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AVIN — the ISBN for wine

Submitted by John on January 13, 2010 – 10:274,796 views
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AVIN — the ISBN for wine

A book doesn’t really exist commercially without an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This universal identifier and bar-code generator tells the book world and the relevant supply chain the identity and country of the publisher, the price of the book, and is the source identifier for the ordering the book through its distribution channel. It is such a vital element that it is now hard to imagine that it didn’t exist until the early 1970s. And to think it was boring old “Smith’s” who first put the concept forward and led to its becoming the universal feature it is today, one which almost every publisher in the world uses without a thought.

Anyone who has tried to track down a particular wine knows how difficult and frustrating it can be to find it, and to give the possible sellers the exact information they need. Bar-codes by-and-large only function at store check-outs to provide the price.

The new generation of smarter codes is fast establishing itself in the form of the QR (for Quick Response) or Bi-dimensional Code. There can be few products where this is as needed as wine, where there is such an enormous quantity and diversity of production, and where there is a new and different load sent out by every producer every year to join what is already out there.

One of our favourite wine websites, Adegga, is pushing the concept, along with other forward thinkers, of Dynamic Wine Labels incorporating a QR. They call this universal identifier the AVIN, and add it to every wine that is logged on their website. The idea is that soon, when you come across a wine with a label that has a QR, you can take a snapshot of this with your mobile phone to access a whole load of additional information about the wine.

There are similar developments going on in the book sector also. In Spain, Grupo Biblo publish among other things city guidebooks with a QR graphic on the back, that they call a Bidi (for “bidimensional”) code. Naturally they call this service bidimobile. When you snapshot this you get additional and updated info on the city. So, the technology is there (as always it is far more developed in Japan, apparently).

I suspect that in years to come we will wonder how we ever managed without the wine AVIN. I’m also confident that it will be a lot more fun to access the products and information offered by Adegga than to go into a branch of WHSmith in search of an interesting book.

We have already included the AVIN numbers to our wines and from now on we will also add the QR Codes to the wine profiles on the Vino Valencia website.