Feature Friday: Recognizing Wine Labels

My son turned me onto a wine app called Delectable Wine. I am waiting for the Android version so I can use it too. But I’ve used it a bit on his iPhone and its a really nice and useful application.

Think of Delectable Wine as Instagram for wine. People post the wines they are drinking, their reactions, tasting notes, etc. You follow your friends and experts (likeArnold) and you see what they are drinking. You can tag where you had the wine and what you thought about it. There’s a really nice searchable archive so you can go back and see what the wine was that you had at Perla that night with your friends that was so good.

But all of this is possible because of a very cool feature that my son calls Shazam for Wine Labels. When you want to add a wine to Delectable, you take a photo of the wine label and Delectable figures out what wine it is, what vintage it is, etc, etc. All of that important metadata comes in automatically just because you took a photo of the wine label.

I don’t think Delectable would work nearly as well without this feature. It enables so much of the discovery and data that makes the app so great. The first time I saw it in action, I said “wow”. I see a lot of technology demo’d every day. I don’t saw “wow” that often. But I did when I saw Delectable in action.

If you are into wine and have an iPhone, try it out. I think you’ll like it.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Does it work (better) if you scan the bar code?

    1. fredwilson

      Don’t think so. You just take a picture of the label

      1. William Mougayar

        There’s an issue with snapping the wine label instead of the bar code. It takes a lot longer to recognize the wine label. That kills the app’s utility in my books.

        1. fredwilson

          in my use of it, it didn’t take that long

          1. William Mougayar

            How long did it take? Oh just got one of them: 10 mins exactly. There is no linkage to existing reviews. They need to add that.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Google Goggles is really fast at scanning wine labels, so the tech is there to make this acceptable “real-time”

        2. jason wright

          do wine bottle labels now have QR codes?

          1. William Mougayar

            Not sure, but I’ve seen a smart wine producer from Lebanon (Ixsir) affix a removable wine label, so you peel off a small version of the label if you like it, instead figuring out how you’ll remember it.

          2. jason wright

            what we need is the bitbottle (bitcoin wine bottle), with a unique bitcoin blockchain string for each label. buy direct from the very vine of your choice, as a futures contract (the label is the contract) – “I’ll buy from this vine in 2019. What will you charge me?”

          3. awaldstein

            There are a number of people, including myself, who are addressing the idea of transparency in wine which btw goes way beyond how you get it.

          4. pointsnfigures

            good idea

          5. JimHirshfield

            I don’t think so

          6. awaldstein

            damn few

        3. JimHirshfield

          The bar code space is weird. I looked into it a few years back and there isn’t a single clearinghouse for the numbers issued. QR codes would be better as they can include data and URLs, for instance.

          1. William Mougayar

            Barcodes work well in some countries, QR codes in other places, and a wine label recognition is great if you’re trying a very unique wine that’s not widely known.

          2. JimHirshfield

            I find the best scanner is my tongue. Seamlessly integrated with my mouth and a direct, albeit proprietary, link to my brain.

          3. William Mougayar

            You are definitely earning your reputation as the AVC comedian 🙂

          4. JimHirshfield

            Just a little bit of levity. 🙂

          5. awaldstein

            One example where a QR code is used with any frequency or success in the wine world please.

          6. William Mougayar

            Random…I’ve seen it once or twice, but didn’t register. Could have been some obscure Ontario wine I didn’t buy.

          7. William Mougayar

            Here’s a couple.

        4. Brad Rosen

          Takes less than 2 seconds to recognize 2+ million wines William. I don’t think latency is a concern any more. Barcodes are less effective with wine for many reasons. Give our app, http://www.drync.com, a try!

          1. William Mougayar

            thanks. i’ll try it, but i’m really loving the social features of Delectable.

          2. Brad Rosen

            Understood – they’ve done a nice job with the social piece. We took a “commerce forward” approach and will surround that with social. One important difference btw is that Delectable has taken an offline approach to recognition, which can take time. Drync employs automated image recognition and gives you a result in under 2 seconds. There are advantages to each approach.

          3. pointsnfigures

            what are you going to do to get reputable stuff from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast from behind the paywall? I tend to gravitate to shelf tags with high numbers and low price just because-even though I have confidence in my palate and have a decent understanding of wine.

  2. carribeiro

    I didn’t knew about Delectable Wine, but I started using Vivino last years. Seems like the same thing. The scan is fast and if it doesn’t recognize the wine immediatelly, it puts into a queue for “human scanning” and then it’s added fast to the library. It also helps to know the price of the wine, which is great while shopping. Thought it was worth mentioning.

    1. fredwilson

      I had not heard of VinvinoThanks for letting us know about it

      1. Torben Mottes

        Yes, ditto on the Vivino recommendation. That app is leading the pack (in a fairly crowded space)

        1. CBoll

          +1 ViVino – have used it for the last year – does everything described above well. Very happy with it. Labels scan in quickly if you have a decent connection & thier library is pretty decent.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Have been trying Drync.com (android and iPhone) Works well. Will have to try Delectable. Wine is one of those things where the best information still exists behind a paywall.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Which paywall is that?

      1. pointsnfigures

        Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast etc all have paywalls. They are probably the best centralized resources for wine. The internet army hasn’t cracked it yet. Every wine app I have ever seen to date, or website is full of mostly junk information or are really hard to navigate. Frustrating. My friend’s son told me about Drync when we were out to dinner. I have used it a little. Delectable is now on my phone and I will try it out too. My iPhone’s battery life is so poor, I am thinking of going to a flip phone.

        1. awaldstein

          See my comment in a moment. You are right on.

          1. JimHirshfield

            oooh, oooh, a sneak preview comment by @awaldstein:disqus

          2. pointsnfigures

            about the iPhone battery? or wine? : )

          3. awaldstein


        2. awaldstein

          I get 15+ emails and texts a week at the point of purchase. That is not scalable I’m certain!

    2. chriss

      I agree about Drync. It’s great and allows you to buy/ship the wine immediately.

  4. jason wright

    Detectable Wine seems more appropriate.This will go so well with Apple’s Healthbook play.Son of a bartender. It’s in the bloodstream.

    1. fredwilson

      nice. detectable indeed

  5. Susan Rubinsky

    Genius! I cannot wait for the Droid version!

  6. Tom Labus

    I could use something stronger this morning here in NJ.

  7. William Mougayar

    Just tried it as the Nth wine app I tried.The App is well designed, and the UI is smooth and simple. But waiting for the label to be recognized may take some time. Perhaps if they scanned the bar code instead, recognition would be instant (as I have seen it in other apps). I just snapped 4 wines, and got one recognition after 10 mins.What’s important to me are the wine reviews, and who is reviewing them. I’d like to hear from experts outside of my friends too, like from CellarTracker which is the best aggregator of wine reviews. Friends may be OK for discovering wines, but I’d like to verify myself.

    1. Ryan Anderson

      Did the wine that popped up have any other reviews?My theory when I first downloaded the app a few months ago was that they were Mechanical Turking labels and then after someone has manually matched a label to a vineyard/varietal/vintage they can start to do image recognition on it.There wasn’t a huge community on it when I first started, so I was mostly just talking to myself. That’s what caused me to stop using it.But Fred’s got a pretty big reach so maybe there will be more people to share wine thoughts with in the near future!

      1. William Mougayar

        I didn’t see Fred as a user when it pulled my friends. But it’s not the quantity of friends that matters, it’s the ones that are “into wine”, and linking to existing reviews (i’m repeating that point) is critical.

        1. fredwilson

          i can’t use it without an android app

          1. William Mougayar

            I love the Feed part. Just seeing what Jeff Clavier and Gary V are drinking was worth the admission.

          2. Joel Goyette

            Check out Cathy Corison’s feed, too, if you haven’t already.

          3. fredwilson

            that’s the part i loveinstagram for wine

      2. William Mougayar

        Here’s my report on time it took to recognize 4 labels I uploaded at the same time:10 min39 min42 min46 minSo this doesn’t help me in the buying process, but it might help the note-taking, after-drinking stage.

        1. awaldstein

          Their recognition is damn good.

