Alexa, Play Oregon Wine Quiz

Smart speaker technology inspires Travel Oregon marketing project

By Tamara Belgard

Alexa, what do you know about Oregon wine?” You might be surprised to know Alexa actually knows quite a bit about our state’s fermented grape beverage, and, now, she’s ready to quiz you.

Home to more than 760 wineries and 19 distinct growing areas, Oregon is one of the largest wine grape-producing states in the nation, with new areas still emerging. And though already well known for varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, the state’s up-and-coming varietal is Tempranillo, according to Alexa.

Currently, 17% of American households own a smart speaker, and by 2022, this number is anticipated to increase to 66%. Travel Oregon, the first tourism agency in the country to experiment with distributing content through voice search, saw an opportunity to tap into the trend. Linea Gagliano of Travel Oregon says, “The initial idea was from Sparkloft Media.”

Sparkloft approached Travel Oregon with the concept highlighting one of Oregon’s most valued and appreciated resources: wine. Since the kitchen area is the main part of the home where voice apps are used, it was a natural fit to help Travel Oregon support the state’s wine industry.

Not only can Alexa teach the wine-curious how to pronounce words like terroir and viticulture, she can explain what they mean, too, and even challenge wine enthusiasts. While development of the app was a relatively quick process, creating the content and testing took most of the time, about six months. Gagliano says, “The challenge in creating this content was that it was not only a technical challenge but also a ‘story’ challenge. How do we create a quiz and related stories that would be appealing to casual wine drinkers while also appealing to those who had refined tastes (and knowledge)? We wanted to educate relatively new folks about Oregon’s wine country regions along with imparting some real knowledge to those who already know us well.”

Ultimately, Travel Oregon felt it important to make sure the content they’re creating really adds value to the end-user; for this project it was essential that the quiz, podcasts and stories were thoroughly researched, fact-checked and vetted by third parties. Gagliano says, “We were fortunate to work with experts on the ground.” The Oregon Wine Board and Travel Southern Oregon were tapped for general information, and wineries and businesses, such as Troon Vineyards, Tuality Healthcare, Brooks Winery, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Abacela, were sourced for podcast content and quotes.

In the Oregon wine quiz, Alexa actually asks the questions — not answers them. She starts by asking listeners if they choose wine based on the bottle or vintage. Once a listener answers that question, they’re asked an additional seven queries before a relevant podcast is recommended. Gagliano says, “Knowing that this could make an impact in inspiring people to visit somewhat ‘undiscovered’ yet incredible wine regions in the southern part of the state was the best part about creating the wine quiz.”

Alexa also asks users about general and more connoisseur-focused questions involving Oregon winemaking. Depending on the answers, participants unlock one of four podcasts, featuring interviews and storytelling from some of Oregon’s most prominent wine industry professionals. The topics covered include: community winemaking, Oregon Tempranillo, the Applegate Valley Wine Trail and sustainable winemaking.

Ready to take the test? Turn on your Alexa and simply say: “Alexa, play Oregon Wine Quiz.”

Good luck!

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