The ancient world of wine doesn’t seem ripe for technological revolution. But that’s exactly what Brian Smith set out to do when he co–founded Winc, an online wine club in Los Angeles, in 2012.
Though the U.S. wine market continues to grow steadily—$38 billion in 2015 sales—many producers still have a hard time reaching consumers daunted by the discovery process. The solution was once a good shop owner or sommelier. But what if an algorithm could make recommendations based on a person’s preferences?
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Winc asks customers to fill out a brief online survey about their affinity to certain flavors (Coffee: Black or with cream and sugar? Salt: A little or a lot?) and recommends bottles accordingly.
The data allow winemakers to take more risks. The surprise popularity of 2014 The Bluffer Valdiguié, for example, demonstrated that people were willing to try wine from an unknown varietal.
“Thanks to technology,” Smith says, “we can use data to develop our own wines.” And, of course, winners.
This article is part of the Future of Work article from Fortune’s July 1, 2016 issue. Click here to see the entire package.