          1. William Mougayar

            It worked 100%. And the Feed part is pretty good. Go there and stick what you’ve been drinking 🙂

          2. awaldstein

            Ahh…you’ve nailed it.Recognition rocks. Shares are cool.But the ‘why’ of it from a logical or even impulse ain’t there to be as yet.Someone will crack it. From a different side I think.The anomaly of this is that the largest wine community anywhere is on Facebook. 13K strong and all I need to do is drop a Q about anything, answered. Drop hint that I”m getting off the plane in Stockholm or Paris or Trieste, there are people to show me around.Capture community and you capture the market. Capture a label and you have a database.

          3. pointsnfigures

            How do we bring credibility to that community?

          4. awaldstein

            Communities are held together by collective good will honestly, not much more.In this one there is a significant knowledge base–Somms, bloggers and wine writers, a handful of Masters of Wine, scads of professionals in every piece of the chain, winemakers.What’s interesting is that regions see the cred, want groups of the community to come there, often support it as it is a huge funnel to the global wine world.Does that answer your question?

          5. William Mougayar

            But for arguments sake, the community requirements of the top 1% of wine drinkers (e.g. you and I) are different than the average drinker, no? Those high end communities will intimidate and confuse most people, but they are very useful to you. You need to be at a certain level in order to command the kind of response you are talking about.

          6. awaldstein

            The top 1% are the predominant influencers down the chain till mass market and pure price and brand recognition buys kick in.What I believe is that the top is getting bigger and the influence of this group growing.Sub $15-20 segment of high quality, small producer wines is now a strong piece of assisted selling.Geek is no longer a niche nor a dirty world, just defined a bit differently.

          7. William Mougayar

            Interesting. Definitely the segmentation is shifting, I agree.

          8. awaldstein

            Wine is a unique sector. Massive growth in the US yet it has stymied almost all attempts at changing how commerce is done with the exception of DTC.Amazon has failed twice severely and is en route to a third.$40+Billion last year and growing. $2B in DCT and growing strongly.All ways of thinking now are I think a big off on how to bring this into a connected commerce world.Have a great one.Drinking Slovenian Malvasia tonight

  8. John Fazzolari

    Have to recommend checking out wine-searcher which is a great tool for finding the best value wines. It’s interesting to note why and how restaurants price their wine. Sometimes the best value wine on the menu just tastes a bit better. Also, on the topic of alcohol has anybody tried using Drizly? What was the experience like?

    1. William Mougayar

      Yup, that’s a great resource, and I’ve seen their data is integrated in other apps.

  9. Barry Nolan

    Enjoyed the “Age Restricted” warning Nanny-Apple pops up before you can download.

  10. Daniel Ferreira Polónia

    And what about an intelligent stopper that gives you all the info:”introduction of a chip in an ordinary cork to quickly give all the necessary information about that particular wine”http://translate.google.com…

  11. Sérgio Santos

    They could also be taking advantage of AVIN: http://www.avin.cc

    1. JimHirshfield

      Cool. They should add a QR code maker feature once you grab a AVIN number.

      1. awaldstein

        QR codes on wine labels are a non starter.QR codes on consumer products as well actually.

        1. JimHirshfield


          1. awaldstein

            Who on AVC has a QR reader on the first two pages on apps on their phone?And on the limited real estate on a wine label, this is expensive space.And to most who care, the enthusiasts, unassisted retail shopping is just not how it usually happens.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Google Goggles…I think it came preinstalled on my Nexus One…I might have had to install it on my Nexus 4. But still, fun app that’s tied into my camera app. IOW, when I take a picture, Goggles jumps in if it recognizes something in the picture, including wine labels.As for wine labels, I don’t see the issue:https://www.google.com/sear

          3. awaldstein

            Been wrong many times. For this one, I’ll bet that I’m right though.

          4. LE

            To me it’s really very simple and comes down to something that I mentioned to you quite some time ago.I call it “Arnold’s picks”.I want to walk into a wine store and I want to see a shelf talker (a shelf label) that, when I walk over to the Riesling section, says “Arnold’s pick in Gold Rieslings” ($100 bottle) or “Arnold’s pick in Silver Rieslings” ($60 bottle) or “Arnolds pick in Reislings” ($10 bottle). With a nice cresty label that looks important.I want to just see that when I go to the display. I don’t want an app. I don’t want to talk to someone. I don’t want to read anything. I just want, at the point of purchase, to be pointed in the right direction. [1] Like when I go there tonight. I walk in and boom it’s right there. I have satisficed in my decision. I can’t fall to far. I’ve bought a Sony trinitron.I don’t even care who “Arnold” is. Just the fact that some guy named Arnold manages to get the store to put his name on the display is enough for me to winnow down the choices.I will bet $500 that in a typical test store (which may not be the ones you shop in) this will change buying behavior.If I had more time I’d test this myself with my name. It’s what I call the “assumption of legitimacy” (that is the fact that people assume someone has authority if they see some marker of that).[1] Remember “Sears best”? You could always tell which Sears product to buy by that simple labeling.

          5. awaldstein

            Had more than a few who want to extend my brand to a club.Unsure whether I’ll do this but thanks for the vote of confidence.

          6. LE

            Unsure whether I’ll do thisI think you should give it an iteration try. Low hanging fruit to me. Offer at a few wine stores as an experiment to see if it changes buying behavior. Understanding the time issue but if you can it has a big potential and costs very little (a bunch of printed labels) to test.By the way “vote of confidence” is a good example of how brands develop. I have actually no clue as to how much you actually know about wine at all. First I don’t drink wine, we’ve never met in person, we’ve never spoken over the phone. But everyone else says you know about wine and you talk about wine so you are then the “wine expert”. I don’t even know how much they know about wine either. Not like the NY Times wine critic said “Arnold, a wine expert” and blessed you, right?I’m always fascinated by this type of thing. In a way it’s exactly how Vaynerchuk got started right? He started talking about wine to people who knew less than him and viola he is “mr wine” now (and probably has advanced quite a bit from when he started. Literally out of thin air.Reminds me my very first day in business when I went out to cold call. And the businessman said to me “here you are the expert”. I knew zip. Then the exact same thing happened in my next business. “You are the expert”. Then again. Nobody every questioned my true credentials. Now I actually am good but when I started I always found it amazing how easy it was to be taken seriously with no knowledge at all.

    2. awaldstein

      Andre is one of my best buddies and glad to talk about AVIN and how it could fit into this ecosystem.

      1. Sérgio Santos

        Definitely, André is a great guy with a good deal of experience inside the wine industry.

  12. William Mougayar

    Very impressive team, advisors and investors. https://www.delectable.com/… Maybe if they added some wine experts, integrate with wine-searcher and/or cellartracker, and speed up the wine identification, that would be my feedback.But they nailed the user experience, and I love the “Feed” section.

  13. Jan Schultink

    I use Vivino: https://www.vivino.com/, the exact same idea.The image recognition technology of these apps is great, but the downside is that they encourage users to rate wines in a simple 5-star system, not through a more elaborate description.CellarTracker.com (http://www.cellartracker.com/) started of 10 years ago by early Microsoft employee Eric Levine (https://twitter.com/cellart… is a SAAS tool for wine cellar management and in the process has built up a huge database of verbal tasting notes for wine.I appreciate the expertise of professional tasters like Robert Parker, but I equally appreciate the notes of amateur tasters, and have developed over the years a skill for speed reading Cellar Tracker tasting notes, eye balling notes and making (intuitive) calls who is a skilled taster and who is not. The sheer range a crowd can reach is so much wider than a professional taster.We need the merger of the 2: image recognition + big tasting note database.The wine industry offers too many choices of bad wines. These types of apps will ultimately eliminate bad wine sold at high prices.

    1. William Mougayar

      Exactly. I’m a big fan of CellarTracker. That’s the only thing I refer to that has credibility. They have their own App called Cor.kz, but it doesn’t have bottle recognition, nor social features. I think the 3 killer combos are:Bottle recognition + Database of reviews + Social

      1. Michael Brill

        Cor.kz is actually a third party who just licenses data from CT.

        1. William Mougayar

          You are correct. It says Powered by CellarTracker.

      2. Brad Rosen

        You’re missing “commerce” ie the ability to buy the wine you’re drinking. Delectable offers this, as does http://www.drync.com.

