WinePoynt is a new app that recently launched in Dallas that is like the Pandora for wine. It allows you to track wines you like, create your own personal list, then it suggests other wines you may like. Furthermore, the app will tell you where you can buy that wine.
Or, say, you're at a restaurant and are overwhelmed by the 14-page wine list. Pull out WinePoynt, and if that restaurant is in the app, let it be your guide. Based on your previous preferences and ratings, the app will make suggestions.
Found a new wine you love? Scan the bar code, rate it and add it to your ever-growing lists of favorite wines.
The developers for this application actually came up with the idea after several rounds at Cru one evening. They met up with their friend and sommelier, Chris Taylor and together for the past several of years have been developing the app. It just recently launched in the Dallas area. I got to chat with Chris Taylor recently to get more details.
What kinds of features are used to rate wine on WinePoynt? There are hundreds of features and values that we want to be able to provide and we had to come up with a way to build a product that could be launched and also be able to sustain constant development. After three years of building the app, we launched it with basically only 5 to 10 percent of the intended functionality.
Eyes on the prize, huh? Does the app work in the Bahamas? Ultimately, it will work in all places that American-based consumers will travel.
Let's say I've had three bottles of wine at different restaurants and one from a store and that's where I start using the app... That means you would have rated those four bottles of wine.
Yep, so where does it take me from there? The easiest way to envision the WinePoynt app is to visualize it in a retail environment. So, you walk into a store and WinePoynt tells you which wines are there and which you will like.
Then, you can look into the details of any one of those wines. Take notes, take pictures, or ask specific questions for a better recommendation. We wanted to offer something useful for people, so we could get started yet, be able to continue adding features that are relevant to another set of values. Logistically, that's our biggest challenge. We are at sea sailing a boat that we are still building and designing.
Sounds exciting, yet a little scary. And I'm looking at a map on my wall as I was giving you that analogy and my eyes were on the Bahamas.
Let's say I'm looking for a white wine for lest than $10 that goes with salmon. All of those features can be entered and then it'll make a recommendation. In order to make those recommendations, WinePoynt learns from you like Pandora. Then you rank wines from 1 to 5, we learn how to make better recommendations. Where do you get your wine expertise? I'm a sommelier. I came to the United States (Taylor was born in Austin but raised in Western Turkey, then moved back to the States in 1994 for college) with a pretty significant appreciation for wine, then I have worked as a professional. My first wine buying job was in 1997. I've always worked in the food and wine industry.
What brought you to this side of the business? I'm very passionate about the relationship that needs to exist between people who drink wine and the people who make and sell wine. Coming to the U.S., as a person who owned the English language, the language people used to describe wine that they do like or don't like is very different then the language used by people who make and sell the wine. They're just not using the language the same way at all.
So, if you want to understand which wines people like you really had to listen to understand what they meant. That means that you have to know wine, but you also have to know people, in the sense that you have to have enough experience in how people describe and categorize wine.
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It's like learning the foreign language of wine ... The people who drink wine, make wine and sell wine all have different agendas. And if you want to make sense of it all you have to stand in the middle of it and really understand everyone.
The intention is to remove the obstacles and for people to enjoy wine.
How do the wine lists work? You can put wines on different lists. For instance, a list for the wines "Bob" recommended. Then another list for, say, "Reds I Love." Then, maybe you get of magazine that suggested some wines, so you make a list of those. When you go to a store where WinePoynt works, it will tell you if any of your wines on any of your lists are at that store.
You can share the lists you create and make any of those lists public and once you do that, anyone can see your list. That's creating a social environment, which is something we really wanted to do. So, if I have a list of great barbecue wines, I can share it with anyone. Then, when you bring it up, the stars and compatibility make it obvious to you which ones we think you will and won't like.