WineGame, an app from Rob Wilder and Jose Andrés, gives users a taste of what sommeliers go through. A blind tasting can liven up a social gathering, as guests decide which wine is which.
After scanning a bottle or entering a name, users try to guess facts about the wine based on multiple-choice questions, including its grape varietal, country, region and vintage. Answer correctly and score points. Answer incorrectly and the app shares the right response and the history behind it.
The learning experience adds to the excitement – as user Robey Martin shared, “Blind tasting wine is fun but tough stuff. The game (combined with learning) could make for a cool trivia night.”
Personalizing the Experience
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to social distancing – and a 21% increase in alcohol consumption – Vivino saw an opportunity to use its extensive collection of wine and user data to add a personal touch. Like Netflix and other streaming video services that offer recommendations based on previous selections, Vivino showcases personalized bottle choices. That personalization helped the company increase sales by more than 100% in the first year after the pandemic.
Instead of paid professionals, Vivino curates reviews from other users. It launched its service in the cloud with AWS, using Amazon S3 for its label scanner data and Auto Scaling for its Amazon EC2 instances to handle traffic spikes. The platform calls out recurring words; if hundreds of people say a wine has a hint of “cherry,” for instance, other users will immediately see that. Vivino also partners with winemakers worldwide so people can easily purchase within the app.
Still, there’s room to personalize even more. Dhaliwal believes we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
“I’d love for more companies to make the leap to have some level of personalization,” she said. “Here’s your palate, here’s what you’ve bought before and here are some gift ideas based on what you purchased in the past. That would be like an angel singing for me. I’d get so much value out of it. It could become something that really drives brand loyalty and a great experience for your customer.”
Beyond the Bottle
Delectable, Texas Wine Club, Vivino and others are demystifying wine for consumers who don’t understand it. Educating and engaging more people increases the chances these new customers will buy more wine – whether in-store, online or at wineries.
Total Wine, for example, uses its app to quickly showcase items featured in stores. However, it also includes a calendar for local events and classes. Shoppers can enjoy a glass with friends as they learn more about a certain varietal.
“Unless you have been educated on wine or are a collector of fine wine, most consumers are unaware of the artisan nature of making wine,” said Kambrah Garland, who leads company strategy at Texas Wine Club.
“The educational component that we offer will help people further understand price points. Consumers will learn the work, cost and time associated with making boutique wines.”
All these new technologies are part of the wine industry’s phenomenal growth. As they improve, Dhaliwal believes people will grow passionate about wine and have fun figuring out their favorites.
“There’s no wrong answer,” Dhaliwal said. “If you like something, drink it.”