        1. awaldstein

          Simply not true in reality to my knowledge.I applaud this direction and they need to nail, but haven’t as yet.Promise is not from reality with this. There is just no way that they can go down to the real time inventory of shops with disparate pick and ship systems.They can do this with what they might nventory or reserve. That’s not open access, it’s a club in my opinion. Not the same thing.

          1. Brad Rosen

            Disclaimer – I run Drync. We have 30K wines available – nearly all non-allocated items in the NY market, for instance. Some ship out of direct partner inventory, others are sourced. But the net is a very broad catalog of mainstream and long tail wines.

          2. awaldstein

            A pleasure to meet you–seriously!I haven’t used your app for a bit so I’ll relook.Not clear–what’s a direct partner inventory look like in the Tri-State? I go to Vinitaly and am interested in a handful of bottles, then what? You source not from local retailers that can deliver that evening. Distributors can’t ship to customers here. Some piece of the chain is unclear to me.Same on the sourcing side–for example, there’s a ton of chatter today on the web on Friuli and Carso as there is a big meet there of wine people. So I want to buy a bottle of Skerk’s Ograde and Malvasia–where’s the value in that transaction to you?Don’t mean to press, seriously interested as there are hundreds of thousands of SKUs sold here across a disparaging # of non connecting databases. I get you can sell me what you have. How does that work with what I may want?

          3. Salt Shaker

            Arnold, you’re clearly not the target for these services (e.g., Drync, WTSO, Lot 18). They are far more mass (than class) serving the needs of less knowledgeable, lower end consumers (or the 85%). DTC is killing it so clearly there’s a market there, but not one that necessarily serves your (or my) needs. I think many discriminating wine lovers rely on the advice of local wine shops, sommeliers, etc. Being able to engage in that kind of dialogue makes the experience more additive/rewarding. Can a higher end, sustainable biz be replicated on the web w/out sacrificing that intimacy, that’s the big unknown for me.

          4. awaldstein

            I think wine needs to be sold to geek and non geek alike and it’s just hard online.Some thoughts on this:Wine needs to be sold, not bought http://awe.sm/p58mo

          5. Brad Rosen

            Fantastic thread. I’d love to chat more – brad at drync dot com.Short answer is we aim to provide what people want, and what they’ll love. Thus the broad catalog. If it’s in the tri-state market and not allocated or highly obscure, we can probably get it to you. For example, the full Skerk portfolio is available in Drync.

          6. awaldstein

            I’m a Skerk fan big time (him on the right) and traveled to Carso to taste with him.A pleasure.

        2. William Mougayar

          it’s a 4th factor, but not essential for me. I’ve never bought wine online, but maybe it’s just me.

          1. Brad Rosen

            It’s not just you for sure William. But my understanding is that the online segment of wine is now $1b+ and grew 44% last year. And the reality is, if you enjoy a wine while out, it is quite difficult to remember and source it later. That’s the gap – experience-to-purchase – that we’re trying to close.

          2. William Mougayar

            Brad, I have downloaded your app and used it a bit today. I like it. I must say you were the fastest at identifying bottles, faster than Vivino or Delectable. And your e-commerce is right there, but I’m in Canada unfortunately. The last bottle I scanned had to be sent for review to your curation team, but Vivino identified it :)I will continue using Drync.

          3. Brad Rosen

            Sorry about that! Shipping to/in Canada does present a problem for us currently. Re: your scan – if you sent it for curation, we’ll get it next time. Thanks for checking us out and for your comments above.

    2. Patrick Burns

      Agreed RE the need for image recognition along with a robust user-generated ratings database. A step even further would be a curation/recommendation feature to lead ppl to the next wine based on previous “liked” ones. For most consumers, wine choice is often a reactive rather than proactive decision (i.e. choose from what’s on the shelf). But the best way to really explore is to proactively seek out new varietals–or have smart recommendations delivered to you.

      1. Michael Brill

        There is no such thing as collective intelligence for wine. The problem is that nobody really cares what other wine novices think about a wine… otherwise it’ll always regress to Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chard. Professional critics have huge, huge value in their content… they just don’t know how to expose it to consumers (yet!).

        1. Patrick Burns

          True that the majority are novices (just as in any other domain) but there are lots of knowledgeable hobbyists whose expertise is scattered across a fragmented landscape of apps and sites.

          1. Michael Brill

            CellarTracker probably houses the best, but even then it seems far less useful than the aggregate output of the top, say, 20 professional wine critics. The challenge in any case is getting this knowledge to the wine buyer in a non-intrusive, simple, value-add way when they’re in the store.

        2. J Nicholas Gross

          “nobody really cares what other wine novices think about a wine”that comment is incredibly pompous and typical of the wine snobs; the average person drinking wine wants to know how the OTHER average person perceives the experience,not how how some wine “expert” has told them the experience should be – wine experts are good for… wine experts, very little else

    3. fredwilson

      based on this comment thread, i’ve added vivino and drync to my android phone. vivino’s label recognition has let me down a few times already. drync’s label recognition is unbelievable. better by far than delectable or vivino.

      1. Jan Schultink

        OK, so I will check out drync.

      2. Jan Schultink

        I tried Drync quickly, good image recognition, and good integration with buying wines. Totally not social though, unlike Vivino. I think social recommendations are very important in wine.

        1. fredwilson

          i think getting both right is the key to winningone or the other is not enough

  14. JimHirshfield

    Surprised no one asked….What’s a high school kid doing with a wine app on his phone?#CoolParents

    1. fredwilson

      We let him drink with us when we go out to eat. It reinforces that drinking is something done socially with friends and families and is best consumed with a meal, particularly a good meal

      1. JimHirshfield

        Is that legal?Don’t get me wrong, I respect that. It’s how I was brought up. Just curious if it can get you busted or get the restaurant busted.

        1. fredwilson

          I believe (but dont know for sure) that it is not legalBut good restaurants where you are recognized and are good customers will do it happily

          1. julianranger

            Ah, you all need to be more European. My daughter came on our world trip when she was 7 & 8 and by the end she could tell by nose and a sip most white varieties and some reds. Start them young with very small amounts and build up to a glass by 15/16 and you have children who appreciate wine, and don’t treat alcohol as its something to binge on, but something that you do in good company and/or with good food.By the ay if you want the equivalent app which is available on Android now use Vivino – same scanning tech and very good app.

          2. LE

            My kids always actually give me a hard time when I offer to let them taste a drink at the restaurant. It becomes a way for me to talk about when you follow rules and when you don’t and what amount of risk you are taking in a particular situation. That’s important to know in life. You don’t want to be on either side of that in the extreme and you have to seat of the pants understand the nuance of situations.

          3. jason wright

            if not legal then a little risky for a restaurant.

          4. pointsnfigures

            don’t think it’s legal. but, we do it all the time (or did).

          5. Andrew Kennedy

            Underage drinking w parent (on alcohol-selling premises ie restaurant) is allowed in these 10 states: Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, WyomingSo technically illegal in NY & IL.http://drinkingage.procon.o…@pointsnfigures:disqus

      2. Ted Serbinski

        I completely agree with this approach. We plan to do this with our kids as they grow up too.This practice is also legal in Wisconsin (not sure about other states) http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…”Those under the legal drinking age may be served, possess, and/or consume alcohol if they are with a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is of legal drinking age”

        1. markslater

          or you could just be born in england at which point the height of the bar is the only impediment to a fine glass of speckled hen

      3. Salt Shaker

        I was drinking Boone’s Farm apple in HS. As smooth as poison. Nowhere to go but up from there. Thankfully, my palate and taste evolved.

        1. awaldstein

          Today is the very best time in the history of the world to be interested in wine.Amazing access. Thousands of artisanal producers making amazing juice everywhere in a natural way.AND with the web, the ability for the producer from 10,000-100K bottles a year to find a market and a channel and make a living.And honestly, of all the places on the planet to take advantage of this, NY is one of the best places to be.

      4. LE

        Agree and same here. It’s like “nothing to see here move along”.Mentioned before that the only time I ever tried a cigarette was at my Bar Mitsvah. My dad said “sure give it a try”. I took a few puffs, didn’t like it and never had a desire to ever try again. Not forbidden fruit.Liquor has never been big in my family but I remember having wine at passover probably when I was 10, 12 or something like that.

        1. fredwilson

          i smoked a cigarette once in my life. i hated it. never again.

