out of my office a couple years ago, and kinda figured they dried up and blew away in the breeze.

    Or, as my friend (a blender for a largish winery just off Sonoma's Plaza) put it "I think these guys must be smoking instead of drinking" ...

    They seem to have one claim to fame, anyway. They are the only wine-related business in all of Sonoma, Napa, Lake or Mendocino counties that claims the fire caused their business to fail. The rest of us are doing just fine. Come visit, spring is here!

    Side note: If you really do just want a sip or a glass out of that expensive bottle, you'd do well to look into the Coravin system ... Most of us use one or another of their products. coravin.com

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: These clowns were still in business?

      I understand the commercial need for systems like Coravin (they're a net gain for high-end restaurants and bars as they allow expensive bottles to be sold out by the glass at higher margin), but in a home setting I'd never open a bottle expensive enough to deserve that kind of preservation without there being enough people around to finish it.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: These clowns were still in business?

        I'd never open a bottle expensive enough to deserve that kind of preservation without there being enough people

        In my book enough == me.

        Yes, my wife might have some wine too but, since she falls asleep after just sniffing the wine cork, the majority is left for me.

        Which is just how I like it.

    2. Jan 0
      Facepalm

      Re: These clowns were still in business?

      £350 for a Coravin!!? That would buy a Vacu Vin, a lot of stoppers and still have change to buy some nice wine.

      Still, fools and their money....

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: These clowns were still in business?

        The Coravin paid for itself the first time I used it. I allowed half a dozen prospective buyers to sample a bottle of 1977 Stag's Leap CabSauv over the space of about a year. Three of them got into a bidding war over the remaining 4 cases, which sold for almost four times what the supposed market value was.

        To celebrate the sale, we compared the remaining wine in the sample bottle with one of the the six bottles that I retained. Six wine experts in the room couldn't tell the difference. At that point, the tapped bottle had been sitting about half empty in my cellar for nearly 18 months. The Coravin argon did what it was supposed to do. Your Vacu Vin would have turned the sample bottle into vinegar before the third person had a chance to try it.

        Note that this isn't built for cheap $30 supermarket plonk. It's a professional tool, built for professionals. I may be a fool, but I don't waste money on the wrong tool for the job.

      2. BarryUK

        Re: These clowns were still in business?

        A Vacu Vin works for a few days (actually they never work very well with Pinot Noir), but a Coravin lets you drink a bottle over months if you want.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: These clowns were still in business?

          A Vacu Vin works for a few days

          Wine bottles that don't get emptied on the day of opening? Is that some variant of unicorn?

          (OK - so Port bottles don't get emptied on the same day[1] but they are a special case)

          [1] Unless nephew is staying with us..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: These clowns were still in business?

            If we get onto the second or 3rd bottle there might be some left over for the next day

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: These clowns were still in business?

      Kuvee fits the same pattern as the Soylent: nerds extrapolating from their own slightly odd needs. Not really much different to people who peddle crystals for healing, etc. for which there seems to be a market. But only in the Valley will you find a VC willing to throw money at something so "magical and revolutionary".

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Pint

    "That's right, the corked company didn't even have the sense to use the code LASTORDERS."

    Maybe one LASTORDER was all they had stock for.

    Icon - closest available option.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Pint

      A good option though....

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Shoulda' had the promo code be LASTCALL. But, I guess the people in this company aren't the type to hang out at bars.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh?

    Come on, guys -- there are still a few days until April 1st!

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Huh?

      Yeah. This was the giveaway:

      subscribe to receive a batch of four cartridges a month

      That's the first weekend of each month dealt with. What about the rest of the month?

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Facepalm

    For any wine maker needing to replace their Kuvee system

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+create+QR+codes

  5. Natalie Gritpants

    If you want to only drink one glass at a time

    Buy a box. One will last me a whole week without going off.

    1. pavsmith

      Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

      You mean like a box with a dozen bottles in it? Yeah, that's about a week's worth...

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

        A former colleague once announced that he and the wife could get through (normally) a couple boxes of wine during the working week. He couldn't understand our concern about how much they were packing away just between Monday and Friday.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

          Wine in a bag or wine in a box works quite well, just remember that GIGO applies.

          The bag+valve is food-grade, and allows no oxygen or light to spoil the contents. The box makes for an easy to store/pack container that fits nicely on a shipping pallet, on the shelf or in the fridge. Unlike glass, they don;t break easily. They are cheaper than the equivalent number of bottles, and the savings is passed along to the consumer. These wines are pre-aged at the winery, so don't try to cellar them. All in all, it's actually a good idea ... for still wine. As long as the plonk in question is drinkable in the first place, of course. Caveat emptor.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

            he bag+valve is food-grade, and allows no oxygen or light to spoil the contents. The box makes for an easy to store/pack container that fits nicely on a shipping pallet, on the shelf or in the fridge. Unlike glass, they don;t break easily.

            Back in the 80-90's my mother and sis used to take the bag out of the box and take it to concerts like Springsteen etc at big open air stadia, as glass bottles were not allowed

    2. Lt.Kije

      Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

      Yup. Too obvious. Keeps all that nasty O2 out, and is wicked cheap if you dig a little - which is half the fun.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: If you want to only drink one glass at a time

      A wine box? Sainsbury’s do a rather good house rosé - generally lasts the family one evening.

  6. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Pint

    They probably say LASTORDER in the same way as they say MATH when they mean MATHS.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Either that, or they only expected a single customer to be stupid enough to throw good money after bad.

  7. Keef

    Paragraph 2, Line i

    Internet of Things

    I'm out.

    How the hell did they get any funding.

    What a wonderful world we live in. FFS.

