Kuvée: The internet-enabled smart wine bottle no-one asked for

It'll keep your wine fresh for 30 days, but you need to recharge it every few hours

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The Independent Tech

An American company has developed one of the strangest 'Internet of Things' devices ever created - a WiFi-enabled, touchscreen-equipped wine bottle.

The Kuvée bottle has been funded on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, and looks set to become a reality. The bottle costs $179 (£125), and users need to buy special wine cartridges to stick in the bottom when they want a drink.

The Kuvée's marketing is strange - the promotional video sings the praises of the screen, which can give you information like the variety of wine you're drinking, its strength, good food pairings and some information about the vineyard. In other words, it does the same thing as a paper label.

The Kuvée bottle (centre) with its metal wine inserts on either side (Kuvée/IndieGoGo)

Amazingly, since the Kuvée is made of opaque aluminium, users can also check the screen for an estimate of how much is left in the bottle - a solution to a problem which no-one who drinks from a glass wine bottle has ever had.

Hook the bottle up to your WiFi and you can order new wine through the screen, although if you've got the bottle you already own a smartphone or laptop which can do the same thing. And since it runs on a battery, you'll have to recharge it every few hours.

The real product at the heart of Kuvée is the aluminium bottles which slot in the bottom - they don't let any light in, reducing the risk of the wine spoiling over time, and a simple valve covered by a screw-top cap apparently prevents too much air reaching the drink.

Kuvée claims the bottles will keep the wine fresh for up to 30 days, and since they're lighter and smaller, they're better for the environment. The idea is that users could have a few bottles open at a time, without worrying about them going off. It's a good idea, but it seems like the internal metal bottles could do the job on their own, without their £125 digital casing.

Once you've got a Kuvée, you're locked into the system. You can only use it with Kuvée-compatible bottles, limiting what you can drink. From the proposed launch date in October, you'll be able to choose from 48 wines from 12 different wineries, most of them in the £10-£20 range, a choice which will expand over time.

It's a similar system to those coffee pod machines, which limit you to buying a certain range of brand-specific capsules. At least they make coffee brewing a little easier, by getting rid of all the mess and equipment - it's difficult to see what major advantages the Kuvée's physical DRM offers over the regular glass wine bottle, which wasn't exactly crying out for 'disruption'.

At any rate, it might not make it to the UK for a while. The first 1,000 bottles will ship to customers in California and Massachusetts in October, while other states will follow afterwards.

Us Brits will have to struggle on with our dumb glass bottles for the time being.