Our smartphones are so smart that they have figured out whether we will like a wine before we even try it.
So claim the creators of Wine Ring, a new smartphone app joining an already crowded folder of apps allowing us to record, rate and share our wine experiences with the world. Wine Ring uses patented algorithms to develop a preference profile from the information you feed it; the more wines you rate, the more detailed your profile becomes. Then, when you’re in a store standing before a shelf full of unfamiliar bottles, just scan a label into the app and it will tell you whether the wine fits your preference profile.
“Every time you rate a wine or change a rating, we re-evaluate your preferences,” says Andrew Sussman, co-creator with Pam Dillon of Wine Ring.
Rating wines on Wine Ring is easy. It give you four choices: heart, thumbs up, so-so and nope. There are no stars or rating scales to make you distinguish the quality difference.
“You and I can talk about a wine, its acidity, structure, residual sugar, all those attributes,” Dillon says. “But in the end it’s love, like, so-so or dislike.”
If you sense marketing gold in the data gathered from consumers, you’d be right. Dillon says the patents on Wine Ring’s algorithms could be applied to any consumer product involving taste, smell and feel, and the data gathered during the two-year beta phase show trends in consumers’ habits and preferences.
“No sommelier knows what a guest is drinking 365 days of the year, but we do,” Dillon says.
And what are people drinking?
“Fruit wines, local wines, wines from Texas or Colorado — it gives us a glimpse into what people are actually drinking” says Sheri Sauter Morano, one of five masters of wine on Wine Ring’s high-powered team of consultants. (Five master sommeliers also helped develop the database, which, as of June, included approximately 300,000 labels.)
Other apps compete with Wine Ring for screen space on our phones. Vivino and Delectable are favored by the wine-enthusiast crowd. CellarTracker is the app for collectors, with excellent label and bar-code scanning and a feature for inventorying your cellar.