Author Archives: Pierre Langlois

Must Haves for Wine Tasting Event

Wine tasting is a great way to socialize and an even greater way to attract new customers. It is a fun way to learn more about wine and it offers your loyal customers more reasons to return. Whether you are having wine tasting at your home with a few friends or at a Singapore function room, here are a few useful tips you should take note of in hosting a wine tasting event:

1. General Rule

As a general rule, wine tasting should be organized before lunch or dinner so you can follow up by having the same wine with your meal. There should be no more than eight tasters, with a maximum of four glasses for everyone. Each glass should contain one and a half to two ounces in order to have enough portions in each bottle to be served later.

2. Different Types Of Tasting

You can consider having either a varietal tasting or a horizontal tasting. Varietal tasting refers to a tasting of wines from same grape variety from different areas: Chardonnays from California, Australia, Burgundy, Spain, New Zealand, Chile and northern Italy, for example. In order to reduce the number of tasting variables, the wines should be of roughly same age. A varietal tasting is the preferred option for beginners as they help tasters learn how different regions contribute to their distinctive character.

On the other hand, a horizontal tasting refers to tasting wines from a single category and a single vintage. For example, you might have a wine tasting of 1993 Bordeaux, where you have wines from Pauillac, Graves, Pomerol, St-Julien And St-Emilion. The advantage of having a horizontal tasting is that you might never notice the differences between the wines mentioned above unless you are tasting them side by side, as the differences among young wines in certain categories might be rather subtle.

3. Theme

As for the theme, it is normally regional, such as wines from Oregon Coast or wines from Sicily. Remember to start from the lightest wine, moving on to drier whites, finally advancing to heavier and sweeter wines. Rose wines should be offered after white wines and before red wines. Dessert wines should be served at the end of tasting.

4. Food Pairings

Food pairings are crucial to a successful wine tasting and should not be neglected. Although food flavors should complement the wine, serving regional food enhance taster’s experience, as a taster will probably enjoy French Chardonnay more with Crostini and Brie than with cheddar cheese and crackers.

Lighter wine should go with food with lighter flavors such as salad, lightly cooked vegetables, cheese, chicken with fruit and lightly seasoned pheasant so the wine will not be overpowered by the food. Heavier red wine should be served with heavier meat like lamb, venison, best cuts of beef and hot vegetables. It goes without saying that dessert wine should be served with dessert such as fruit plate, light shortcake or shortbread.

You should also have plenty of bread and lightly salted mozzarella for tasters to clear their palates between courses.

5. Setting

As for the setting, the table should be covered with white cloth to make it easier for tasters to examiner the wine’s color. Make sure that the table surface is free from friction to enable the tasters to swirl the win easily. Avoid strong scents like potpourri as they may interfere with the taster’s ability to taste wine. There should also be spittoons around to help tasters maintain acuity. Spittoons should be weighted containers so they cannot overturn easily. Each bottle’s capsule should be removed and the bottle should be rolled in foil. Then, they should be numbered with a marking pen and during tasting; each wine should be referred to by its number so the tasters’ judgment don’t get swayed by labels. The labels should only be revealed at the end.

Happy Organizing!

Next Glass

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.

wine glass

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.

How to Choose a Good Wine in 5 minutes?

So you want to bring out the classier side of yourself and have decided to purchase a little rich red to complement your dinner, or maybe you just found a really good RedMart coupon so you know you can splurge on some alcohol. Whatever the reason, I’m pretty sure that once you have started the process, you realize it is actually harder than you anticipated. Yes, I’m talking about choosing a wine online.

Just like perfumes and fragrances, wines can be a bit of a hit and miss. It can come in a fancy packaging, it can have a really amazing description of it’s taste, “warm and velvety with rich raspberry tones to complement the floral bouquet”. I don’t know how that would translate into an actual flavour, but it sounds pretty impressive. However, unless you know your wines extremely well, you have a 50/50 chance of purchasing a bottle of overpriced swill that you will gag down in an effort to get your money’s worth.

If you still want to take the risk and buy a bottle online, here are some good-to-know tips that will get you through the online wine list and clicking the checkout button all within five minutes, with the guarantee of a decent bottle ordered and no time wasted contemplating if you prefer “hints of cherry” or “maple undertones”.

