Wines, Vines & Tech: WITS 2017 Afterglow


If you were among the 250+ attendees at this month’s Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), you might have toasted to the conference’s successful showcase of the latest technology solutions for wineries – big and small. And since this popular one-day annual event was hosted at the Lodge at Sonoma in the heart of wine country, it saw a lot of wine professionals across the business landscape: from owners and executives, to financial and information technology (IT) decision-makers, to marketing and sales executives.

The WITS Platinum Sponsor was Retail Realm, who alongside industry leaders Shift4, AURES, and Blue Horseshoe, presented all-in-one retail solutions ideal for single-store wineries to large winery chains.

Smaller wine businesses currently using the already end-of-life Microsoft Dynamics RMS learned they now have a migration path as an upgrade to a next-gen retail point-of-sale (POS) solution, called Retail Management Hero (RMH).

Large wineries with many multi-store locations were introduced to Microsoft Dynamics 365 with a fully integrated payment processing and hardware solution.  

In addition to the general opening session presented by Eric Jorgensen, Publisher of Wine Business Monthly, the conference agenda provided three session tracks focused on Data, IT, and Direct to Consumer (DTC). Meanwhile, attendees browsed the booths of more than a dozen technology providers that catered to the wine industry. Concluding the day were roundtable discussions, which included live product demos.

Aaron Stoddard from Blue Horseshoe, known as experts in solutions for the wine industry, presented Microsoft Dynamics 365 all-in-one retail solution. Click to watch video. Daniel Montellano, VP of Strategic Business Development for Shift4 Corporation, explained why wineries can trust Shift4 for all their retail payment processing needs. Click to watch video.

Inside the Retail Realm booth was plenty of activity around the demos of Dynamics 365, RMH and the Shift4 365 payment solution – all showcased on the high-performing and reliable POS hardware from Aures.

"It was really exciting to see such a diverse industry crowd at the event -- which was bigger than last year's WITS. We talked to a lot of wineries currently looking for a replacement solution for Dynamics RMS, and so we showed them RMH as an upgrade that leverages a lot of the RMS functionality," commented Rachel Smith, VP of Sales for Retail Realm. "We also learned that some of the bigger winery chains wanted a new retail management solution that integrated a lot of functionality as a type of all-in-one. They showed a lot of interest in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, which would give them that." 

Image: Rachel Smith with Retail Realm's Chairman, Afshin Alikhani 

As the retail landscape is rapidly evolving, it's inspiring to see the wine industry expanding its technological footprint. So, let’s toast to that -- and to next year's event!

"Retail Hero was very pleased to participate in RR’s Technology Show last year. We reunited with many friends and made new ones. We learned a lot about new products and opportunities. Events like this are very important for all RMS community members to stay in touch and develop professional relationships. Good job, Retail Realm; it’s epic! Thank you very much! We are looking forward to seeing everyone next year."