      5. pointsnfigures

        we did the same. When we were in Italy in 2006 my then 13 yr old loved getting poured a glass. Of course, now she is a snob and will only drink French wines!

      6. William Mougayar

        I just followed him, and his reviews and choices are not too shabby. Maybe some of them were with you 🙂 But your picture shows under his stream.

    2. John Revay

      My thoughts exactly….

  15. Carsten

    Being Danish I would recommend Vivino which have had traction in the us as well far as I know. Nice app – also for Android. With a clever monetization feature where you get wines offered from from associated stores regularly that matches your taste

  16. Seth Godin

    I’ve been describing a hypothetical app that would let you take a picture of the wine list at a restaurant and have the phone intelligently sort by value and deliciousness.Of course, all of this data hounding is sucking all the placebo effect out of the wine industry.

    1. fredwilson

      With your following you should spec it, blog it, and surely someone will build it

        1. fredwilson

          would you mind emailing me or tweeting at me when the android and iphone versions come out. a number of my friends are interested in your app

          1. WhatWine

            Will do!

        2. Amy @ Wine4.Me

          Sounds great! What are you using for your wine data to sort by ‘value and deliciousness?’

          1. Michael Brill

            Value is easy. ‘Deliciousness’ is hard because it’s so contextual re what you’re eating. Basic matching algos (acid, tannin, fat, alcohol, density) get you part of the way there but will lose 100% of the time to a food-knowledgeable somm. But the reality is that people just want to be sold and feel good about that purchase. No one’s been able to do that yet in wine.

          2. Amy @ Wine4.Me

            Deliciousness is difficult also because the data that goes into those algorithms is critical. If it’s not objective to begin with, you’re already making a quality judgement for your user– who may not have the same thoughts on quality as you.The same goes with value. We give our users the data and personal ranking so the users can make their own value judgements.

          3. Michael Brill

            “Why should I buy this wine?” Answer #1: “Because this matches your taste profile and here are the attributes of the match….” Answer #2: “There are only 150 cases of this wine made from the near-extinct Nrglot grape from a tiny vineyard in Savoie, the wine maker is the last living Oompa-Loompa and it really picks up the ginger in the Thai-style snapper dish.” Doesn’t matter how much machine learning you throw at the problem if sensory is just a small part of hedonic impression. (All this slightly exaggerated for effect)

          4. 1WineDude

            While value is at least approachable with data (one could, theoretically, use a QPR ratio of critical reviews & favorable mentions against price, for example), deliciousness is entirely subjective. Speaking as someone who tastes thousands of wines per year for reviewing purposes, I can say that the only thing that a critic can do in terms of rating wine is tell you where that wine sits on a continuum of best-to-worst in that person’s experience. So if any judgement calls are to be made within an app, it’s best (I think) to leave those up to the user and his / her network, because that *will* vary (potentially significantly) from person to person, no matter what the overall quality level of the wine.

    2. William Mougayar

      Yup, the pursuit of price/value is a human instinct.

    3. Josh S

      It’s actually already in development and I know the team who is building it. Except you don’t even have to take a picture of the wine list, it’s easier than that 🙂 Happy to connect you if interested.

      1. LE

        The problem with something like this is that you also create a negative in people’s mind by telling them that they are doing something stupid. That they are spending to much money. Or that they can save money and make a “smarter” decision. Which means if they make the wrong decision they are stupid. But dining out is not about rationality it’s about emotion.Emotionally you go to the store and you see the toaster oven that is priced at $175. It looks awesome and you are ready to buy it. But then there is a big sign that says that the one at $145 is the “best value”. So now you’ve got (what do they call it?) cognitive dissonance about the purchase decision which seems wasteful. Hmm you say do I really need the $175 oven. Or can this $145 on do. (Now I know sometimes you bracket pricing with expensive products to make someone buy the middle product but I am not talking about that here.)Anyway I’m not saying it’s a non starter. But I would expect that certain restaurants wouldn’t view this very positively nor would many diners.

        1. Michael Brill

          Not sure I understand the negative bias. If you flip it around and show them where the deals are/aren’t and what’s likely to go with their meal, why would any diner view that as a negative. Personally, I’d feel pretty cool if I found a great wine for my dinner that had a 1.5X markup instead of the average 2.5X, was well-reviewed by a critic I liked and I knew why it would pair well with my food.

          1. LE

            1.5X markup instead of the average 2.5XWhy do you think that the markup relates to anything other than what they pay for the product? Doesn’t that assume many things like the cost of production and what the supplier is charging which is a third dimension to all of this? What if supplier “a” charges $20 (which is high) and it’s 1.5x vs. supplier “b” charges $12 and it’s 2.5x? What makes either $12 or $20 accurate as a base anyway? (This is the basis for inflating prices and offering discounts by the way. Just because someone is giving you 50% “off” msrp doesn’t mean it’s a better deal than no discount at all. (Although it could be.))Not everyone is driven by “deals”. Not everyone gets a positive out of saving money. In fact that can end up being a sickness. When people can’t part with money because they feel they are wasting it. [2] Even if they have so much money that there is no such thing and they would never run out (at these types of spending levels). They have been brainwashed (to be clear I’m not talking about people that have to watch what they spend).The best example I can give is what I call the “fur coat and the woman”.If you are in the business of selling fur coats (or luxury items) and someone comes in and wants to spend $25,000 on a fur they do not let me repeat do not want to be told that the cloth coat at $300 is really only what they need. They want to part with the $$ because it gives them pleasure to do so. Ok so maybe let’s adjust the numbers a bit. Let’s say there is a $25,000 fur that is really a good label and one that is $18,000 but not as good. Maybe they just want to pay extra money and get the label? What’s wrong with that? [2]I’m not saying that there aren’t people who are the opposite which is why I say it depends on who you are marketing to.If you get a buzz out of staying at the Four Seasons and paying $750 per night and you have the money then you have gotten value because you have pleasure from spending that money.[1] One day Fred will fly on private jets.[2] I had a case where I hired an electrician to replace several flourescent fixtures somewhere. He comes to the job site and tells me that “you know I can just replace the ballasts you don’t need an entire fixture”. Then he gives me the price differential and it wasn’t a big deal. But he gave me something to think about and my “hmm don’t waste money” kicked in and I had something to ponder. (Parental voice in head) I told him “just replace the fixture”. But later I still was thinking about whether I did the right thing. Not much but it came to my mind. I wish he just replaced the fixture like he was supposed to and not made me think. (And yes I know all the theories on this and could come up and argue the other side of this as well as far as building trust and all of that.)

          2. Josh S

            In most industries yes, but not in the wine industry. There is a mandated three tier (and in reality a four tier) distribution system in the U.S. for wine. In most cases, a producer sells to a supplier or importer, a supplier sells to a distributor and a distributor sells to a restaurant or retailers. Each has their standard markup. By the time it reaches a retailer or restaurant, and also due to the perception of the product and how it is sold in general, a standard markup is added at the very end before sold to a consumer. Restaurants and retailers price their wines based on a standard markup formula, not based on perceived quality or value. Same thing for every player in the entire supply chain until it reaches the consumer.Many restaurants and retailers simply use an excel spreadsheet where one column is their cost and another column is cost times some markup factor, which gives them the price they will charge.The opaqueness of quality, price and value in the wine industry is why consumers think they are being taken advantage of.

          3. LE

            Well then if that is the case (and yes I’ve heard that and believe you) then blind taste tests should be able to prove that with wine, right? And I know they would at the extremes most likely but would they in the middle? (A serious question).

          4. Michael Brill

            So think of it as relative to retail (best/average/list) price. If Wine A is 2X retail and Wine B is 3X retail, all other things being equal, you will have a strong bias to A.Almost everyone is motivated by deals and by value. I agree that a deal on something you don’t want is no deal at all because you’re not deriving value from it. Nominal price matters, but especially in wine discounting is a HUGE motivator at every level. There is no glory in overpaying. Its importance as a buying criterion diminishes as others increase. e.g., buying a wine where only 25 cases were made or a wine that is highly-aligned to a deep psychological bent (e.g,. natural wines or from a winery where you have a personal relationship). But really all of that is a rounding error in the $230B of wine that is sold every year.I love your example of the electrician and this goes to what Arnold said about “wine is sold, not bought.” The paradox of choice is a bitch… and that’s why we need to be told what to buy. Whether it’s from the somm or an app, just displaying a bunch of information isn’t useful. imho, to be useful the app needs to follow a sales-type process which can elicit our intent, winnow that down to a few alternatives, handle our objections and then make us feel great about our final decision so we’re not stuck with ongoing anxiety. A sales rep or a somm can do that. Hopefully in the not so distant future, software can do that.