Firstly, find out what you are going to have your wine with (assuming you are drinking it with a meal). Do a quick search online and you will find countless of sites quoting the same pairings for the booze: light wines go with lighter dishes and dark wines with richer meals. So if you are having fish, vegetables, chicken and light sauces, go for a white. If you are having a whole hog tomato-marinara meal complete with a mound of pasta, or strong red meats, red is what you need. If you are having a dessert, grab a sweet dessert wine to pair with the meal. This is just for those who can’t judge the decency of a wine online, stick to these rules and you’re good.

Know what you’re going to eat it with? Good. Next is to figure out where it’s from. Wines produced by countries that have been making the drink for centuries is a good bet for you to get quality wine. Italy, France, Spain and Germany; these are the regions where wine-making was borne from. A good guide to follow can be found on where they suggest wines from Oregon and California for American wines, from Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy (yup, these are names used synonymously with the drink so it has to be good) for France, Chianti from Tuscany and Shiraz from Australia.

They say wine gets better with age, but how old should you go? The more recent the year, the more cheaper the bottle, or so it may seem. But even if 2012 does not enter your vocabulary as a “vintage” product, the wine’s taste can depend on many factors such as weather, crop quality and other things. So don’t stress out too much about how old the wine is and pick one. If it’s being sold commercially, it’s ready to be consumed.

Now that you have got the basics, you are just a few clicks away from enjoying a good glass of wine. Good luck!

Aging Wine for Your Child

Soon after coming to this world, our little ones are often the reason of pride for most of us. They start taking our habits, and we are happy to assist them in doing so. We have seen people influence their kids in playing or watching football, enjoying a particular type of music, or developing a preference for racing cars – basically, we tend to influence our kids to have the same preferences and habits we have. However, I am sure you are not likely to have heard of a parent aging wine for his baby kid.

Being a wine addict myself -as funny as it may sound- I am super excited to be aging wine for some of the proudest moments I anticipate to have many years for now. I have put several bottles, including many Bordeaux and California Cabernet Sauvignon, in my wine basement. Moments such as the 21st birthday, graduation day, and wedding day will go up a notch with gifts as exciting as some 10-15 year old wines taken care of by yourself.

wedding celebration

Sure, those cute baby care product and other remarkably cute toys bought in California Baby may excite a child, but can you imagine the moment –usually a very special day- you gift him/her a bottle of vintage, beautifully aged wine?

For some of us wine freaks, the whole beautiful experience of expecting a child doubles its beauty with the advantage of having a bona fide excuse to get some outstanding bottles of wine (a case or two, or three) and plan for a 15+ years of aging. Waiting for the special days to gift the bottles over to my most loved ones is a remarkable incentive that keeps me from surrendering to the lure of opening them early – any wine enthusiasts knows about the likelihood of that full well. To add to that, my wife’s iron fist when it comes to “touching the baby’s wine” is just as effective!

Among some of the main points you must consider before beginning such a journey though, the most important ones tend to be related with the amount of wines you want to buy, the vintage, and the location you intend to store them in. To begin with, you want to decide whether you are going to have one very special bottle for each kid or many, given on different occasions. The vintage you select your wines from is also essential, as it is often recommended to select wines from the same year the child was born. Last but not least, it is very important to choose a stable location – although wines are not very picky regarding the specific temperature, they do not react very well to constant fluctuations in temperature. Let’s not forget the fact that some wines do not age perfectly well, therefore sometimes too long might actually makes the quality of wines deteriorate. Here is a perfectly good guide for your reference too!

aging wine

You don’t even have to be a wine freak to be able to enjoy the beauty of aging a wine for a specific occasion. No money or gift can exceed the effort of doing it for a gift, making it one of the most special gifts possible.

5 Common Mistakes in Building Wine Cellar

So you’ve decided to build a wine cellar and are ready to start working on it? Well, I can assure you that’s one of the most exciting things you could do at your home, especially if you are a wine addict – just imagine how electrifying it will look when completed!
wine racks
Hold your horses though, it is not that easy! In fact, despite the expertise people traditionally have with working on home décor in Singapore, building a wine cellar still remains one of the fiercest challenges for many of them. Especially if you are new to wine cellar building, you must be very careful not to fall for some of the most common mistakes people do when building it – which I will elaborate in details below, by putting together some of the most useful information about those mistakes.

