Why write yourself when you can now have it written for you? This seems to be the impression conveyed by the ever-present artificial intelligence ChatGPT. Many are already using this tool to compose tediously long standard texts, such as event invitations, circular emails, and much more. But what about an editorial in a wine trade magazine? It's high time for a test. I must confess, the idea isn't originally mine. The editor-in-chief of the German media magazine 'kress' recently initiated this experiment, sharing the outcome with his readers – a lengthy chat transcript where the author also provided feedback to ChatGPT and pointed out errors in the proposed text, which ChatGPT then attempted to correct.
But how does ChatGPT fare in terms of wine knowledge? I entered: "Please write an editorial for a wine trade magazine." The result is surprisingly readable and meaningful: the AI reports on what contributes to the quality of a wine, the current trends, and even knows terms like natural wine and Piwi varieties, aiming to explain these trends to the readers of the fictional wine magazine. So far, so accurate, but also very generic – as a specialized trade publication with a market perspective, we aim to delve deeper into the subject matter.
Next attempt, this time more specific: "Please write an editorial for a wine business magazine in light of current economic challenges and developments in the German wine market." Again, ChatGPT delivers a clean result, identifying two mega-trends of our time, sustainability and digitalization, as presenting both challenges and opportunities for the wine industry – but remains rather vague in the end. "It's important for winemakers and wine companies to adapt to these changes and develop new strategies to remain successful in the future," the tool concludes – but lacks concrete advice on "how." I probe further – and am again met with rather superficial answers. Investments in sustainability and online shops or "targeted marketing strategies" – these are measures that currently apply to virtually every company.
"Real insights, market knowledge, concrete ideas and starting points - only a human being can provide these at the moment.”
Incidentally, ChatGPT lists the use of artificial intelligence as one of five points that forward-looking wine companies should consider, as this "offers the wine industry many opportunities to optimise processes and increase efficiency". However, this doesn't apply to writing editorials. Real insights, market knowledge, concrete ideas and starting points - only a human being can provide these at the moment. Here, the AI only scratches the surface.
Nevertheless, ChatGPT is right about one thing: many processes can be made more efficient with the help of AI. Especially in commerce, where human beings used to have to produce texts non-stop for wine descriptions and winemaker profiles, a tool like this takes a lot of the hard work out of the process. Detailed analyses in production, logistics, and marketing can also be efficiently managed through automated processes that learn and continuously improve, offering valuable support in the strategic positioning of any wine company.
AI has much to offer and can relieve much of the burden in the wine industry. Every player would be wise to explore the diverse applications of this technology. However, despite all openness to technology, it must also be clear where the (current) limits of such tools lie, which must be defined individually for each industry.
This text was published in May 2023 in our sister publication WEINWRITSCHAFT.