    4. JimHirshfield

      Don’t wine about it. Build it. 😉

    5. LE

      have the phone intelligently sort by value”Value” to me is not the way to deliciousness. It’s like reading consumer reports when buying electronics. Doesn’t take into account subjective measures reducing everything down to numbers.Take the $24 sushi roll that I mentioned in another comment. To me I will either like it or I won’t. The fact that the $14 Sweet Dragon roll is a better value is really meaningless to me. The truth is I don’t need either I can just eat at home if I want better value.

    6. Michael Brill

      (If you’re up to using an early beta of this, send me an email at [email protected]). Actually, all the data hounding strengthens the placebo effect in wine – exploiting buying psychology (e.g., a $50 wine always tastes better than $15 wine even if it’s the exact same bottle) becomes easier with structure.

    7. WhatWine

      The app you are describing is not hypothetical Seth.We will release it soon. You can register as a beta-tester here: http://www.whatwineapp.com

  17. awaldstein

    Welcome to the wasteland where the web and mobile meet wine.And the graveyard where hundreds of apps get used almost not at all and where now way over a $100M of funding has been invested in clubs (think Lot 18) and scores of apps. There are no winners at any scale as yet.To date that is–and the romance and uniqueness of wine and its friction with finding a connected thread outside of DTC (now $2B and exploding), eludes all players to day.That being said, it’s like the promise of romance and I keep wanting it to happen.I think Delectable is the best of the run to date for reasons Fred grabbed onto. Their partnership with VinTank is smart as well. And Vivino is in #2 spot.Here’s the rub. I’ve tried every one and I”m as tech geeky and wine geeky as they come.They don’t get used–much. And by me very little.Of the some 15-20,000 people in my extended wine networks, which includes thousands of the trade in multiple countries, over a thousand bloggers, and scads of enthusiasts, no one, including me uses them consistently.There are three pieces to this:-IDing stuff is cool and critical. Don’t mean bubka’s unless it connects in some way to purchase and figuring that out, is simply not there in most any form. Glad to discuss at length the why of this but to start read Eric’s piece in The Pour yesterday–> http://www.nytimes.com/2014…-Without community, none of this works and a shared label, without connection to a transaction and without context to a community is just a gesture on the social nets. Cracking community in the app world is still a frontier.-Without both above and without a touch point of behavior, good intentions become legacy great ideas. It is simply not a natural thing to use your phone (for a bunch of reasons) to do this.Sorry for the length.To end. There are a few excellent trade apps where at trade tastings you can ID and order from an app. They don’t get used. A buddy in Europe developed a smart wine glass so that at tastings, as you walk around and taste, you get emailed everything you tasted with a purchase link as soon as you leave. Low tech winner big time.

    1. fredwilson

      I knew you’d have a few thoughts Arnold 🙂

      1. awaldstein

        Rushing inbetween meeting so blurted it out at a Starbucks!

        1. William Mougayar

          Sorry you were forced to go into Starbucks. You saw this I posted on my Facebook?

          1. awaldstein

            No problemo. A few people alerted me to this and I just couldn’t not weigh in.I LOVE this topic. And while I’m a pragmatist I am forever challenged by the unique nature of wine and marketing it.

          2. William Mougayar

            Waiting for your v2.0

          3. awaldstein

            We shall see.Right now I’d love to launch my partially conceived transparency project as a non profit honestly.

          4. Guest

            Unique, indeed.

          5. Anne Libby

            Yikes, that was me. I’m not sure why there are so many photos attached to that post, and why I can’t delete any of them — or the post itself.Apparently, my attempt at humor was ill advised!

          6. JamesHRH

            Snobby, snob snob!

          7. William Mougayar

            coffee, chocolate, wine, cheese….these fine things need to be authentic, and not mass produced.

          8. jason wright

            you got her phone number?

          9. William Mougayar

            you’re bad

          10. jason wright

            i’m fluent in Ideogram.

    2. William Mougayar

      Good points Arnold. But I don’t need to instantly buy every wine I tag or discover. It’s like a rolling list of knowledge and it adds to what one knows about wine, which is never ending as you well know.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Agreed, but I think his point is that commerce like that needs to be integrated and used as regards the viability of the company that makes the app.

      2. awaldstein

        There is no model without being somewhere in the transaction chain.

        1. William Mougayar

          You’re thinking from the app owner point of view. I’m thinking as a user.

          1. awaldstein

            Honestly the best answer is simply to move to New York;)Live in TriBeCA and shop at Chambers Street or Frankly Wines. Where you can drink at 10 Bells, where we have Somms like Pascalene at Rouge Tomate who are just changing the world each and every day.

          2. Michael Brill

            It applies to users as well. Assuming we’re talking about the 99%, people have not engaged with non-transactional information/apps. The huge problem is figuring out what to buy, not tracking a few notes.

          3. William Mougayar

            I think if the notes are well written, they are useful.

        2. PhilipSugar

          I agree. I have thoughts on this.

          1. awaldstein

            Glad to hear them.

          2. PhilipSugar

            I was going to email, but I’ll put it out here. If I was going to monetize I would have a service where a store could upload their current inventory, if a customer came in looking for a wine and the store had it fine, they wouldn’t use the service, but if they didn’t have it they could enter in the wine and find similar wines with similar stories.Then no different than Open Table you can charge a transaction fee because you’ve enabled a sale, and actually you could say look its not a they would have bought anyway, you didn’t have what they asked for, this is pure incremental revenue. Yes you could have fraud issues, and uploading inventory is a pain, and I don’t know how many shops keep that data in decent format.Then you would have to incentivize consumers like you to say you know this wine is kind of similar to this one, give a review which you probably could do by awarding points when people purchased the one you recommended and giving a percentage back to the reviewer in the form of…..a bottle of wine.In my mind what makes wine interesting is that you can explore many different takes and variations on a theme. Of course they are not the same, but that’s ok. You are open to exploration you just want an idea of what you are going to get.

          3. awaldstein

            People just need to feel comfortable. It’s that simple.I was in a shop the other evening watching this successful, young professional obviously very uncomfortable deciding on a $30 bottle of wine. This is the norm.And that same individual will buy it, take it to a dinner, love it, feel no need to record what they liked, go to the same shop and have the exact same experience again and again.Therein lies the opportunity to me.

          4. Philip Trotter

            re: Monetizing..I think the opportunity lies in remove the pain uncertainty for those that do not know wine and join all the dots to make discovering, sharing, enjoying wine simple, and pleasurable as drinking it is.You can focus on explaining but that alone doesn’t reward over time. The app developers need to team with vendor and distribution points / be it safeways/trader joes at one (the $20 market) end or high end wine merchants at the other. Take my drinking history and map that to an incentive – generate me a wine reminder based on my recent favourites or based on others favourites matched to mine based on a specified budget, generate a discount voucher at point of sale for a retailer or create opportunity to order direct from vinter for an event, let me send someone a favourite bottle as a present directly from vinter etc. If I Let me share lists with family so they know what wines i like and they like and incentivize those around holidays, anniversaries etc. If I am planning a dinner party / let me put in the planned menu, lets say I am making a curry, cross compare that with my friends tastes and suprise me by recommending and letting me order a Cotes du Jura from Julain Labets or a vine juane. or something I would not usually think of but friends and I may love and goes with the meal. I think the key is to solve the remove the uncertainty and reward with discovery. That is an app and a service i would pay for and its a white label opportunity for an app developer to provide distributors, merchants and vine yards.

          5. awaldstein

            I’ve drawn your picture many times on white boards. It’s a telling one.It breaks to me as you are imagining an online world. The answer lies at the intersection of off and on, at the edges of a variety of communities that bridge not just the wine world.And it gets tied in knots around the insanity of three tiered distribution. One of the reason that DTC clubs are exploding is that they are so so simple on one hand, massive marketing challenge on the other.And honestly, most of what you draw–and it’s a lovely picture–is reality, just not on your phone or in one place.Thoughtful comment–thanks.Glad to hear more if this is a project you have in mind.

