Vintelligence -- The Digital Sommelier
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Vintelligence -- The Digital Sommelier

I was a software developer long before I became a wine writer. As far as I am concerned, both software and wine are out there to enhance the human experience. There is a great deal of noise out there about software—apps—but come to think of it there is also a great deal of noise about wine. Yes, we enjoy wine with our physical equipment, our senses, we sense and feel wine, but, more often than not, we choose wine with our computational abilities, our thinking brains. The appropriate app can optimize this task, just as the proper glass makes all the difference in our enjoyment of the wine we choose.

Vintelligence is an application designed for wine retailers and restaurants to help customers zero in on the wine they need. The app dovetails with promotions and sales, improves inventory and product mix, enhances customer loyalty, and in general raises the level of wine intelligence for both the business and the customer. With the package, the retailer can create a kiosk to provide tasting notes, ratings, geographical and varietal information, and food pairings for a full inventory of wine. A mapping feature allows the retail customer to find any wine on the shelves. Choice parameters include price, intensity of aromas and flavors (fresh and fruity, smooth and elegant, bold and complex), aromatic and flavor notes (spicy, berry, floral, etc.), and, of course, food pairing guidance. The idea is to maximize up-selling and cross-selling opportunities by involving the customer in what is essentially a wine-learning experience.

After several screens that gather information, Vintelligence reveals a screen for each individual wine. The package gives the customer information on the wine: price, flavor profile, grape, specific ratings, alcohol content, and a full description. The result is a highly personalized wine recommendation that does not require extensive staff training. I can tell you that I would readily use this helper—as much as I know about wines, I can still find myself in a state of sensory overload when I enter a wine shop, and I tend to argue with sales personnel when they reveal ignorance about wine basics. The combination of “vin” with “intelligence” seems a measure of progress in my book.


Verdict: An innovative navigation tool for the vast world of wine.


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Wine and software can make the most of each other.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award


Vintelligence -- The Digital Sommelier

One of a number of Vintelligence screens, this one for food and wine matching.


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