In November of 2011 we launched our QR Code shelftalker and database project. For those of you not familiar with it, here is the skinny: we wanted to be the first wholesaler and importer in the country to give consumers access to our database of tasting notes, photos, and videos from wineries around the world with ease and expediency.

With the advent of smart phones, we dedicated (a huge amount of) resources to building a solid system that would deliver current information on a huge number of our wines, catered specifically to the purchase history of an account. It works like this: as we taste wines (including every new vintage of every wine that comes in — over 2000 per year) we take detailed notes that are then added to a database. When somebody scans our QR Codes, the mobile site grabs the information in that database, along with producer info, labels, videos, and more, and instantly presents it on their phone. On top of that, they can then browse our other selections in that store based on that store’s purchase history (updated daily). The best part is we can always refresh the information as new vintages or reviews come in.

In other words, we are over-delivering on information that the consumers are already asking for.  Tasting notes, winery history, food pairings, and more can now be found with a quick scan of a code. Pretty cool stuff.

Most retailers have embraced the technology (which, in the end, is simply a modern version of the classic ‘shelftalker’), and many of those retailers are reporting higher sales on the specific items with our QR Codes. Of course there was a minority of retailers that claimed things like “This QR thing isn’t going to be popular.” Here are some of our favorite examples of good use of QR Codes we’ve found in the last couple of weeks:

The Crabtree Brewing Company of Greely Colorado has jumped headfirst into the QR world, using it as their label for the “Digital Age Series”. This one is the Berliner Weisse Ale.

Ramsey County, Minnesota, is using QR Codes to direct residents to the details of the current redistricting proposals.

In a perfect example of QR Code usage, we happened upon this tourist site in Italy, where if you scan the code you can choose your language and learn about the historic baths of Bagno Vignoni, in Tuscany.

And some of our recent uses of QR Codes at The Wine Company:

We are using a QR Code prominently on the front cover of our new catalog. Go ahead and scan it and see where it takes you.

And our QR Code trucks got a great review from local social media expert William Wells III.


The success of the QR Code program has been based on clear and timely information on wines being presently quickly to the consumer. We are continuously expanding this program, so please keep an eye out for our QR Shelftalkers and let us know what you think.


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