          6. Amy @ Wine4.Me

            I couldn’t agree with you more, Philip.I have felt that pain & frustration in just wanting to find a bottle of wine I’ll enjoy in a store and at a restaurant, so I’m creating a solution for non-wine experts: Wine4.Me is an app for casual wine drinkers which learns personal preference and ranks hundreds of widely-distributed wines personally for our users, giving prices, so users can make their own value judgments.Tell us what you like, Wine4.Me will tell you what else you will you like so you can find more options and just enjoy that bottle of wine without the fuss.Wine4.Me’s wine data is based on sensory science, not critics’ scores or subjective reviews.We’re launching this spring: http://Wine4.Me

          7. Amy @ Wine4.Me

            I couldn’t agree with you more, Philip.I have felt that pain & frustration in just wanting to find a bottle of wine I’ll enjoy in a store and at a restaurant, so I’ve created a solution for non-wine experts: http://Wine4.Me is an app for casual wine drinkers which learns personal preference and ranks hundreds of widely-distributed wines personally for our users, giving prices, so users can make their own value judgments.Tell us what you like, Wine4.Me will tell you what else you will you like so you can find more options and just enjoy that bottle of wine without the fuss.Wine4.Me’s wine data is based on sensory science, not critics’ scores or subjective reviews.We’re launching this spring.

          8. Andrew Kennedy


          9. Amy @ Wine4.Me

            I couldn’t agree with you more, Philip. I have felt that pain & frustration in just wanting to find a bottle of wine I’ll enjoy in a store and at a restaurant, so I’ve created a solution for non-wine experts: Wine4.Me is an app for casual wine drinkers which learns personal preference and ranks hundreds (And counting) of widely-distributed wines personally for our users, giving prices, so users can make their own value judgments.Tell us what you like, Wine4.Me will tell you what else you will you like so you can find more options and just enjoy that bottle of wine without the fuss.Wine4.Me’s wine data is based on sensory science, notcritics’ scores or subjective reviews.We’re launching this spring: http://wine4.me

    3. Josh S

      Arnold,You’ve definitely nailed it and it has been one of the perpetual issues with the combination of technology and wine over the last two decades. A lot in the graveyard and a lot of money spent, in my opinion, on businesses that were focused on connecting with oenophiles and not the 95% of everyday wine drinkers. Even with Lot 18 and other D2C that still exist today, they are focused on small producer wineries and higher priced bottles, but that’s not what the majority of consumers are looking for. I see a lot of investors historically in this space investing in things they think are cool and useful to them, but don’t have a broader market appeal.We’re taking a different focus on educating consumers directly at point of influence, in the restaurant, at the table. It’s not a solution that is going to reach every consumer, and we have other ways of doing that. We’re working hard on improving the beverage data to make it easier for technology companies in the future to reach consumers, but more importantly for suppliers, distributors and restaurants/retailers to connect directly with their customers rather than putting technology in the middle that 80% of people will never use, and of the 20% that do, only 1% of them are active users.

      1. awaldstein

        True–that the majority of approaches focuses on the top 15% (don’t think 5 is correct any longer) of the market. The reason is that this group cares, are the people who read blogs and sip the story with the wine. They are targetable and there are real dollars here.Your second para is not clear to me. You are talking about a sub $20 market predominantly. You are implying that your goal is to educate the low cost, impulse buyer and the distribution chain that feeds them.Naked in the US is doing this as well to some degree.I just don’t get how you will sell data and create a meaningful connection with a market that has price as a quality metric and and an even more pronounced case of amnesia than even the enthusiasts themselves.Glad to me convinced otherwise so contact me if you’d like.

        1. Josh S

          My point in the second paragraph, and you’re right, is about reaching the sub $20 market. People that don’t drink wine at all because it is an intimidating experience or the people who don’t want to spend a lot of money because they aren’t knowledgeable and don’t want to spend $50 on a bottle when they know nothing about it. The goal is to get these people to drink wine when they otherwise wouldn’t have and influence them to spend more per bottle when they do. My point is I think there is more opportunity in growing the $ share of the bottom 85%, then extracting money from a relatively finite 15% of active wine lovers.Would love to have a discussion some time, I’ll shoot you a message.

          1. awaldstein

            You are the pro, I’m just the geek.This sounds like Club W to me a bit of course.And–if you are at that market strata it pays to take a look at the mico brewery phenom, which is freaking exploding and if anyone understands the relationship between local and micro brands, it most certainly is them.

          2. Josh S

            Not familiar with Group W.But yes, craft beer and craft spirits. Craft whiskeys are having a huge surge right now.

          3. awaldstein

            Sorry a fave topic and running through the slush and dreck of NY today.Club W–typo.Yup, know the artisanal spirit world in NY well. Friends with a number of them.

          4. Jordan Elpern-Waxman

            What do you think of Untappd? As a beer geek (and founder of beerdreamer.com) I see it being used a lot in the beer community.

          5. LE

            because they aren’t knowledgeable and don’t want to spend $50 on a bottle when they know nothing about it.I will guess that the feedback loop of pleasure for $50 wine simply doesn’t exist.If it did, you would feel confident when buying a $50 bottle of wine, getting pleasure from it, and then you would repeat. And there would be many $50 (or pick your price) bottles of wine.In other things that feedback loop exists. People buy clothing all the time. They get a positive feeling (or comments from others) and there are entire shopping malls and industries related to fashion. $50 is nothing in shopping, right?Same with dining out. The cost of dishes at restaurants hasn’t stopped people from spending a ton of money and usually most must feel that they get their monies worth because the do the same action repeatedly. (Forgetting as I’ve said the entertainment and atmosphere part of dining out..)The local sushi restaurant here (in the suburbs) just started to offer a $24 sushi roll. Maybe that is common in NYC but not here. I will try it. If it’s good I will buy it again. My guess is it will be good. It will immediately taste awesome to me. (Just a guess..) I will find value. And the $24 won’t mean anything.So the question is what is it about wine that requires opinion or commentary to enhance? Because that is part of the head game (the party in your brain) with the product. At least on a mass level.I’m not saying that there aren’t differences in wine that you can taste. There are. But whatever the taste difference is isn’t motivating people to spend lots of money on expensive wine (the masses I mean). But yet the masses do spend tons of money on dining out.

          6. Josh S

            I don’t have a complete answer for you, but I do know that in a restaurant setting, when the everyday consumer is more educated on wine, can see a picture of the label before ordering and read about it, they are more likely to order wine than they otherwise would have and will spend much more on what they order. Our product at Uncorkd proves that over and over again, in every restaurant we’re used in, they dramatically increase their wine sales.Now the underlying causes, I can’t say definitively, but there are probably many. I’d guess they include:1. Wine has a bad cultural perception of being snobby in the U.S., less so in other countries.2. Consumers feel like they are getting taken advantage of. They know there is big markup and sometimes feel they are being robbed.3. There is an information gap, in both pricing transparency and quality. People will buy expensive clothes because they may have a sense that the quality is higher. But people may not spend $50 on a bottle of wine, because they don’t know if they are getting their money’s worth.There are probably many more reasons, but I believe there is an opportunity to introduce the feedback loop to wine drinkers. Just like 20 years ago, you would have thought the same thing about beer drinks. Beer drinkers didn’t have a feedback loop for good beer, they drank Miller and Bud. But now a mass market of people are willing to spend $10-$20 for a bottle of beer which would have been unthinkable not too long ago.

          7. pointsnfigures

            I always thought most wine that is purchased will be drunk within one day of purchasing. Maybe that’s the pain point apps ought to be pursuing?

    4. Jim Peterson

      Great insights here beyond the wine industry.

    5. Tom Labus

      great post

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Tom.Wine is so so tough business wise and just so freaking wonderful as a lens into people, culture, taste and the planet itself.

    6. Richard

      Great additon, awesome just how much insight and clarity a power player in the trenches of a sector can provide.

