An Australian winery has made history by releasing bottles of wine that speak to consumers. No, you're not drunk. Yes, the bottle speaks.

The talking wine labels are enabled by a technology called augmented reality, which experts predict will become a major innovation in marketing over the next few years.

"We were looking at ways that we could really bring to life the labels themselves and also the stories behind some of the characters, in this case the convicts that actually feature on them," said Treasury Wine Estates' Angus Lilley.

"The stories themselves are real stories behind the characters associated with the 19 Crimes brand … three characters that we've actually animated and brought to life."

Using a downloaded app, consumers can hold their phones to the label and watch as the characters from old photos appear to come to life in what seems a miracle of sight and sound.

Mr Lilley said the concept, developed by an American design studio, is a first for the wine market.

"Certainly, in the wine world, it looks as though it's pretty unique at this point in time," he said.

"We have seen that in many other industries, augmented reality is being used more and more.

"But we're not aware of anybody else using the technology to tell the stories of the wines or the people behind the wine."

Technology on verge of taking off

Senior research engineer Michael Scobie demonstrates how his new augmented reality app works.

Researcher Michael Scobie has used augmented reality to create a useful app for farmers.

Senior research engineer Michael Scobie demonstrates how his new augmented reality app works.

Supplied: David Martinelli

Mark Billinghurst, director of Empathic Computing Lab at the University of South Australia said AR technology has been around for some time but, until recently, consumer applications have not been realised.

"Augmented reality is basically technology that allows you to overlay virtual graphics onto the real world so that it looks seamlessly part of the real world," he said.

"The technology's been developed since the 1960s, but it's really only in the last 10 years or so that it's come to the consumer space."

Mr Billinghurst said the global possibilities for the technology became apparent during the massive success in 2016 of AR-based game Pokemon Go.

"When the Pokemon Go app came out, that quickly became the most downloadable mobile app on phones, ever," he said.

"I think it drew more than 500 million downloads in just a few weeks.

"In terms of mobile augmented reality for advertising, people have been doing augmented reality on magazine covers since about 2009 and so, for almost 10 years now, anybody who has had an Android phone or an iPhone has been able to download and have an augmented reality experience.

Bend your experience with augmented reality technology

Augmented Reality technology is increasing rapidly in the consumer space.

Bend your experience with augmented reality technology

Augmented Reality technology is increasing rapidly in the consumer space.

ABC RN: Pexels

"But the way they've done their wine app is very, very clever. The augmented reality content is very perceptively integrated with the real world."

Mr Billinghurst said he had seen AR on drink products, but not those of the vino persuasion.

"Not specifically on wine bottles, but I've seen Coca Cola and Pepsi doing it on cans," he said.

He said AR is expected to be the next big thing in marketing and retail.

"I've seen some predictions saying that by 2020, just a year or so from now, there'll be about a billion people with access to augmented reality so it's really coming to the consumer space," Mr Billinghurst said.

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