Friday, March 23, 2012

Dear Distributor,

  How about you stop handing out heavy spiral bound tasting books at the entryway of your major Spring Tasting and instead supply wi-fi and an iPhone app? Frankly, I don't really look at the tasting book anymore anyway, and it is a pain to lug around both the heavy book and a tasting glass. Nowadays I just take a picture of the wines I like with my iPhone. Why don't you provide me with an App for your tasting? Like I could scroll over to Table 18, and there would be the list of wines from Table 18, and if I tapped on a wine it would tell me the applicable pricing for that wine. And maybe there would be some information about the producer or grape variety breakdown for the bottling. A link to the winery's website might be there. And there could be some sort of Save Favorites function that I could use to mark what I considered to be the highlights of the tasting, saved all together in a folder I could tap on and open up later and maybe add notes to. If there was someplace to attach my own photos of labels to the bottle pricing info, well that would be just too cool, don't you think?

  Maybe one day there could be audio pronunciation guides, or virtual winery tours, but that would be next level sort of stuff.

  Would this amount for you, the distributor, to more than the cost of printing up and transporting all those tasting books? I don't imagine it would, and it seems like the App could be updated for each seasonal tasting. That would save a lot of trees.

  Maybe you could think about it?

  Thanks for your time.

Best Wishes,
Levi with an i


What We Drank said...

Levi- I adore your thoughts, this blog, and everything that comes of it. But I am a somm, married to a smarty- pants software architect ( we very have very little to talk about at times) and it would cost about $20K in tech support to code the kind of specific functionality you dream about in this post. I too tire of the reams of paper we all deal with, and wish for more efficient systems in wine. I cannot imagine the tomes that weigh us down at these huge tastings cost more than 20K- do you? I am with you, but the financials are against us.

Levi with an i said...

Wow, $20,000 is quite the reality check. Thanks for setting me straight.

Seth said...

While perhaps still more than the cost of printing, it wouldn't be much more to do a simple website where you'd click through the tables and have your links, etc. I recommend Evernote to annotate- there's cross-platform apps, web extensions, etc. Have a barebones .pdf for people to download prior if they're stuck on it- make it clear you'll not be handing it out at the tasting (but perhaps have a few blank sheets of paper for the clueless). This would have the benefit of being actually useful through the vintage and beyond- not enough vendors actually have real info online.

Elizabeth Mendez said...

We live in an age where all aspects of business are moving at lightning speeds, including the business of wine. I dream of this beautiful, mythical undeveloped app you wax poetically of, and while I wish it existed in a time when we can't even get a cohesive, all encompassing, current website from many distributors, importers and wineries, the hope for an app for grand tastings might be the unicorn of wine tech. I too, share your pain of lugging the catalogs at grand tastings, but at this point, possibly a happy medium is what many importers are starting to incorporate, QR codes on bottles that take you directly to the website with all pertinent information, minus the pricing. I could not agree with you more, however we may have to pull much of the wine importing and distributing world into techy-land kicking and screaming.