Yanu, a new drink-mixing automaton friend from Estonia, won't try to drink your Champagne, unlike some other boozebots—instead, it'll serve you that glass of bubbly with
a smile little to no outward expression, just like Eastern European human bartenders!
After two years of R&D, Tallinn-based company Robolab unveiled video this week of a working prototype of the robot bartender, a disembodied cybernetic arm inside a kiosk that the company claims will make drink service quicker and easier at highly trafficked public hubs like airports, concerts, sports venues, bars and nightclubs. Yanu can whip up a drink in half a minute, work a full 24-hour shift without any refills needed and, using AI technology, even crack the occasional joke or suggest a cocktail to try, to distract patrons from the reality that they are still technically drinking alone.
“There are many factors that cut the profit of a bar owner and cause dissatisfaction of customers,” Robolab/Yanu CEO and founder Alan Adojaan told Unfiltered. “We are definitely not aiming to take away anybody's jobs; we are aiming to solve those problems in a very busy environment, creating the extra work force for very low cost and additional benefits.”
Starting this month, Robolab will launch a cryptocurrency ICO (hopefully you did not already spend all your wine-Bitcoins in one place!), and plans to unveil a full prototype of Yanu by the end of the year. Dressed in three kicky colors (black, white and red), Yanus will be marching on watering holes around the world by next July if all goes according to design. Each Yanu unit will cost around $150,000 but $0 of that will be frittered away on American Spirits, "statement" suspenders and buybacks for its unemployed friends.
So far, Robolab has partnerships with five airports in Europe and two beverage companies whose cocktails will be among the first of the robot’s specialties. Someone introduce Yanu to Alexa—the possibilities for trivia night are endless!
National White Wine Day is Aug. 4, and yet amid the celebrations, something feels missing—a feeling no emoji can convey. And that's because in the year 2018 the architects of our digital universe still have not developed the technology to chat or text the symbol of a tiny illustrated glass of Chardonnay to your friends. Now, a campaign has begun to establish a white wine emoji alongside its red and bubbly counterparts. But as with most emotionally charged situations where white wine and/or emojis are introduced, #drama quickly flared.
In May, California wine giant Kendall-Jackson submitted a 15-page proposal to the Unicode Consortium (aka the emoji nerd overlords) to bring a white wine emoji into development, citing facts, figures and even philosophy to explain why the world needs this.
"We live in an era where the rise of post-truth has left people demanding clear communication and the desire to represent their identity," the KJ proposal declares, in reference to a pixelated smartphone doodle of a fun beverage glass. "This all-important beverage with ancient beginnings should be properly illustrated in our modern, international language of emoji."
But! Kendall-Jackson wasn't the only winery with this bright idea: California's Fetzer and Flora Springs had also submitted proposals to Unicode with the same ask. Yet in a press release, KJ announced it will be "the sole presenter … for the bid to bring the white wine emoji into development."
"Kendall-Jackson approached Flora Springs about collaborating in May because Flora Springs already had a significant presence on social media with the #WhiteWineEmoji hashtag," Flora Springs representative Mora Cronin, who asserts that the smaller winery began its emoji campaign way back in December 2017, told Unfiltered. "However, it became apparent that Kendall-Jackson chose not to include Flora Springs in their early outreach to the media or in their plans to 'present' to the consortium."
"[Unicode] let us know that ours was the most in-depth proposal, basically, and that they would be moving forward with Kendall-Jackson, but that there should be a global movement," Maggie Curry, KJ's vice president of marketing, elaborated to Unfiltered. "That's why … we created an unbranded microsite that will have downloadable, shareable assets for the wine world at large."
The website, www.whitewineemoji.net, explains how wine lovers can get involved in the #WhiteWineEmoji movement whose proposal is now before the consortium. And the wineries seem to have put aside any sour grapes for the greater cause: Acknowledging the wide-ranging research and resources KJ can muster, Cronin told us, "Flora Springs would like to participate, and we will certainly continue to promote the WhiteWineEmoji [campaign] using the resources we have available to us." The winery is now listed online among the campaign's partners-in-arms. (And if you can't wait for the Unicode version, why not get your fill with a Wine Spectator white wine sticker instead!)
As Kendall-Jackson's Curry puts it: "The wine industry gets a bad rap sometimes for being snooty and serious, and I think this is kind of a fun angle to have a collective smile for the wine world at large." That's something everyone can get behind … right?
Blue wine is back in the limelight this week! The tinted beverage last appeared in this space when the Spanish government decreed the blue "wine" Gïk be banished to the "other alcoholic beverages" category last year because it did not comply with government specifications on the authorized colors of wine.
Eventually, that blue wine made its way to the land of the free. But the latest development is perhaps more surprising: The French, so recently burned by their own government for trying to disguise Spanish pink wine as French rosé, have now moved to peddling their southern neighbor's teal tipples as their own.
Vindigo is a new blue wine label being released in the French city of Sète. The base wine is Chardonnay made in Andalusia (that's Spain), and in a recent interview, distributor René La Bail, the man behind Vindigo, told news outlet France Bleu ("all the blue that's fit to print") that the wine’s color is derived from a pigment found in (red) grape skins, anthocyanin, making his product a true (blue) wine.
On French Twitter, a rich tapestry of opinions has spun up around Vindingo: One user noted that France would now have "blue, white and red" wine to complement the national Tricolore, while another, in drawing a disdainful comparison, taught us how to say "mouthwash" in French ("bain de bouche").
As wineries thirst over wines white and bleu, red wine will not be spurned: Rouge has found its own spokesvoice this week in none other than America's first Idol and still one of the best who ever did it, Kelly Clarkson. The "Since U Been Gone" singer took to Twitter recently to sound the hashtag-alarm #CodeRedWine, after fellow musician Maren Morris tweeted: "Guys, I hate to tell you this, but red wine is gross. #UnrefinedPalate."
Rather than hitting Morris with a sophisticated zinger like other red-(wine-)blooded enophiles (cough, Unfiltered) might have been tempted to ("ur gross"), Clarkson took the high road and offered to take the younger entertainer under her wine-loving wing.
"I mean, maybe you haven’t had the right glass of Pinot Noir is all I’m saying," Clarkson @-ed Morris. "This calls for a winery tour! Seriously, we have to fix this."
Morris, for her part, is down to give reds another try, responding to Clarkson: "I’m open to a change of heart. Let’s go!"
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