Picture this scenario: You are having lunch at a restaurant with your confrere. Aphrodisiac food, now the problem is what wine should you choose: Vinas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla, Rudi Pichler Gruner Veltliner Federspiel, The Old Faithful Top of the Hill Shiraz or Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc? A part of you wanted to go for the play-it-safe bottle, but another part of you did not want to be seen as a bore.
A voice in your head told you to pick the most expensive bottle, but another voice argued that the expensive bottle is not often the one that everyone would adore. You heeded the waiter’s advice, hoping that the bottle would be divine, but when everyone gave the bottle a try, from the look of their faces you could tell that no one would have wanted more. You drove home, log on to Facebook and started rambling about your sore.
Ah, such first world problem. That was the dilemma Kurt Taylor found himself in two or three years ago. It happened during a lunch when Taylor and his acquaintances had trouble selecting a wine. They ended up trying a bottle suggested by the waiter but none of them liked it.
At that point, Taylor realized that there is no universal language for describing taste and instead of complaining on social media, he came up with the idea of creating a method to objectively define the taste of a wine in order to provide great recommendations to fellow wine lovers.
That was how Next Glass, a North Carolina based company that delivers personalized wine and beer recommendations to consumers and merchants, was born. It is a free Android and iOS app that objectively analyzes bottles of wine and beer to extract its chemical compounds and store the data in its Genome Cellar in order to predict whether you will like the next wine or beer you plan to purchase based on the wines and beers you have rated.
Next Glass might not have a fanciful website design to impress its users but its sophisticated technology sure did. It uses Olympus AU400 Chemical Analyzer (a common instrument found in blood labs) to discern the levels of ethanol (alcohol) and glucose (sugar) in a sample; and High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (A machine used in clinical toxicology to analyze urine for drug screening. It is also used in alcohol industry to analyze consistency with bulk batches) to amplify more than 20,000 molecular compounds in every sample to provide data analysis.
In short, Next Glass is a matchmaker between a wine’s DNA and a consumer’s DNA. It gets more accurate each time the user rates a wine – the more ratings a user inputs, the more nuanced their taste profile becomes, which leads to a more granular data and finally resulting in a higher probability for a successful “match” between a wine’s DNA and a user’s DNA.
(Except, of course, wines and beers don’t have actual DNA. It is simply a phrase used to describe the mass spectrometer’s results.)
Next Glass accepts wine for testing from any producer, small or large. This is a critical piece of information for smaller producers, who can use Next Glass to acquire traction outside their immediate geographical reach. Once a wine has been analyzed, it’s in Next Glass’s database, available for viewing and recommendations by consumers, which will open the door to higher-profit DTC (Direct To Consumer) sales, without the involvement or cost of the distributor tier.