  1. The presumption about the wine cellar’s temperature

If you have never had the chance to see how a wine cellar works, you are most likely to fall for this mistake as well. People seem to think that the wine cellar will have the same temperature throughout the year, and that is a detrimental mistake which will be costly to your most loved bottles. A wine cellar will be affected by the weather outside, therefore appropriate measures must be taken in order to ensure the right temperature throughout the year.

The most popular method of controlling the wine cellar’s temperature is by installing a climate control equipment – and no, air conditioners won’t do! The perfect temperature to ensure the best quality for the wine bottles is between 13 to 15 degrees Celsius, while the humidity should be at an average of 70%, which requires a climate control equipment for the best effect.

  1. Insulation of the wine cellar

Another detrimental and major mistake people commonly do is underestimating the effect a good and qualitative insulation does to the quality wines in a wine cellar. In fact, it could well be the first and basic step you take when you decide to build the wine cellar, especially because it is very cheap if installed at the beginning. Proper insulation ensures the temperatures and humidity are kept at a desired level and, therefore, the wine inside the bottles ages at a much greater pace.

  1. The vapor barrier

The need for vapor barrier is yet another seemingly less important, but possibly detrimental factor if neglected. The vapor barrier is a must for any wine cellar, as it decidedly helps maintain the ideal storage conditions. Moreover, vapor barrier helps prevent moisture, thus also helping prevent mold and mildew infestation. Definitely a must in the Singapore’s humid weather.

  1. The wine cellar’s door

Choosing the door based on its looks, rather than is technicalities according to the needs of the wine cellar definitely makes one of the most common mistakes in wine cellar building. People are naturally focused on making their home décor look good, therefore they often neglect the specific and sensitive requirements of rooms such as the wine cellar. Choosing a door which is not tightly sealed will most likely lose all the good work done with insulation and any climate control equipment in it. A well-installed and insulated door is vital in ensuring the ideal temperature inside the wine cellar.

wine racks

  1. Racking

Although not as possibly detrimental as the above, the wrong racking of wine bottles inside the wine cellar could considerably slow the aging pace of the wine in it. People usually focus on racking the bottles in a way to look beautiful, neglecting the fact that the racking of wine bottles actually requires specific considerations based on a combination of storage solutions, case sizes and wine buying styles.

While the above are some of the most important and common mistakes you must look to avoid when building a wine cellar, the list goes on. More specifically, you must be careful with regards to the wine friendly lightning, the drain line required for the wine cooling unit, flood prevention, and appropriate flooring among other possibly dangerous factors.

Basically, if you are a newbie at wine cellar building, the potential mistakes you could run onto are so many that It is most likely that you will end up falling for at least one of them. Besides learning from them however, the most important thing is the final and completed product. You will be proud of your new wine cellar, and years will feel like centuries while you are waiting for your wine to age.

Why are Some Wines So Expensive but Others Aren’t?

Considered a luxurious good until not long ago, wine was especially considered to be a “drink of the wealthy” hundreds and even thousands of years ago. It represented the higher class and distinguished people. Relationships between empires were developed and maintained through sending wine as a gift, kings would show their power through serving the most expensive and most rare wines to their visitors, and even the population morale was kept up by using wine during celebrations and events.

In today’s world, wine is still playing a major part in the lives of many people. Most of the people tend to go with wine as a gift when invited to visit, as a show of respect – just like in the case of two of the world’s best football managers, when Jose Mourinho gifted Alex Ferguson during a match between their teams in 2009.

You might be thinking about the plenty of extremely cheap wines available in every shop, and you would be right. There are wines as low as $2 a bottle in many countries throughout the world, but the difference –as you probably already know- is not even comparable. In both tasting and health terms, wines can be so different you wouldn’t be blamed to wonder if some of them can even be considered to be wines.