      1. awaldstein


    7. Salt Shaker

      I love reading Eric’s column in the NYT but I take exception w/ his comment to not “write about wines that are widely available nationally.” Writing about obscure or limited production wines that are fundamentally inaccessible to most certainly doesn’t serve his readers well. The lone beneficiary is the producer. Wish he’d widen his net a tad.Delectable is a novelty act, like many apps on the web. You share/show w/ friends and there’s def a “cool factor,” but too often there’s no conversion.

      1. awaldstein

        On Eric–I’m not with you. When he writes about someone like Hank from La Clarine, maybe 10K bottles and a rockstar btw, you call your local artisanal shop and they say no chance.But they talk and sell you something from Donkey & Goat, Broc, Montebruno–and you are the winner by having a new look at a different kind of excellence from a different place pique your interest.And yes–I’m spoiled as I have the best shops probably in the country 100 feet from my subway stop.On the second point, agree completely.

    8. Ana Milicevic

      Arnold, how do you keep track of your wines today? I used to love having a wine scrap book (a true label design showcase) but that stopped being practical long ago. What’s the biggest barrier to entry for apps like this one – perhaps an existing manual/analog process that works just fine?

      1. awaldstein

        I should turn this into a post.For stuff in my ‘cellar’ which is basically what I have in storage and the few hundred around the apartment, just excel.Scarily, for what I see out there, I snap pics and jot notes and honestly remember a lot.Here’s the rub about Delectable, a really good app. They’ve done a great job. But we, as people, don’t need encyclopedic lists of what we’ve drunk, we simply need a way to remember the best (that’s why I started blogging) but mostly to feel comfortable in what we will buy next. Wine is a vintage and it is gone. Unless you’re a professionally, what do you need to know?To me, wine is the occasion in itself. To 99.9% of the people in the world this is simply not true. It is part of the fabric of something else.I know that many of my friends remind me that I live in a bubble where I buy a lot of wine, one bottle at a time from experts down the street.These apps are targeting the world of unassisted buying for a population that honestly doesn’t shop with details or concern. I think it’s an idea looking for a market that isn’t there.Not to mention the horrors of monetizing these apps.

        1. JamesHRH

          I agree.I like wine but I am not very knowledgeable. This market is served by industry pros telling me what to drink after 2 or 3 questions.I know that does nothing for you, but you are in the 1%!

          1. Joel Goyette

            @jameshrh:disqus Are you satisfied with receiving a recommendation after 2 or 3 questions, or do you see this as a fundamental flaw?

          2. JamesHRH

            Satisfied, usually.Any decent restaurant needs to have wait staff that can answer 2/3 questions and make a good recommendation.

        2. Joel Goyette

          @awaldstein:disqus Do you use CellarTracker, too? Excel is great for inventory purposes, but given the value you place on community, CT seems like a more applicable tool.

          1. awaldstein

            It’s a great tool and know it pretty well.The interesting thing, as geeky as I am, is that my community connection is less around a particular SKU as the social object and more about the overall love of what wine in general brings to a world view.And trust me I can get really technical about any particular bottle.#winelover community of 13K + is a case in point as interestingly enough, it’s more context than really content and bottle talk itself.

          2. Joel Goyette

            Beautifully articulated. This is a major reason why the industry as a whole has had a difficult time with marketing.Speaking of which, who do you think some of the best “marketers” in the industry are (brands, importers, retail, etc)?In my mind, Kermit Lynch (https://kermitlynch.com) has done a fantastic job telling a social and personality-driven story in a world of tasting notes and oak specs.

    9. kenberger

      Just posted separately: Vivino is #1 for me. The camera functionality on the galaxy gear watch brings the wow factor Fred mentioned up even higher.

    10. jbensamo

      wow @awaldstein:disqus I don’t think the connoisseur or journalization is the case you should be looking at here.@fredwilson:disqus call to Denis?4SQ needs to tell me which wine to pick next time I step into a restaurant based on my previous feedback. Now that’s a lot of people who would start to know which wine to pick instead of randomly picking “a red” on the menu

  18. Josh S

    A lot of really great comments here! I’m the founder of Uncorkd (http://www.uncorkd.biz), which focuses primarily on at the table technology (ie. iPad wine and beverage menus) and improving the supply chain with technology, but one of the greatest challenges facing the whole alcoholic beverage industry is the lack of standardized data. A lot of the existing resources and websites have terribly inaccurate information and there is a lot to be desired from the data. The extent of garbage information and lack of standardization makes the entire supply chain from producer to supplier to distributor to retailer/restaurant, extremely inefficient. Not to mention, the opaqueness and information gap for consumers at point of purchase (in a restaurant or at retail); most consumers are ill-informed to make purchasing decisions on any rational criteria (a la ordering the second cheapest wine on a wine list because they don’t know anything else).There’s a ton of great innovation in the wine and beverage space now and it’s a $200 Billion industry, so it’s surprised me to see the lack of VC investment. We’ve ended up building our own high quality beverage database that fills many of the gaps and other people like Eric LeVine at CellarTracker, the two companies mentioned here using image recognition and a few other companies are also doing great work. But there is a long way to go to bring this consumer product category to the 21st century in line with other product categories, and a lot of money to be made in the process. I always love a good conversation on the lack of data, technology and transparency in the wine industry!

    1. Michael Brill

      100% of VC wine investments to date have failed. I’m not saying this has to be the case but empirically it hasn’t turned out so well for investors.

      1. Josh S

        You’re right, the VC investment into this space has completely failed. But as I wrote in a comment above, I think it’s because they’re investing in the wrong thing. They’re investing in things they think are cool or target the very top tier of wine drinkers, not the 85% of the market that could really be influenced and grow the market share. There’s a huge opportunity to target the supply chain side as well as grow the 85% of uninformed consumers, rather than try to extract money from a stagnant 15%.

        1. Michael Brill

          I guess my feeling is that if you can’t extract money from the 15% (who, btw, probably represent 80% of wine sales in this country!) then the 85% laggards don’t matter. The reality is that almost *nobody* knows how to buy wine – even the top 4% of the US market that buys 1/3 of the wine (by $). That seems like the problem that needs to be solved first (independent of any supply chain opportunities you may see).

          1. Josh S

            Yea, I hear you, but I think there are ways to educate and reach those 85% so that they eventually account for more than 20% of sales. And that’s really my point, I’d rather grow that market and make the beverage industry $500B, rather than extract dollars from consumers who are already buying most of the wine.I personally, and I’m in the minority based on the products and apps that exist and get funded in this industry, would rather grow the pie than try to take a bigger slice of the same sized pie. And I think one of the problems to be solved is that consumers equate quality with price, which impacts the 85% much more than the 15% of consumers.

          2. Michael Brill

            The 15% are *more* confused than the 85%. The 85% grab a bottle because it’s $7 and has a bird on it. It’s you and me and everyone on this board that is the market – and *all* of us are confused when we go to buy wine or open up a list. That seems like a problem worth solving. However, that is not the problem that I’m seeing companies try to solve. Most apps are focused on post-consumption tracking with some tenuous transactional story.

          3. Josh S

            I don’t necessarily agree that there isn’t a big opportunity with the 85%. But I do completely agree that the problem with most apps is focused on post-consumption rather than being involved in the everyday process of drinking and purchasing wine. I think that’s why we’re seeing success so far in educating people at the table with our iPad wine menus at Uncorkd. If technology was more involved in everyday life versus requiring people to remember to open an app and make notes after they drink something, there would be much more success.

          4. Joel Goyette

            @disqus_2V60l525Ug:disqus Agree with your thesis: need more education.I recently started a wine education group in the Bay Area and have had overwhelming interest in attending. Members have expressed an excitement for learning, as well as to become more informed (and confident) consumers.

  19. harvestgrand

    Semi related story, I went in to a PA liquor store and asked if they carried a particular wine. They said they never heard of it. I showed them a picture of the wine label, they said, Oh, yeah it is over there.

  20. William Mougayar

    It’s fitting that today is Valentine’s Day, so here’s to all those celebrating it with a glass (or two) of wine. Cheers!

    1. awaldstein

      We are closing down early, opening some Cremant de Jura most likely and settling in to watch the new season of House of Cards.

      1. William Mougayar

        Cremant ! Mmmm . You gave me an idea.

        1. awaldstein

          Glad to help.See–you didn’t even need an app.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      I am not a wine person but had the pleasure of celebrating my best friend’s wedding yesterday with a delicious luncheon that included a good tasting white. I still can’t bring myself to enjoy reds, however.

