The Digital Sommelier
In an age where consumers are empowered by (and subsequently demand) information, brands need to make it easy for consumers to find and then digest that information.
Restaurants with comprehensive wine bars, in particular, have recently done a great job of satisfying consumers’ thirst… for knowledge.
Because wine is typically paired with food, it’s important for restaurants to have a knowledgeable staff and a comprehensive wine list that assists the patron to select the appropriate wine. But realistically, most restaurants do not have an on-site sommelier or a wait staff that is trained to pair food and wine on the spot.
So how can restaurants without on-site sommeliers get information about their wine out to consumers?
Recently, wine has been paired with (you guessed it): technology. Below are three fantastic examples of how information about wine has been simplified for consumers on platforms that make sense:
1. SmartCellar is a computerized wine cellar designed by Incentient to replace the traditional leather-bound wine list. According to their website, “SmartCellar not only displays the regular printed wine list and pricing, but it also includes photography of each wine label and an interactive experience that offers different ways to sort through the wine list, and provide more information than the traditional wine list ever could.” This technology is currently being utilized in celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants and in Tony May’s SD26.
2. A similar technology, designed by Potion, is being utilized by Clo and the St. Regis Adour. However, this technology is not delivered via tablet, but projected from the ceiling onto the bar. Patrons can make their wine choice from this interactive projection, which is carefully selected by the sommelier.
3. Vinitaly is a worldwide wine trade show that now boasts the Vinitaly Interactive Wine Tasting experience. First, participants register by exchanging their business card for a personal QR code. This code is then used to track the wine they order at each exhibitor’s wine bar. From there, the participant records his or her preferences and notes into the iPad to be emailed to them at the end of the show. This serves not only as a tool for consumer to record their preferences, but as a tool for wine brands to gather feedback from the experts.
I strongly hope that this is adopted by other brands/industries; I’d be very excited to see this in person.