At a recent tasting event, a winemaker notices some guy taking photos of her Riesling labels. When she asks him why, the man simply shows her his phone. “It’s this great app,” he tells her. “You and I can follow each other and see what the other person is drinking.” No need to exchange contact information, either. He goes on to explain: “It’s linked through Facebook. Also, they set it up so you can find winemakers and sommeliers pretty easily.”
The app, Delectable, is like an Instagram for wine lovers. And, the manufacturer recently came out with its most up-to-date version (4.0, if you will), which, according to the company, works faster and has better social-sharing functionality. For those unfamiliar with the service, Delectable serves multiple functions: (a) helping drinkers keep track of the bottles they consume and find out what others think about those wines, (b) connecting industry professionals and everyday wine lovers all over the world and (c) allowing users to purchase wines directly through the site.
One of my favorite winemakers, Steve Matthiasson, is a frequent user. Based on his Delectable profile, I can see that he enjoys drinking vintage Bordeaux, as well as the latest funky and natural wines from his fellow Californian winery Broc Cellars. Plus, his thoughtful tasting notes help me decide whether I would enjoy one of those bottles, too. This ability to engage with wine professionals is one of the reasons Delectable is so successful.
Another reason that Delectable is taking off: the app was created with input from a true devotee of well-made contemporary wine, Julia Weinberg. Her expertise in restaurants and winemaking is the perfect complement to Delectable founder and CEO Alex Fishman’s tech and data background.
“We wanted the app to help people explore wine, get away from sticking to brands for safety’s sake,” Weinberg explains to me during her recent visit to New York. She had been enjoying herself visiting favorite local wine spots like Pearl and Ash and Terroir — and, of course, posting all the amazing wines she was drinking on Delectable. “There are too many sources out there for learning about wine, but they aren’t user-friendly," says Weinberg. "Delectable was made to serve wine drinkers of all levels.”
A big boon to Delectable is its database, which can recognize the photos of more than 3 million wine labels. Version 4.0 has made this technology work more quickly and accurately, though it does err from time to time. The social features also work quite well. It’s easy to find and follow wine professionals and add your comments to their wine lists, and to see who else is commenting.
The only drawback? Well, I must confess that a flash of FOMO rears up when I see what some of the wine pros out there get to drink. Not only is the 1990 Chateau Latour that wine writer Richard Jennings was drinking recently “not available” through the app, it's also just maybe a touch out of my price range. With Delectable, though, at least I can admire from afar.
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