When Your App does the Tasting

It’s Friday night. I’m doing a tasting with multiple vendors and this guy comes over and quite abruptly picks up the most expensive wine on my table and scans it into his phone. It was a bottle of ’07 Noster Crianza from Priorat, Spain. He looks unimpressed at his screen and comments, “the ‘08 vintage is better.” I wasn’t happy with this guy and was ready to tell him to come back next year.

However, I remained polite and suggested he at least taste the wine. I poured some in his glass and before I could get a word in about what makes this wine truly exceptional, he literally shoots back my pour in one gulp. I was horrified.

“Did you like it?” I asked.

“No, not particularly. This isn’t very remarkable.”

Says who, your app?

So, I tested the app…

I love Noster and felt my wine was being unfairly treated. I managed to catch the name of this app—Vivino—and downloaded a version the next day onto my phone. I scanned my leftover bottle of the ’07 Crianza and saw it had an average rating of 3.1 (out of 5). Then I noticed it had just three people rank it (including the fellow from last night’s tasting). So, I created a profile and immediately gave my beloved Noster 4 stars, which it well deserved given its complexity and the fact it’s a Priorat selling for under $20. Now, it has four ratings and its average is a 3.6🙂

As you can see, the app’s rating system has its shortfalls. The more well-known, widely-distributed wines arguably have a fairer ranking because more people have rated them (and less forget, the ranking system is simply an average of all ratings, which means it’s an average of people’s opinions).

However, after fooling around a bit more with the app, I was hooked: I scanned all my leftover bottles from the tasting, plus a few others I had lying around. Once you scan the label (essentially take its picture) within seconds you’re presented with basic information (region, grape varieties, producer, avg. price), ranking stats, the number of times it’s been scanned and tasting notes from others who’ve scanned it. Furthermore, you get to connect with fellow scanners who’ve created a Vivino profile.

Final thoughts: good app, but not to be used in replace of one’s own tongue during tastings.

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