Businesses graduate from Australia’s inaugural wine industry technology program

Just three weeks ago at the Wine Industry Impact Awards, SA Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone announced the seven companies who would go through the FOMENT Wine and Tourism Technology Accelerator.

Last night, each company pitched their developments at the FOMENT graduation event, which was attended by representatives from PIRSA, winemakers, winegrowers, leading tourism and technology experts.

The event saw each company present the challenges and solutions they realised during the program.

Deputy vice chancellor of Flinders University, Clare Pollock, spoke on the importance of partnerships between industry and higher education, along with keynote speeches delivered by Matthew Moate of WISA and Carla Dias Wadewitz of Flinders New Venture Institute (NVI).

The graduation ceremony was hosted by the partners behind FOMENT: Flinders University’s NVI, Hydra Consulting and Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA).

The program is the first of its kind in Australia and presented as ‘Australia’s Wine and Tourism Tech Revolution’.

The businesses were put through an intensive three week program, focused on industry connection, market validation, global scaling and prototyping using Industry 4.0 processes.

Dr Darren Oemcke, co-founder of Hydra Consulting, highlighted the importance of a program like FOMENT for Australia’s wine and tourism tech industries.

“FOMENT works with our great tourism businesses and our great wine businesses. We want these enabling technologies to be endemic to Australia so that we’re more efficient, we’re more successful and we’re more engaged with consumers than anywhere else in the world,” he said.

Following FOMENT’s six boot camp-style sessions over a three week period, the company’s time in the program culminated in a project pitch to the FOMENT advisory board, which was made up of:

  • Professor Roberta Crouch, Lecturer in Business Management in the College of Business, Governance and Laws at Flinders University
  • Annabel Mugford, Strategic Projects Advisor at Food South Australia
  • Ben Kerry, Branch Manager Morgans Financial Limited
  • Matthew Moate, CEO of WISA – Wine Industry Suppliers Australia Inc
  • Ron van Buuren, Co-founder of Hydra Consulting
  • Gemma West, Program Manager of Treasury Wine Estates
  • Paul Smith, Senior R&D at Wine Australia

During the advisory board session, the companies who travelled from Western Australia, the ACT, Victoria and New South Wales to participate, were given feedback on their progress during the program and final remarks to take on as they go on to action their learnings.

“FOMENT is about giving them (the participants) an opportunity to accelerate their business thinking and test disruptive ideas in a fast-paced intensive environment, with expert support and advice on hand,” Minister Whetstone said.

Christian York of ROVER Journey reflected on the timeliness of FOMENT for their Chinese influencer platform, which has helped facilitate the sales of thousands of Australian wines to China.

“It really sharpened our tools. So, when we went into a recent investor meeting, we had everything they would want to see and we really nailed what we believe was a great pitch,” he said

“Hopefully we’ll have some announcements in the coming weeks with good news.”

The companies that undertook the inaugural FOMENT program were:

ZionTech (SA/ACT): This ‘Grape to Glass’ platform uses blockchain to track the history of the grape through to its transformation into a bottle of wine.

ROVER Journey (SA): A Chinese micro-influencer marketplace, helping Australian businesses reach Chinese consumers by engaging local brand advocates.

Twenty Five Doors (NSW/VIC): This team partners with cellar doors for better wine tourism experiences using a digital map and marketplace to help them connect with qualified consumers.

Dionysus (NSW): A journaling app that helps wine festival goers purchases the bottles they tried, and loved, once they’re home.

Taglog (SA): An integrated platform with field devices for data logging, capturing the work process as it occurs, including a time and GPS stamp.

Consilium/GAIA (SA): A cloud-based, automated solution for vineyard identification and mapping at any scale.

Cellr (WA): Cellr is a connected packaging solution for anti-counterfeit and direct-to-consumer marketing in the wine, spirits and beverage industries.

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