Jay Jacobs took my NYU class this past semester. He’s getting into wine and is a techie so he was interested in the latest wine apps. He ended up downloading a few–including one in beta–and test driving them so I invited him to write up his findings here.
By Jason Jacobs
“Just tell me the app that shows me the best wines and how to buy them.” I hear you. But as you might guess, all apps are unique, and there is usually no one app that’s perfect. So what I’d like to explore is an overview of four of the biggest wine apps on the market today, and why each of them might be worth your time—or not.
A quick bit about me – I work on the mobile team at a startup in NYC as the product manager for our app. And while I live in the world of apps, I am just recently getting into wine. Hopefully this gives me a unique perspective that allows me to work through a series of wine-related apps and figure out which is the right one for you.
What I’m looking for:
1) Easy to Use and Understand
2) Easy to Buy Wines
3) Helps Me Discover New Wines
The four apps I’ve chosen to review here are two dominant ones that help log and select wines, Delectable and Vivino, as well as two new wine apps, Banquet and Wine Ring. The three concepts are what I’ll be keeping in mind as I’m using these apps since I assume these are the major goals for the people downloading them. One of the apps stands out above the rest and earns a “thumbs up” from me. The others are either solid or emergent, and the fourth still has some way to go. Read more…
Coravin, the maker of a wine preservation device that costs $300, has stopped selling new units and urges owners of existing units to stop using the device because of a hazard of exploding bottles. In a release, the company says it knows of seven bottles that have exploded with one causing lacerations to the user. The company is working on a solution.
The Massachusetts-based start-up has raised over $11 million in stock and bond offerings. The product, formerly known as the Wine Mosquito since a needle pierces the cork to extract wine one glass at a time and inject inert gas to preserve the rest, has garnered praise as well as provoked some trepidation among collectors.
The full notice follows after the jump. Read more…
In my wine classes, people often ask me, “What’s the best wine app?” I’ve been using wine apps since the early days of the app store and have generally found that they try to do too much (“a million logically possible food-wine pairings”) or too little (only offer limited price comparisons). But now when I am asked, I have an answer: Delectable.
The main feature that makes Delectable the standout wine app is its incredible optical recognition. Out to dinner and enjoying a wine? You could simply snap a picture to remember, always a good a idea. But if you take that picture with the Delectable app, it will upload it to their servers, have all their minions pore over it, and then actually fill in all the relevant data. I tried beat the app with a few dimly-lit, hard-to-read labels or obscure micro-production wines and it nailed them all. Read more…
Coravin, a new wine preservation system, has garnered a lot of praise since its soft launch in June with the latest big piece coming from Eric Asimov in the NYT. The device uses a syringe to pierce the cork, withdraw wine, and replace the liquid with argon gas. Argon, for those who haven’t been keeping up with gasses since Chemistry class, is heavier than oxygen so it forms an invisible blanket to preserve the wine from the corrosive effects of oxygen.
Coravin seems to have an audience problem as I depict above in a Venn diagram (Coravenn?). There are a lot of people who think 750ml is too much wine to drink all at one time. But these are not the people likely to plop down $299 + tax + capsules. So, in this regard, Asimov is right to focus attention on Coravin to its impact in wine bars and restaurants. Is this audience big enough to recoup their latest, $11.5 million round of venture capital? Perhaps.
Asimov didn’t address the reservations that some collectors have about bottles that have been “accessed” by the device’s needle. David Beckwith of Grand Cru Wine Consulting touched on some issus in a thread on his facebook page, getting the ball rolling with this: Read more…
Picture yourself at a wine trade tasting: there are hundreds of wines to taste but you have to juggle a bulky tasting notebook, a pen, and a wine glass while swirling, spitting and dodging fellow tasters who may be heading to the spit bucket. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could see the tasting book on your smart phone, sort by style or wine region, and take notes in a profile?
That’s what I did yesterday Read more…
Do you want a self-serve tank that dispenses low-priced wines in a store near you? Apparently a ton of people do as lots of non-wine sites linked to a recent post here, hundreds of people commented via twitter, and over 5,250 people “liked” it on Facebook.
The reception was very positive with many comments akin to “I am moving to France–TOMORROW.” or “I want one of these in my kitchen.” Perhaps the ultimate compliment came from New York magazine which put the tanks on their approval matrix in the “highbrow-brilliant” quadrant in today’s magazine. The only thing more brilliantly highbrow was the Paris Review putting their entire archive of author interviews online! (Good thing they didn’t see a subsequent here about pairing wine with bacon doughnuts–oh wait, that dish came from them!)
Why do you think this post resonated so much, particularly outside of the wine world? I think that part of it had to do with the fact that Americans are really getting into wine but can certainly do with out the pompousness. Also, it is kind of a Nirvana to find a fountain of good, cheap wine. There’s certainly the environmental angle too. And then it is also just a little bit zany.
But for whatever reason, the enthusiasm for the posting shows an appetite for such dispensers in the US. Who will be the first to implement this here–Whole Foods? Trader Joe’s? Safeway? Binny’s? Whoever it is (and one person in the industry tells me he’s working on it), they can certainly be assured a lot of media coverage.
You just brought home a mixed case of wine from the store. Already, things are looking good. But what if you could scan each bottle as you unpack it and have the information appear in a database for managing your inventory? Or just for keeping all your tasting notes handy and organized?
To find out if it’s time for wine lovers to belly up to the barcode, I tested two newish products that claim to zap and upload: the IntelliScanner mini and the new version of Cor.kz, an iPhone app. Read more…
Google has rolled out a cool new feature called Google Goggles that allows search by sight–take a picture of an object with your
cameraphone Android phone and it will tell you more info on it. TechCrunch reported from the demo yesterday in Mountain View:
The example that Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra showed on stage involved taking a picture of a particular bottle of wine. When he ran it through Google Goggles, the result showed that the particular bottle has a hint of apricots.
Awesome! The only issue is that if he picked up the bottle of Argentine Malbec depicted in the images above that would be a major FAIL. (Maybe the system just didn’t take “saddle leather” as a serious descriptor. Or maybe he had a different wine on-stage–come on TechCrunch, we need the wine intel!) The technology may have a few bumps but this sort of optical label and character recognition could potentially revolutionize wine shopping and managing wine cellar inventory. (hat tip, Eric)