    1. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Paragraph 2, Line i

      "How the hell did they get any funding"

      I imagine it went something ike this.......

      "Hic. Hey ths is GREAT!"

      "Not bad eh? Fancy another "cartridge"?"

      "What, ANOTHER one? Oh go on, why not?"

      I thought my personal collection of experiences of encounters with idiots during the dotcom boom and bust was pretty untoppable for many years, but this was just the most entertaining one I've ever read by quite some distance. As a wine lover myself, any really decent bottle should be decanted into a glass jug and left for an hour before enjoying at leisure over the course of an evening.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "any really decent bottle should be decanted into a glass jug and left for an hour"

        Well, that actually depends on the wine - some after an hour left warming could become quite ugly...

  8. Dwarf Silver badge

    Cartridges

    I buy my wine and beer in cartridges. In the layman's vernacular, we call these "bottles"

    They even have small scrolls of dead tree stuck to the front with strange hieroglyphs that describe the contents. Best of all, they work in power cuts and need nothing more than an opener and piece of blown glass to allow you to consume them.

    Seriously - why add technology to something that doesn't benefit from it in any way. Idiots !

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Cartridges

      Cartridges....hmmmm.

      Yes. At home blended wine. Like an inkjet printer. Little cartridges of various wines. Some PC software to effectively 3D Print out a glass of custom blended wine, based on your mood. Yes, this could work. We'd sell little $35 cartridges of wine, about 50mL each. The software would be $80 a month, SaaS.

      Excuse me. I've got to Indiegogo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cartridges

      Best of all, they work in power cuts and need nothing more than an opener and piece of blown glass to allow you to consume them.

      I find screw tops far more reliable than crappy old corks that need an opener, and too often spoil the contents. And then, what's wrong with a straw?

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Cartridges

        Well corks are a problem (althoutghI have sympathy with an argument about the change in the local ecosystem - and I± have very infrequently had a 'corked' wine - with lots of practice :-)

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Cartridges

        Straws are killing the environment.

        Just wipe the rim of the bottle, and pass it around, there's a good chap.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Cartridges

          Just wipe the rim of the bottle, and pass it around, there's a good chap.

          Or you could, like, have some re-usable glass or ceramic containers to drink the wine from. With the right ones[1], they are even re-usable after washing!

          I really ought to research and market this brand-new idea. First I need a good name for the container..

          [1] Obviously not the Greek ones. I understand that those are single-use only.. Or is that plates?

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The company however is the epitome of a failed tech startup: its concept and business model only making sense to a buzzed techie with more disposable income than sense

    Ah.... the IoT business model then which seems to be pretty common lately.

  10. Leedos

    19 Crimes wine - Clever AR application

    I got to experience this in person. I was impressed from both a technical and a marketing point of view. No need screw up the wine bottle. Just build an app to recognize the label.

    Forbes Article link

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 19 Crimes wine - Clever AR application

      "Just build an app to recognize the label."

      Or read the barcode.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Or read the barcode"

        Try it, on a bottle from 1949...

  11. EveryTime Silver badge

    Some people build a business trying to eliminate the middle man, usually by becoming the middle man.

    Other people try to figure out how they can bluntly insert themselves in the money flow between consumer and producer, with only the weakest facade of adding value.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Other people try to figure out how they can bluntly insert themselves in the money flow between consumer and producer"

      Which is exactly what "entrepreneur" means but we're supposed to think it is good.

  12. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "How the hell did they get any funding"

    Because there are always stupid sheep waiting to be fleeced.

    PT Barnum made a living off that. He'd have LOVED the internet. Ye gods.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "How the hell did they get any funding"

      "PT Barnum made a living off that. He'd have LOVED the internet. Ye gods."

      Too much competition?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: "How the hell did they get any funding"

        "PT Barnum made a living off that. He'd have LOVED the internet. Ye gods."

        Too much competition?

        Nah - that would get outweighed by the increased supply of suckers.

  13. Tromos

    My solution

    As someone who occasionally would like just one or two glasses of wine, I maintain a reasonable stock of half (350ml) and quarter (175ml) bottles of various wines. Purchasing in bulk (I usually order 60 bottles at a time), the discount eliminates the price premium that the smaller bottles would otherwise carry. Also works nicely when making up a packed lunch as a small bottle adds little weight but provides a civilized touch to the meal.

    Cheers.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: My solution

      I think it would be frowned upon, even in California, to include a bottle of wine in your kid's packed lunch.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: My solution

        Maybe Tromos is French,

        !

  14. TheProf
    Windows

    Pump It Up

    Vacuvin Wine Saver. Less than a tenner at Amazon at the time of writing.

    Or why not ask a friend or even a total stranger to help you finish the bottle? It's a great way to meet new people.

  15. Mike 125

    > spend money upfront on a device that can only be used with its cartridges

    I hate anything with cartridges - Epson printers, 16+ bladed shavers, guns, those appalling little coffee things, now wine. The list goes on.

    As for why Kuvee failed, that's obvious: it didn't have Bluetooth.

    1. KBeee
      Joke

      Re: > spend money upfront on a device that can only be used with its cartridges

      If they'd called themselves "Kuvee Blockchain" they'd have been onto a winner.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    I'm thinking "RFID tag on the bottles of wineries they partner with." Then I'm thinking

    WTF am I bothering with it?

    There's a reason why wine still comes in glass bottles after more than 2000 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "wine still comes in glass bottles after more than 2000 years."

      Just, for a long part of those 2000 years, it came in ceramic amphoras, and then wood barrels. The use of glass bottles is more recent.

      Just, metallic cartridges is not exactly the best way to keep wine. I don't even like beer in aluminum cans, only glass bottles.

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