CTZN Wines uses humans+AI to improve the drop

    Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that starting a technology website more than 15 years ago, would have resulted in a mystery suitcase being delivered to me door, containing 2 bottles of wine, but here we are.

    CTZN is a new wine maker in Australia and are applying modern technology to making their wine. By leveraging the AI in the formulation of the wine, the company aims to add to the skills and experience of humans to make its splash in the Australian market.

    As part of CTZN’s entry into Australia, they sent me a suitcase that featured 2x 3-digit combination locks. The only clue to open them was a label that read..


    Trace back to when AI was first seen.

    Next, seek out the king of grapes, and count every letter defined.


    We are B Corp Certified and don’t like wastage so if you won’t reuse this case, let us know and we will pick it up from you.


    I quite enjoy a challenge, so this was a fun way to be introduced to their product. With LLMs being so hot right now, I wanted to see if they could assist me in cracking the code. I read explained the situation and the hints to both Gemini and ChatGPT and while their responses differed, they both pointed me in the direction of Alan Turing.

    While the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has existed for much longer, the birth of AI as a field of research is widely considered to be in 1956 at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence.

    However, there were significant developments leading up to this event, such as Alan Turing’s 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” which proposed the Turing Test as a way to measure machine intelligence.

    I tried both 195 (dropping the 0) but to no avail. I moved on to the second combination lock and second clue.

    The “king of grapes” is generally considered to be the Cabernet Sauvignon. Counting every letter in Cabernet Sauvignon, you arrive at 17,

    Combining these pieces of information, we get a six-digit code formed by the year 1956 and the number of letters in “Cabernet Sauvignon” 17. Thus, the six-digit code to unlock the case is 195617.

    I have to admit, when the second combination lock popped open, it was rewarding and done with thanks to AI.

    Back to the first lock.. I posted the challenge online to get help from my community, for which many arrived at the same numbers, no matter how many tries, it didn’t work. Having validated with another journalist who also received the gift, it confirmed to me the issue was with the lock, not the number, so I moved to validation via screw driver which was successful, revealing the two bottles of CTZN wine were revealed.

    Following on from French AI wine pioneers Aubert & Mathieu, and appealing to the avant-garde and the  trendsetters of a new generation, the CTZN range debuts with two blends: Quantum Quintessence, a bold and elegant Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, and Ethereal Pulse, a vibrant and delicate Pinot  Noir/Grenache/Tempranillo blend. 

    Each bottle represents a harmonious blend of AI selected grape varietals, curated by cutting-edge AI  algorithms, and brought to life by skilled human winemakers at celebrated global drinks company  Australian Vintage.  


    A medium-bodied wine with rich dark fruit aromas of black plum and cherry, complemented by notes of red liquorice, allspice, olive, and tobacco leaf. It features silky firm tannins and a long, satisfying finish.

    Quantum Quintessence is your ticket to a revolution where A.I. precision meets human intuition, crafting a bold, harmonious blend. Each sip promises a burst of flavours, masterfully orchestrated to elevate your experience.

    The blend is a combination of the following:

    SHIRAZ – The Depth
    Percentage in Blend: 46%

    CABERNET SAUVIGNON – The Structure
    Percentage in Blend: 44%

    MERLOT – The Finesse
    Percentage in Blend: 10%


    A medium-bodied wine with red fruit aromas of dried raspberry and wild strawberry, complemented by hints of blood orange, pomegranate, cinnamon, and black tea leaf, with soft tannins on the finish.

    Ethereal Pulse is a testament to this harmonious union, a wine meticulously envisioned by A.I. algorithms and crafted with a vintner’s touch to grace your palate with it’s refined, airy complexity.

    GRENACHE – The Spirit
    Percentage in Blend: 39%

    PINOT NOIR – The Heart
    Percentage in Blend: 30%

    TEMPRANILLO – The Essence
    Percentage in Blend: 26%

    Percentage in Blend: 5%

    CTZN was created to push the boundaries of how AI can influence the world around us. Most brands using  AI have done design, advertising, or packaging.

    We asked the question what if AI influenced everything?  When you scan a CTZN bottle you’re immediately immersed in an augmented reality experience that’s as  future-forward as the wines.

    Dreamed up by a collaboration of vintners and AI engineers, SOM, our digital  sommelier, is designed to encapsulate the knowledge of a wine expert with the accessibility of a digital  assistant to push the boundaries of wine-drinking experiences.

    Australian Vintage CMO Tom Dusseldorp

    CTZN partnered with technology company Mik Studio to create a digital experience for the physical product, allowing customers to scan a QR code on the bottle to learn more about it. When you do this, you’re taking to a website where you’ll meet a digital robot named SOM, which puts a face to the AI technology that went into making the wine.

    “SOM’s persona was meticulously crafted using generative AI and refined by Web 3.0 experts crafting  detailed prompts, moving and interacting with users fluidly in Augmented Reality.

    Transporting you out of  the digital realm and immersing you into the CTZN world, SOM is ready to expertly guide your wine-tasting  like never before using your smartphone as a guide.” 

    Creative Director Tom Cotton of Mik Studio, MIK

    More information at

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

    Leave a Reply


    Latest posts


    Related articles