Around this time next week, there will be a ton of tech journalists exhausted from CES and in need of a glass or three of wine. They should seek out the Albicchiere, a forthcoming connected wine dispenser that will be demonstrating at the show.
Made in Italy, the Albicchiere is a countertop device that pours and stores your wine. The “Albi” as the appliance is also known, brings your wine to the proper serving temperature (between 4°C to 20°C / 39.2°F to 68°F). before dispensing, so, the company claims, you get the most enjoyment out of each glass.
The Albi is launching on Kickstarter on January 21 and will cost early backers $279. The device is supposed to ship in September of 2020 (though, as with any crowdfunded hardware, caveat emptor).
At first glance, $279 seems pretty pricey for a wine dispenser, but here’s what else the Albi can do:
You can load the Albi with either your own bottled wine or special “Smart Bags” of wine the company sells itself for the device. These bags use a special patent-pending technology that keeps wine fresh in the device for up to six months, even if you’re just pouring one glass at a time, because the wine never comes into contact with oxygen. (Other wine preservation systems like Coravin, use argon gas.)
These bags of wine are reusable (though it seems like pouring your own wine into them would introduce oxygen), and the company says you can swap out bags of wine, like going from white to red during a meal, in as little as five seconds without needing to clean the machine in between.
We’ve actually seen a similar “smart bag” approach to wine containers before with the Edgar commercial wine dispenser at last year’s CES show.
The Albi has Alexa and Google Home compatibility built in, so you can ask it to pour you wine, though this functionality seems limited as you’d need to be at the machine at some point to make the glass available (the company says you could use it to have a glass of wine ready and waiting at the right temperature when you get home from work).
The built-in screen provides you with details about your wine, so you can learn more about where it’s from and other characteristics. The Albi keeps track of your wine so you know when the wine is going going bad and when you are running low. Albi can also reorder it for you.
The smart bags also make it easier to ship wine by reducing transport costs and carbon footprints through lighter packaging. Albicchiere says that it has already signed up 200 wineries that will sell their wine in Smart Bags. The cost for wine, as with buying any traditional bottle of wine, will depend on the type and brand.
We’ll definitely be taking a closer look at the Albichierre at CES next week, though we’ll save it for the end of our trip, when we will really need it.