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)
Via goodgrape, we learn of the impending release of a new The Sims-like computer game called Wine Tycoon. The producer’s description:
Create the vineyard of your dreams in 10 of the most important wine regions of France. Commanding operations from your very own French chateau, build your winery, plant and tend your vines through all four seasons of the year, and hire staff to harvest and process your grapes. Produce 50 French wines such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Pinot Gris and Champagne from more than 40 different grape varietals, all in the ultimate goal of becoming a wealthy wine baron!
* In this age of Wii and PS3, people still play PC games? If it’s going anywhere, it had better be massively multiplayer!
* Does naked pigeage count as a plus or a minus in the game?
* Who stirs the Biodyanmic preparations?
* Do the vignerons-tycoons have to learn about selling into the three tier system in America?
* And don’t forget the goal of wine making: become rich as Croesus! But I thought you had to start with a large fortune to make a small one in the wine biz…
One of my friends told me that he recently was looking to get three bottles of one Chateauneuf du Pape. He found it online for $47.99 at a store in New Jersey, coincidentally, near where his mother lives. So he called the store and asked them to hold three bottles for his mom to pick up. But when confirming the transaction, the clerk told him that the wine was $58 a bottle.
My friend replied that it was actually $48 on their web site. The clerk said that was a web-only price and the price via phone and in-store was actually $57.99.
So he hung up and placed the order on the web for in-store pick-up. Read more…