Apps for Wine: How Our Phones are Matching Grape with Glass

3.02.16

by Ian Silverstone

It now seems like conventional wisdom that our smartphones have taken over our lives and changed the way we do everything—even including how wine is marketed, sold, and consumed.

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New wine-centric phone apps have been cropping up by the week, offering wine drinkers— novices and connoisseurs alike—far more access to different wines. With huge databases of information on much of the wine currently sold in the U.S., these apps provide a variety of services: from e-sommeliers to loyalty programs, price comparisons to pronunciation guides.  The popularity of these apps is helping to create a wine-shopping experience that is more educational and engaging for consumers, giving winemakers and retailers an opportunity to better position their products for a wider audience.

The two biggest leaders in the world of wine apps are Delectable and Vivino. A key feature of both allows users to take a photo of a wine label and presents useful information, such as tasting notes and crowd-sourced reviews. Users are able to upload their own notes, and follow and engage with other users in a social media setting, as well as sneak a glimpse at other customer’s buying habits and taste preferences. Both apps have over four star reviews and user databases in the millions, encompassing wine consumers, sommeliers, and winemakers.

These technologies have helped bridge the gap between wine experts, industry members, and the general public. Apps like Laurie Forster’s The Wine Coach feature weekly wine picks and podcasts, and Hello Vino prompts users through a series of interactive questions to select the best wine for a particular meal, occasion, or palate.

Wine tourism has also benefited from the emergence of wine apps, particularly Enosocial, an app targeted specifically to wine tourists and enthusiasts. Users can discover real-time events and promotions at wineries, consortiums, and wine shops near their location, while engaging with others in their area through photo contests and group chat spaces. With more of a local focus, Winery Finder’s app helps visitors learn about and locate wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties, including discovering discounts on hotels and restaurant deals nearby. For those interested in the topography and history of winery-rich areas there is Wine Maps. Favored by seasoned oenophiles it includes over 1,300 maps of wine regions in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s a little too early to tell whether this wine-app frenzy is a passing fad or here to stay. But for right now, the wine market is more democratic and more personal than ever before.

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Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs, mkaiser@wineramerica.org

WineAmerica is the national voice of the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

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