Due to the high demand and consequently, high supply, the wine industry has moved towards FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industry – so much so, that the cost of producing the wine is now a minor part of the overall cost of wine for producers. Taking an example on the world’s most well-known brand, the cost of producing a can of Coca Cola is merely 30% of the total cost price, whereas 70% goes towards distribution and marketing, and we don’t want even want to think how low the cost percentage is when compared to the actual price of most popular goods.

In a classic case of business expansion, brands are facing an ever-growing amount of pressure to grow internationally and grab larger market share in other geographic regions. Recently, China has been considered as the primary growth market for high-end wines, and most popular wine brands have been focusing their marketing and development efforts towards the China market – Take Chateau Lafite’s strong expansion plan to China as a perfect indicator of how aggressively brands are targeting expansion in China. It is nothing too surprising though, as China’s large population and high buying power has been attracting most of the international business, and will continue to do so for years to come. On the negative side, such occurrences only serve to increase the pressure on boutique wineries struggling to survive. They are pushed into having to use invoice financing to sell uncollected debt from distributors in unfamiliar geographic areas, so they can finance their next harvest.

On the other hand, we have the likes of “Domaine de la Romanee”, “Egon Muller”, and “Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru” and especially the reported $195,000 “Chateau Margaus” bottle in the Dubai Airport among many other wines costing thousands of dollars per bottle. Sure enough, their actual production cost is maybe 1% of the price, but the marketing and branding efforts have ensured the psychological thought of being worth it among the buyers.

On the other side, the champagne industry is not affected by the trend of switching into a FMCG at all. Champagne remains a luxury drink and its price remains high as well. Just like the “diamond is a girl’s best friend” image in people’s heads, Champagne has similarly managed to develop a rock-solid luxurious image of its wine among the buyers. Despite Prosecco’s and Cava’s fair success amongst the younger wine drinkers recently, it is still unable to fetch the premium of what Champagne is able to do. Take Dom Perignon for example, despite the claims that he created the Champagne, it is far from the truth. However, his initial story of “drinking the stars” and claims to have invented it made a beautiful story, and it had unbelievable success – globally as well.

Basically, it is all about marketing – how you create your brand and how you relate to your potential buyers. The way you develop the product into the head of people is the most essential tool for success. Trends do not come out of nature, they are built from professionals and world-beaters.


Sommelier in your private party – the new essential

The latest trend in jazzing up the familiar dinner party at home is hiring your own sommelier. Going off the normal route of the usual party catering in Singapore which is centered on food, people are looking for a different experience and off the beaten track. Hiring a sommelier to spice things up in party is not only creative, but adds a sophisticated and classy touch to the party.

wine in party

Sommeliers or wine stewards are trained and knowledgeable wine professionals who specialize in all aspects of wine service as well as wine pairing. But the best sommeliers- the ones who can reveal the story behind a wine can only are found at restaurants. Lately, however, more and more former top sommeliers are heading out to become wine educators and hosting wine parties and tasting in people’s home. Hiring them to host a get-together is a sure way to add a bespoke feel to it. Wine tasting parties are a fun way to learn about wine while enjoying the great company of friends in a private setting. There are plenty of ways to host a party with a sommelier.

  1. A private cellar tasting

For those who already have an extensive wine collection, one option is to hire a sommelier to lead a tasting of wines from your own cellar. After, familiarizing oneself with the contents of your cellar, a Sommelier can suggest and carry the guest through an evening of tasting and lead the discussion on flavors and notes in the wine.

  1. Wine class at home

For those of us who do not own large wine collections, sommeliers can also provide guests with a selection of local or foreign wine and provide a learning experience to you and your guests. The sommelier will gladly provide a selection after getting a sense of your guests’ level of wine knowledge.

  1. Private dinners at home

When the occasion calls for it, sommeliers can also partner with a private dining service to offer a wholesome dining experience. The chef and sommelier will brainstorm to come up with a menu paired with the perfect wine to enhance each other’s flavours. Events like this can be a cocktail-style reception or a multi-course sit-down dinner or even if you’re just doing a simple party catering.

sniffing wine

I don’t know about you but every time after I host a party, I’d be exhausted. The expectation for the host to entertain the guests every minute of the party is just too tiring. The benefit of having a sommelier at your dinner party can help to alleviate your exhaustion.

