Zak Smith explains why wine lovers are now filling their glasses via their glass screens
Mobile technology has radically changed the way in which wine lovers buy their favourite Burgundy, pair their Malbec and steak, and rate a chance find from a Sunday market. With apps galore, oenophiles without the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) badges can now all become their own sommeliers, and with social networking creating a community of reviewers, it’s never been easier to enjoy wine in London.
Using the latest image recognition software, Vivino is the most popular of all the current crop of wine apps. Through scanning photos of bottles its 14 million regular worldwide users make it a formidable resource for recording great wines from a night out and locating them online for purchasing when you get home. With a profile for friends to follow your every sip, Vivino lets you become the expert. If you do happen upon a particular favourite, the app lets you browse other vintages and ranges from the same vineyard, and if in the unlikely event the app cannot recognise the wine, they’ll hunt it down for you!
It’s often the case that when having dinner at home, pairing foods with the right wine can be something of a minefield. However, with PairIt!, you’ll never mistakenly drink a chardonnay with beef brisket ever again. An interactive food and wine guide, it includes information on grape varieties, food types and over 20,000 different hand-selected pairing suggestions. Created by renowned chef and expert Bruce Riezenman, the app is the perfect at-home wine aid.
Despite the proliferation of vino-apps helping enthusiasts share tips on top wines, there is without question a role for traditional sommeliers, and this is where Delectable comes in. Enabling users to follow their favourite sommeliers from some of the best restaurants in the world, Delectable shares tasting notes from sommeliers we can all learn from. If the posted descriptions start to make you thirsty, then you can click through and buy a bottle. A huge success since it was launched in the US in 2014, Delectable will no doubt help to cultivate the next generation of sommeliers.
Had enough of reviewing and following? Then start buying. Wine-Searcher is still one of the most comprehensive research tools for purchasing not only investment grade wine but also table wine. Combining auction houses, specialists and independent stores, it’s a must-use directory for those looking for the best wine money can buy.
Finally, St James’s’ Berry Bros & Rudd might well be one of Britain's oldest wine merchants but they’re on trend in providing an interactive portal for users to sift through their enormous catalogue of wines sourced from around the globe. Tasting notes, video content and buyers’ guides provide a wealth of material and with mobile access to their Wine Club, and brokerage offering, they seem to have access to wine covered from every angle.
With such an electronic cornucopia even Bacchus would be reaching for his smart phone, and with the spring sun finally here, has there ever been a better time to enjoy a glass?