From idea to proof of concept – and how technology can enhance the taste of wine
Avnet Silica worked closely with innovative French start-up company Aveine, helping them to develop the world’s first digitally connected wine aerator that enables consumers to get the most out of their wine tasting experience
Aveine is a new and highly innovative company from France that was born out of an encounter between three entrepreneurs: Nicolas Naigeon, an engineer and the grandson of a winegrower; Matthieu Robert, a product designer; and Miranda Delmotte, an expert in business development. All three share a passion for both wine and technology – which is perhaps not a synergy that is immediately obvious to most people for the development of an exciting new product! But it was naturally over a bottle of wine when the trio came up with an idea for a device that would reinvent wine tasting.
The Aveine Smart Wine Aerator
The wine technology market is nascent, but it is one that is expected to grow fast in the coming years. Aveine has tapped into France's heritage as a major wine-producing country and combined it with its knowhow of the latest advanced technologies, including connected objects and services to come up with its first product – the Aveine Smart Wine Aerator.
Crafted as a lifestyle brand, the product has been calibrated to suit any particular bottle of wine. It precisely calculates the ideal aeration for any wine, which allows its consumption immediately following the opening of the bottle, giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy wine at its best. The Smart Wine Aerator can decant wine in just three simple steps: placing the aerator on the open bottle, scanning the label of the bottle with a smartphone, and pouring the wine.
The device employs Aveine’s patented technology to recreate the aeration process – which ordinarily could be several hours to taste the wine at its very best. The Smart Wine Aerator achieves this in a highly controlled way by mixing air into the wine as it flows from the bottle, exposing it to more oxygen and thereby releasing the wine’s flavours and aromas. Very importantly, no chemicals are involved in the process, which means the wine's intrinsic qualities remain unaltered. In addition, the device has the further benefit that it can be used with all types of wine bottles.
An important element of the solution is the development of a free, feature-rich smartphone app, which has been designed to work with the aerator. The app identifies a selected wine from a database via a simple scan of the label, and then connects via Bluetooth to the Aerator to calibrate it to that particular wine’s ideal level of aeration. However, the level of aeration can also be set manually via a touch interface on the aerator, enabling consumers to have fun trying out different levels of aeration and exploring new tastes. In addition, the aerator integrates a temperature sensor enabling the consumer to know the optimum temperature for a perfect tasting experience.
Free, easy to use, interactive and educational, the smartphone app also offers wine tasting tips from sommeliers, oenologists, winegrowers and other members of the Aveine community. In addition, the app provides recommendations on suitable food to accompany a selected wine and further advice on wines based upon an individual’s taste. The app takes advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) via an embedded algorithm, which provides recommendations on wines that a consumer may enjoy, based on their previous selections.
The Aveine Smart Wine Aerator is now in full production with a key target audience of restaurants, hotels and catering companies. Wine selection professionals have been quick to understand the benefits of the technology – it enables them to offer a wider range of wines, many of which previously needed more preparation time, but can now be served instantly.
In short, the Smart Wine Aerator is easy to use, it saves time, it is educational, and with three simple steps, consumers can get the best from their wine. The company and its product have already received very positive coverage in media across the world, and it has also been the recipient of many awards, including the 2016 edition of ‘Connecting The World’, which was organised by Avnet Silica.
Avnet Silica worked closely with Aveine in the development of the product, advising on component selection and helping them through the process. Key electronic components used in the aerator and supplied by Avnet Silica include:
- a fully integrated thermocouple temperature sensor (Microchip’s MCP9600);
- power management devices, including voltage regulator (Microchip’s MIC2288) and low-dropout linear regulator (Diodes' AP7115);
- a flexible and efficient Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth mesh multiprotocol SoC (System-on-Chip) for control and connectivity (Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832);
- and a MOSFET to drive the device’s piezo pump (ON Semiconductor’s NTK3139PT1G).
- an ultra-compact sensor for relative humidity and temperature, which includes a sensing element and a mixed signal ASIC to provide the measurement information through digital serial interfaces (STMicroelectronics’ HTS221);
- an ultra-low-power three-axis MEMS accelerometer (STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DH12TR);
According to Nicolas Naigeon, CEO, at Aveine: “Avnet Silica has a vast repository of technical knowhow and engineering resources to help start-ups like us realise our ambitions. In the development of our Smart Wine Aerator, they have clearly demonstrated their proven ability in this area by working with us across the entire product development cycle from the initial idea, through the design phase, to the realisation of a proof-of-concept end-device.”