chateau des charmes

Case Study: QR Codes and the wine industry

I love the idea of QR codes.  I think they are a great tool for many businesses but more often than not when I see them I see them being used in a way that makes me VERY skeptical that they ever get scanned.

The wine and alcohol industry seems to get it 

Many of the wines we buy have QR codes on them - an easy to scan code to tell me more about the wine I’m drinking or what it goes well with is something I can see taking the time to scan (more on what I wouldn’t take the time to scan at the end of the post!)

Chateau des Charmes (makers of one of my favourite wines - Gen Seven) was the first winery in North America to put QR codes on their labels.

“It’s all about empowering the consumer with information to help make a purchasing decision. The content on our codes coordinate with the back label info and the tasting note info on our website. It all overlaps, not duplicates.” Michele Bosc, Director of Marketing for Chateau des Charmes Wines told me when I asked her about their use of QR codes.  

“When we first launched them in 2009 the hits were minimal but the interest was high. Now the hits are much higher but the interest is lower because they are now everywhere. QR codes seem to now be expected. It didn’t take long to move through the adoption curve!”


Whenever I go in to an LCBO I’m impressed with how they are using QR codes and video in their marketing.









You can find QR codes everywhere, outside and inside their stores.  Also, they’ve done a great job of making the QR codes fun (did you know QR codes could be in colour?)

They link to information about wines, to recipes, to videos, and more.

They also always include the URL for those who don’t have a smart phone or don’t know how to use QR codes and describe what you will get when you scan the code.

QR code tips

  • Tell people what they’re clicking through to (I see this all the time, a QR code with no explanation whatsoever.  No chance I’m going to scan that).
  • Give them the URL in case they don’t have a smart phone but still want the information you’re sharing.
  • Make sure the QR code is an appropriate size to scan (I’ve always thought QR codes are a great idea for realtors.  When I see them on signs the codes are often so small I would need get our of the car and stand right in front of the sign to scan it.  This becomes to conspicuous for a lot of people to want to use).
  • Don’t use a QR code online unless you are specifically sharing information for people to bring with them on their mobile devices. Why would I want to take out a mobile device to scan something from my computer?
  • Make sure what you link to is mobile friendly. Also bring them to something specific, not just the front page of your web site.
  • If you’re using the codes in a location with staff, make sure your staff know what they are and how they work.  Because QR codes interest me I often ask staff about them when I see them. More than half the time the staff have no idea what the codes even are.
  • Use unique URLs so you can track the performance of the codes.

When used well, QR codes give you an opportunity to easily share more and interesting information with your audience.

Leave a comment and tell us where you’ve seen QR codes used well.