A Wine Tasting Journal or A Phone Sommelier?

Igor Pauletič / / Inbound Marketing

Your comments on last weeks’ post encouraged me to explain in a bit more detail the idea of how winemakers could shoulder their way into the buying process of potential wine drinkers at restaurants. To all of those commenting that Vivino (and lots of other apps) has existed for quite some time now, I’d also like to present a different view.

Vivino is great, but …

So, yes, I know Vivino because I occasionally use it myself. Vivino is great if you’re keeping a wine journal, so you can see what you’ve already tasted and how you liked it. So, its target audience is more or less wine connoisseurs and definitely not occasional drinkers who know five winemakers at the most and always order Batič rosé wherever they go.

Vivino also comes in very handy if you want to quickly check the price range of a certain wine you don’t know yet. Because everything else is provided on the bottle’s label. All in all, what I find very practical with Vivino is that you don’t have to type in the wine’s or cellar’s name, but instead you simply take a picture of the label, which ideally works impeccably. But …

What if there was an app that could do even more?

What more people (less educated wine drinkers) could find more useful is a certain other functionality of the app. Imagine a cell phone app where you can enter your top ten wines. Let’s say the Batič rosé is one of them. I chose this wine on purpose. I’d say that pretty much the only thing most of its fans know about this wine is that they like it a lot. For example, they don’t even know whether it’s dry or semi-dry. Not to mention other wine characteristics.

Let’s imagine a fan of Batič rosé comes to a restaurant and orders his favorite wine. Even though this wine is included on the wine lists of most Slovenian restaurants, it could happen that the waiter informs him that they unfortunately do not have it. Instead the waiter recommends the Erzetič rosé and the Štokelj rosé. Even though both of them are rosés, they are pretty different. Which one will you like more? Will you rely on the waiter’s advice?

  • Can you imagine an app that tells you that the Erzetič rosé matches 93% of the characteristics of the Batič, but the Štokelj only 81%?
  • Can you imagine that this same app also includes the wine lists of all the best restaurants and that every wine on the wine list is also provided with the percentage showing how closely it matches your taste? You specified that by selecting your ten favorite wines when you signed up, and the app translates that into wine characteristics you like and compares that against all the wines in its database.
  • Would it mean anything to you if the app was also able to combine the information on how closely a specific wine matches your taste with the information on how it matches the food you can order at that restaurant? Or if it even allowed you to search for the most suitable wines to go with your dish and ranked them according to how closely they match the favorites you specified in your settings?
  • What if this app allowed you to search for restaurants according to your top wine selection or the wines that match most closely with your top selection? And maybe you won’t even go to a restaurant that doesn’t have the Batič rosé. For restaurant owners, this changes the rules of the game completely. Suddenly they may all want to have extensive wine lists.
  • Would you find it useful if, when arriving at a restaurant or getting close to one, you received a push message or a text notifying you what suits your taste the most in that restaurant?
    Compared to everything described above, Vivino no longer seems useful to me at all. I don’t like to keep track of and publicly disclose all the things I’ve drunk anyway. Someone might even accuse me of having alcohol problems. You never know.

A different approach to market analysis

It’s probably not necessary to write separately about how winemakers could shoulder their way into the purchase path of potential wine buyers at restaurants. The organic traffic captured from the favorites list could also include free “recommended” wine. Of course, this would have to match the drinker’s taste to a certain degree, otherwise the winemaker wouldn’t receive much benefit from it.

Alongside this, I see an added value in collecting data on the drinkers’ tastes and movements. If a winemaker that produces barrique Chardonnay had data on how many drinkers that like this type of wine visit a certain restaurant, he would be able to use considerably more arguments to convince the owner to include his wine on the wine list. Analytical data could also be useful for the restaurant owners themselves because they would have a significantly better perspective on what their guests like. I think everyone would gain something from this, except that the waiters would be devalued to a certain degree. Or it would make their work easier. You could see it either way.