  • A sommelier can entertain your guests while you relax and enjoy the party. Often as a host, you are the star of the night. So sit back and relax in the glory while a sommelier and a private dining service takes care of things for you. A wine tasting event with a sommelier will be truly an unforgettable experience for your guests.
  • With the help of these wine experts, there is no way that the beverages at your party are sub-standard. The sommelier will know how to pair the right wine to the amazing food that you order from your premium and luxury caterer.
  • Imagine that your guests will enjoy and relish the wine more with the help of a sommelier who will introduce the wine and explain to your guests the interesting heritage of the wine, the region it comes from and why it is a good pair with the food.

All I need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the evening. I’ll definitely give this a try!



Can SMS Marketing a 90’s technology help vineyards to grow?

The wine industry has always relied on the old school distribution and reseller model where each geography region or country has a distributor that takes wines from the vineyards in bulk and sell them to retailers in the region. Due to this model, the prices of wines are significantly higher for consumer and majority of the profit do not go to the vineyards that bear the most risk in the business. Some wine-makers have cleverly depend on technology to sell directly to consumers by using the subscription model that has been popularized in recent year by Birchbox. While others uses a slightly more traditional marketing method such as SMS marketing to inform customers when the new wine has come of age. These methods help to cut-off the middlemen in the business thereby increasing the profit.

Since my last update, I’ve been doing a lot of research around vineyard as a new type of property investment. Through these research, I learnt that wine-making is a very risky business. Your income for years to come is highly dependent on the year’s yield and quality. Technique for wine-making is secondary compared to mother nature. But, I’ve stumbled upon a few new technology that helps vineyards to control the quality of wine and in small ways make micro-changes to the growing environment of grapes. There are technology that helps improve almost every step of the wine-making process from growing the grapes to ultimately in marketing the wines.

Refractometer to determine ripeness of grapes

Wine-maker using refractometer to determine the sugar level of grapes

Why SMS marketing but not other form of marketing, you may ask? Well, most people that drinks wine are above a certain age like myself. And with age, the familiarity with new age technology such as mobile apps or emails decreases. SMS is an old enough technology for majority of the wine lovers to be familiar with. Hence, it is a good medium for the target market.

One way is to utilize this technology is pre-order of wine samples or wines. As you know, every vintage of wines may differ and you may not like a particular year’s vintage. So wine-makers can have a wide coverage of information push to the customers by sending a more traditional marketing method that is SMS to their customers. With a direct contact with the customers, the wine-makers can rely less on the mercy of distributors to promote their wine. Wine-makers can inform customers of the grapes quality and when to expect the wines to be ready. Majority of wine lovers are not comfortable in purchasing wines online (less familiar platform) so enabling purchase using a more familiar platform to the customers may work. Once the customers placed the order via SMS, the wine-makers can have the customers mail cheques to the wine-makers directly. And the wine-makers can start having wine orders before the wine is ready. Once the wine is ready, the wine makers can then ship to wines directly to the customers. Of course, there is a need to ensure that the minimum orders will make business sense to the wine-makers. But, this is a great way to use a platform that is familiar to the wine customers, do away with the middlemen and increase the profit of the wine-makers.

Technology is great to ensure the quality of the wine produced in vineyards. But I think there is room for creativity in how to market wines to consumers. Frankly, the old distribution model is out of date. However, a lot of vineyards are using technology such as Facebook to engage their customers when their customers may not be on or are not familiar with the platform at all. I think there is a middle ground technology that can be explored and that answer may just be SMS.

The New Age Property Investment

Recently, I made a trip to Malaysia for a property investment conference. It’s been almost 2 years since I have been there so it’s quite an interesting experience. Of course, as someone who loves wine, I can’t help but to check out the local wine scene. To my delight, I was not short of choice! I went through the list of wine bar in KL and decided to go for a quirky Chinese decor wine bar. It was a laid back bar with a large selection of wines. What impressed me most about this wine bar was the 20 selection of wine by the glass menu. I always like to try different wines and frankly, getting a bottle when I was traveling alone, did not sound like an appealing option. So by the end of the night, I had 3 glasses of wine ranging from the traditional French Bordeaux wine to the new world South African wine. It was an enjoyable evening.