      1. William Mougayar

        nice. what don’t you like about the reds? maybe start with lighter ones?

        1. Matt Zagaja

          This is a difficult one to articulate, I would say maybe the bitterness or intensity of the drink. Whites taste smoother.For what it’s worth I grew-up in a household of fussy eaters. My palate was rather limited then. I greatly expanded my palate in college (started drinking coffee, spirits, etc.) and have to agree the trick is to find something agreeable and then work from there. I suppose I lack motivation because I’m more of a beer drinker so when I order on my own I usually pick out a craft beer that sounds like it would be to my liking. If you have a recommendation of something worth trying for a starter in the reds, let me know and I’ll have to pick it up.

  21. Elia Freedman

    I have a theory that the fewer boxes an application has for entry the more likely it is to be used. Think Google’s or Twitter’s single box versus iTunes’ 20 boxes or Highrise’s multitude of complexity. If you can get rid of all boxes even better!http://eliainsider.com/2012

  22. ErikSchwartz

    It may be just me but I find the whole photographing your food in restaurants thing as kind of obnoxious. In fact I try to leave my smartphone at home when I am dining out and only bring my feature phone so I can concentrate on the people I am with instead of trying to impress my “followers” (many of whom are spambots).

  23. Harry DeMott

    Check out Drync. Another app out of Boston. Really good guy running the place. Does a great job with label recognition. Same sort of business model – tries to get you to buy wine, with the dream of getting a ton of data on everyone.My favorite of all time was Tasting Room – run by a good friend Tim Bucher. Great consumer proposition I thought – trying all sorts of small tastes of wine – essentially bringing the tasting room to you. But it was a very hard marketing problem. They got absorbed into Lot 18.

    1. fredwilson

      drync’s label recognition blows the others’ away. i was really impressed by it.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup. I tested 3 of them on the same bottles, & Drync was the fastest, faster than Vivino. But Vivino recognized a bottle that Drync didn’t. But neither have the social features of Delectable. If Delectable had Drync’s speed and added the CellarTracker API, they’re set.

        1. fredwilson

          i agree

  24. kenberger

    IPhone-only=not deserving of this post love, when we have Vivino, which is excellent on android and even works with the Gear watch’s camera!

  25. JamesHRH

    Recently signed up for Uber.LOVED the ‘take a pic of your CC’ upload feature. You will see this in a lot of places, I think.

  26. Joel Goyette

    The label recognition capabilities remind me a lot of the Waygo translation app which uses the camera to translate Chinese to English in real-time (http://www.waygoapp.com/).@sethgodin:disqus I’d buy the app you describe in a heartbeat. Could see the same camera + overlay technology being applied to achieve the same thing. @disqus_2V60l525Ug:disqus Would love to connect with the team building to learn more/alpha test.

  27. OurielOhayon

    it is a great app. the funny part is that OCR on wine has been done for a while in the app store. but it is the very first time it is done for “free” and with a social layer on top of it..

  28. JMB

    I’ve been using Vivino (same idea) for a while. Great way to keep track of names I can’t pronounce.

  29. Tiffany Stone

    I use a similar app called Drync! I really like it and love the option to purchase right away after the wine is identified!

    1. Guest


  30. OurielOhayon

    Fred. Update. I just discovered drync app and it blows delectable In speed of recognition. And even experience. Strongly recommend https://itunes.apple.com/us

    1. fredwilson

      i will see if they have an android app. as everyone around here knows, i don’t use iPhone.the key is combining the recognition (faster is better) with a beautiful and social feed.it’s both, not either, that will make the winner

    2. fredwilson

      Drync is amazing. it’s label recognition is instant. really impressive.

      1. OurielOhayon

        told you 🙂 wine is not my specialty but apps are!i want to love delectable but really their OCR (or whatever) is way to slow to become a reflex…

      2. OurielOhayon

        drync has now social feeds. will bypass deletable in global experience

  31. scottythebody

    Vivino is what I use right now. It has the scan-a-label feature, but what amazed me and made me decide to stick with Vivino over others (for now) is the service of the Vivino team.I live in Austria, and we have hundreds of wines here that never make it outside the country, are tiny producers, and we also have to acknowledge the fact that Austria is a usable data wasteland. Crowd-sourced stuff here basically sucks: Foursquare, Yelp, even Google Maps etc. never work well here because they don’t find anything.The data desert factor makes it so that Vivino sometimes fails to find my wines real-time. But what happens in almost all of those cases is that somebody at Vivino HQ does research and sends me an email when they’ve matched my wine (and automatically adds it to my list)!Cork’d could have run this category if they had been mobile (or mobile had been as huge when they were around).The biggest issue so far with wine apps and services is that the networks are never valuable (i.e. I don’t have any friends in the service that I can trust their ratings, etc.)

  32. Roberto Bonanzinga

    DISCLOSURE: I am an investor in Vivino (Significantly larger user base and wine database and with an Android App that you can test).I love this space. I grew up in Italy and I learned about wineries when I was a child: I used to look forward September when with my family I could go to to press grape with my feet. So many wineries…so many wines.Finally we have a technology (smartphones) and an approach (crowdsourcing) that can allow us to build the largest database of wines on earth.What will be the implications?

    1. fredwilson

      hi Roberto. i’ve been using vivino for the past few days based on this comment thread. it’s great that they have an android app. it’s nice. but the label recognition doesn’t work as well as its competitors. drync’s label recognition is amazing. they should figure out how drync does it and copy that

  33. Peter V. T. Schlegel

    I tried Delectable Wine but am significantly more impressed by Vivino. Not only does the label recognition feel far more accurate but the detailed stats are pretty awesome as well.BUT – wine is a sensitive topic (judging from the comments) so I’ll let everyone make their own verdict.Disclaimer: Am a friend of Heini, Vivino’s founder so slightly biased.

  34. ConversationAgent

    I’ve been using Vivino for iPhone for about a year. Its functionality is very similar (if not the same) as Delectable. Take a pic of the label, Vivino scans it and identifies the wine (It also gives you the chance to change date, if it gets it wrong), and to enter a new wine (not in the database, yet) by scanning the label and entering the info manually.I like it because it allows me to store a current listing of red wines I enjoyed (mostly from France, Italy, and Portugal) and I have often used it in store (Penn Station has a lovely wine store by the Amtrak tracks on the lower level) to decide which wine to get by scanning labels. So it’s #1 for me 😉

  35. Jordan Elpern-Waxman

    This is a fascinating conversation for a craft beer lover. In the beer world there are no paywalls (@pointsnfigures:disqus), just a fantastic amount of freely available information on Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com. Do the scores tell everything? Not at all (@awaldstein:disqus). There’s still a ton of subjectivity, as well as the systemic error inherent in the limitations of any ontology, but the data is all there for folks like alcoholgenome.com and http://homepages.cae.wisc.e… to mine to the best of their ability.Anyways, it’s interesting to watch a conversation about the web and wine with no mention of craft beer. It always strike me as strange that VCs and investors are so ready to leap into the wine world, when craft beer is growing 20% yoy and beer is a $100Bn market with rapidly rising price points on the high end.I’m curious what people here think of beer apps around social and logging. There’s an app called Untappd which has gained a lot of traction in the beer geek community. I’m early in my playing around in this space so I love absorbing the wisdom of this crowd.

  36. george

    Not too shabby but they need the iTunes like platform to make the experience really flow. Fundamentally, this is why most apps never truly monetize. They need the whole widget to succeed.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve tried all three nowDrync does the best label recognition but is aimed at selling wineDelectable has the beat social feed which is what i want a wine app for (discovery and discussion)Vivino has the largest user base but I like it the least

  37. Jennifer Green

    But all of this is possible because of a very cool feature that my son calls Shazam for Wine Labels. When you want to add a wine to Delectable, you take a photo of the wine label andYour Place to Discover the Worlds Wines

  38. Jim Kittridge

    Steve, I’m going to be visiting NYC to meet with a few PR firms and VC’s. Would love to show you some of the stuff that we are working on that is going to change how you shop for wine.

  39. fredwilson

    build it

  40. pointsnfigures

    Bake a QR code into the loaf.

  41. JimHirshfield

    Doh! Dough!