Robot Sommelier

12385770266?profile=RESIZE_400xMaria Reznikova and her associates at Maria Concetto Winery are into gadgets.  Their Calistoga tasting room features “levitating” wine bottle holders, spinning top-like decanters, small drones, a 3D wine bottle hologram sign, a karaoke machine and a replica of a 1922 Model T Ford parked out front.  But the most notable is RobinoVino, their wine serving robot sommelier.  Working with an engineering friend, Reznikova commissioned RobinoVino, described as “the world’s first” such robot sommelier. Made in China, the robot cost an estimated $50,000, she explained.[1]  “People love my wine but that’s not enough,” said this boutique winery president and founder. “We hope that this would help us stand out because we want to be different,” she said. “We want to have additional attractions, additional entertainment for the customer."

The robot operates from a tablet computer.  The user inputs the number of wine tasters (up to four), the amount of wine in each bottle, which of four wines to serve and the size of the pour.  Using its “arms,” the RobinoVino then (carefully) picks up the empty wine glasses (by the bowl, not the stem), places them precisely in front of each guest, picks up the wine bottle and pours from it.  When finished, the robot collects the used glass, dumps any excess in a designated area, and places the used glass to the side.  The “show” includes flashing lights, robotic “dancing” and passing a “tips” glass.  Add music and a karaoke machine and the tasting room becomes a fun, party-like atmosphere, she said.

Reznikova and her team call RobinoVino a robot sommelier but this machine is not replacing human sommeliers it is only doing manual labor.  But, is the robot as snotty and condescending as a human sommelier?  Maybe this will be offered in future upgrades.

The staff of “experienced wine educators” is on hand to describe the wines, offer comments and suggestions and answer questions.  Using a robot is a way of being part of the future, she said.  These days, everyone is talking about innovation such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT, she noted. “It's exciting to be a small part of it.”


In a traditional industry such as the wine business, where change can come slowly, her goal is to bring “something fresh to people, that's different, that excites them.”   Reznikova, who is originally from Moscow, originally worked for the US State Department and as a business consultant.  Wanting to leave a communist country for more freedom and opportunity, she moved to the US in 1991.  After retiring, in 2020 she started Maria Concetto Winery.  Reznikova said she chose the word concetto, meaning “concept” in Italian, as the anchor of the Maria Concetto Winery name.  It is meant as an homage to the “inventive spirit and land where wine is king,” she said.

Today, the business makes a variety of red, white and sparkling wines, in addition to a dessert wine and rose.  The tasting room also sells wine glasses, decanters, stoppers, bottle holders, art glass and other gift items.  Reznikova said she wanted the Maria Concetto Winery tasting room to stand out from other tasting rooms. Instead of the ubiquitous “rustic winery” vibe, she chose royal blue velvet chairs, couches and pillows, white marble tabletops and gold paint and accents.  A blue velvet rope partly surrounds the RobinoVino.

This article is presented at no charge for educational and informational purposes only.

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