Now, you may be wondering why did I choose this title of the post. In the 2 days that I was in Malaysia, I learnt that there is an strong appetite for overseas investment in Malaysia. I saw multiple ads on newspaper on properties for sale in London, New York and most interestingly vineyard investment. As a wine lover, this really intrigued me. So, I begun my research and learnt that Asia is indeed the up and coming wine region. There are relatively new vineyards that are challenging the norm (and the weather) to grow grapes around this region. Many of you may know Bali as a fantastic tropical island holiday destination. Little did I know that there is a vineyard in that island!

The more innovative wine makers started making wines from local fruits. I’ve tasted peach wine from Australia a while ago and it was a good dessert wine. I’ve also written about the wine made from Durian in a university in Singapore. That idea has yet to be tested in the market but nonetheless, intriguing. On the other hand, there are vineyards in Thailand that uses the traditional European Cabernet Savignon, Chenin blanc, and Shiraz grapes. Some of these vineyards have been produced better quality wine over the years.

Is vineyard investment in Asia really taking off? Short answer to that is, I don’t know. But we know that the wine consumption in Asia has been increasing steadily in the last decade. Premium wine demand has increased exponentially particularly in China. In fact, the owner of the famous Chateau Lafite has invested GBP 10million in a winery in Shandong, China. The demand of wine in Asia is expected to raise in the next few years with rising income level and increasing quality of life in Asia. With the decrease in production of premium wine in Europe. Assuming, the demand of wine maintain at a steady increment. We can expect that the price of wine will be higher as supply declines. As premium wines prices go up, the demand may adjust itself to be lower. When that happens, it is likely that the demand will shift to more affordable wines from relatively newer region.


Tech startups revolutionising wines online

Wine businesses have always been the most traditional of businesses. After centuries of viticulture, we still use grapes, and we still grow them on trellis, train them and prune them as winemakers of yore did. Lately (which in the slow-moving world of wine means decades), new world winemakers have really started coming into their own, confidently adapting new tools and practices that increase yields and improve flavours, including using massive steel tanks with temperature control, artificial tannin powder, and most gallingly of all, selling wines outside of the hermetic, intimidating confines of a dedicated wine store on online wine stores.

E-commerce is of course nothing new, but wine stores in general have had a terrible time making the transition online. Massive collections are dumped into online catalogues with little consideration of how to organize them or present them to the average uninspired wine consumer. In the past year or so, even this has changed tremendously. Companies like drync, vivino, & wine-family (pragmatically based in co-working spaces like this one) are just a few of the next wave of wine companies going online that promise to make the process of choosing wine and appreciating wine more accessible and less intimidating than an outraged maitre’d tut-tutting your appalling wine taste.

angry maitre d

These online stores are not only providing tasting notes and food pairing recommendations, all beautifully worded and expertly supplemented with photos, but also allow logged-in users to give their own 2 cents on the wines that they have drank, giving prospective buyers more than just the resident sommelier’s opinion to go on. Companies like vivino push this idea to its very limits, allowing users to create wine reviews complete with photos of products that aren’t even on the website’s database. After all, it is practically impossible for any single company to keep track of all the wines that are produced year after year, much less rank and review them reliably. Thus, crowdsourcing opinion is a supremely wise decision.

The consequence of all this crowdsourcing and democratisation of the sommelier’s art, is that wine appreciation becomes much more accessible. An old problem for wines made from grapes penetrating new cultures is that they were previously not part of the local culture and that it requires experts like sommeliers a long time to educate the dining crowd to appreciate and consume more wine. With the ready availability of knowledge online, and the ability for people to experiment in the comfort of their own homes away from the embarrassment of getting it wrong in a restaurant, we can expect more people to pick up wine drinking.

All this promise of a bright future for wine can be attributed strongly to the proliferation of wine knowledge online and how deeply the internet has become a part of our everyday lives. There is no corner of the wine business that is exempt from the change wrought by the internet, but that is not a problem but rather an accomplishment to toast to.