On our seventh episode of 365WineTrade Tech Talks, we were excited to welcome Ashley DuBois Leonard, founder and CEO of InnoVint—a purpose-built software that helps winemakers manage their daily production operations to increase quality, efficiency, and profitability. Ashley has a unique background doing grunt work in wineries followed by experience in IT. Before we get to her enlightening interview, my co-host Jackie O’Brien shared some intriguing developments from the wine industry.
Jackie shared news that might not be surprising to anyone following environmental or sustainable trends: the wine industry is starting to embrace flattened bottles as a method of using material that is better for the environment and storage purposes. While older and more high-end wine buyers are pushing back on this trend, it’s clear that younger generations of wine drinkers are choosing brands that offer more sustainable packaging—as is evident with the rise of aluminum cans of wine.
We also discussed the recent developments with the direct-to-consumer trend in the beverage industry and how local legislation is making this market a bit complicated. Give the podcast a listen to hear more!
Wine + Tech = InnoVint
Our guest Ashley DuBois Leonard shared that she started in the wine industry at the age of 19 and studied viticulture and enology at UC Davis. Her first jobs were “at the bottom of the ladder”—manual labor such as lugging hoses and working a forklift. Fast forward a decade later to see her growing two wine businesses, but in her mid-20s, she left wine to work for an IT consulting firm. There, she got incredible exposure to emerging technology trends that left her curious about bringing tech to the wine industry that enables vineyard workers to access work wherever they are.
“Wine-making is inherently distributed,” said Ashley. “You’re in the vineyard. You’re deep in a cellar. You’re in the lab. Maybe you’re in the market selling your products. Having access to production information from wherever felt invaluable to me.” Ashley started InnoVint and partnered with a stellar software team to bring cutting edge tech to the wine world about 10 years ago.
Naturally, the wine industry saw no need for InnoVint at that time—something that has now become their “lifesaver,” according to Ashley. Particularly during the pandemic and other disasters such as fires, it has become essential for winemakers to have a single source of truth for everything from tracking the growing season to processing fruit, managing fermentations, and bottling products. These daily activities happen in InnoVint, and the solution can integrate into other business platforms like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and accounting, sales, or distribution solutions as well.
It Goes Down Easy
The wine industry wants to make wine, not tinker around with software. That’s where InnoVint’s easy-to-use, intuitive interface is specifically designed for winemakers. Ashley knew the software had to be well-integrated with their other processes and nuanced enough to help them capture their whole operation into a single solution. Listen to the podcast to hear more about the birth of InnoVint, how winemakers are using it to achieve stronger profitability, and where Ashley sees the wine industry going.
As always, I’d love to get your feedback on the podcast and any topics you’d like to hear us discuss in upcoming episodes. Contact us to share your thoughts, and keep tuning in for the latest in wine technology and trends. You can listen to all our podcasts here or on your favorite podcast platform.
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