Many think technology is making us strangers–heads tipped down at the dinner table, eyes glued to phones, playing Angry Birds, or worse, Candy Crush. Ugh. Moreover, it’s a huge faux pas to break out your phone at a restaurant and start snapping pictures, but everybody does it. I can’t scroll through Facebook or Twitter without seeing someone’s Yelp check-in.
The Emily Post in me thinks this is all in poor taste, but the saleswoman in me says, “Hallelujah!” The more pictures taken, the easier my job gets. I used to get questions like, “I had a wine the other night, can you help me find it? I can’t remember the name.” I’m pretty good at this wine-decoder game, but nowadays, folks can whip out their phones and say, “Hey Jen, do you carry this?”
Not only are people snapping pictures, but they’re also taking notes via notepad or putting the wine’s name on their calendar from the day they tasted it. The best way to remember wines for me is through wine apps. I currently use ViVino, which is free and easy to use.
I have files and files of wine-tasting notes. Mostly on yellow legal pad paper but many on scrap paper, coffee bar napkins, or business cards with different symbols that secretly denote how much I like or dislike the wine. I do a lot of my blogging at home, and in the past, if I forgot my notes at the store, I would have to go by memory, missing out on some of those little nuances that I may have written down. Since I have my ViVino app on my phone, my notes are always with me.
To use the ViVino App, much like many other wine apps, you simply snap a picture of the label. The app retrieves loads of information on the wines, from the vintage and appellation to reviews from dozens of other people. It allows you to change the vintage and wine if it has uploaded the wrong information and lets you grade the wine on a 5-star scale. There is even a place to put your own review, helping dramatically when you have a wine blog due the next morning! Each entry is dated, but I find it is useful to put in your notes where you had the wine and who you were with, for memory’s sake.
If social media is your game, the Delectable is the wine app for you. Like on Facebook, you can tag your friends and “like” other people’s wines, and as with Twitter, you can communicate with wine makers, sommeliers, and veritable wine rock stars, commenting on the wines they have tasted. Moreover, this is a truly geeky app. I have yet to see one of the wine aficionados I follow reviewing anything mainstream. If you are interested in new and unusual wines and want to see what people are talking about, this is the wine app for you!
If beer is more your speed, a fun app to download is Untappd. This app is seriously addictive. You get badges each time you achieve a goal. For example, when you try five or more beers from Canada, you get The Great White North Badge. The badges are at times humorous, but it is also very tempting to achieve them all. Like with Delectable, you can toast beers you approve of and post your own findings to Facebook and Twitter. It’s akin to FourSquare, so you can check in at bars and breweries and find out which beers are nearby. If you are one beer away from getting the Heavy Weight Badge, you can see if your local pub has a Russian Imperial Stout on tap.
Yes, many of us, including me, need to put our phones down and communicate more with the people around us. However, these apps are fun, informational, and useful in many situations! How many badges have you unlocked? See my Untappd profile at MIJen.