Ever find yourself trying to remember that fantastic little tipple you had a couple of months ago at that restaurant, but the exact answer eludes you? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, we’ve all been there, and it’s a tad infuriating to say the least – but what if there was a way to stop that? Well, come on down Vivino, it’s your time to shine!
Okay, so we’re a bit late to the party, but it’s better late than never right?
Vivino is a fantastic app (and website) designed for like minded wine lovers to rate, review and discover new wines to try. Exciting, right? I can’t say it was divine inspiration that prompted me to look for and download the app, frankly, if anything, I was inspired by the sheer jealousy of my husband being able to use Untappd to review all of his beers and wanted something similar for my big love of the moment i.e. wine. I’ve always been a big fan of consolidating data and personal memories in one place, and when there’s so many wines to try it’s nice to have a centralised location that makes it oh so easy to jot down your feelings for future reference. There’s just something so comforting about being able to go back and look for that fantastic sparkling wine you had last month at your friend’s anniversary of their first dog’s birthday (you get the drift anyway), and I know that if I had to leave it to pure memory alone I’d be screwed. I’m not saying I drink a lot of wine or anything, but I drink a hella lot of wine.
Using Vivino is really simple – once downloaded, you use your phone’s camera to scan the label of whatever you’re drinking at the moment and Vivino scours its database of 10 MILLION WINES(!) to match it to the exact listing. Once it’s matched your wine you can rate it, review it, and leave handy information for other users as to where you bought it from and for how much. The website collates all of the information to create an overall rating out of 5 for the wine, as well as an average price, and it also uses the information about the grape variety and nationality of the wine to create an individual profile for you. How brilliant is that?
I’m not going to pretend it’s 100% perfect, it isn’t. Out of the 34 wines I’ve rated so far (I may or may not have had the app for less than 2 months too…) I’ve found myself having to add maybe 3 of them to the database as well as manually matching wines to database listings myself. That’s not a requisite of using the service though; if Vivino can’t find the wine automatically and you don’t want to do it manually, there’s an option to let the professionals at Vivino match it for you, and you’ll get a notification once they have. I’ve tried it once, and it didn’t take them long at all, I think in my case it was 30 minutes or so? Truly impressive work, but I can imagine it could take them a lot longer for more obscure wines, so don’t take this as gospel.
Whilst I was surprised at one of the wines I had to add to the database as it was by no means small – it was one of The Liberator wines (“Episode 25 – It’s Been A Good Year For The Roses…”) – honestly, it’s kind of exciting to be part of the online community in a small, but potentially meaningful way. It feels like I’m genuinely contributing to something bigger than me, and that always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
One of the added benefits of Vivino is the ability to purchase wines through them, and for the most part without paying a premium for the service. I haven’t personally tried it yet, but I can see myself doing so with ease if there’s ever a day when our local – and favourite – wine merchant isn’t stocking a favourite of ours. I’ll let you know if we do, and fingers crossed it’ll be a success!
Possibly one of the most intriguing parts of Vivino is that once it creates a profile for your tastes and preferences (which it does by paying attention to what wines you rate highly, what wines you dislike plus a number of other factors) it can also suggest wines that may match your profile, potentially making it even easier to find new favourites. I never knew I wanted a bespoke wine pairing service for my day to day life – never mind my food – but here we are. How did I ever live without it? Answers on a postcard please.
Vivino has quickly become part of my ritual when cracking open a wine I haven’t tried before or trying a new vintage of an old favourite – I take a picture of the bottle, pour myself a glass and sit down to feel the tasting notes, aromas and expressions of the wine itself. I use the word ‘ritual’ here because it really feels like the best explanation for how I feel – in these trying months and potentially years, self care is going to be a priority for myself, and hopefully many others. Using the app has been a grounding experience, making me take the time to be in the moment and consider what I’m thinking or feeling which helps connect me to the wine itself. Personally, I’ve found this greatly increases my enjoyment and appreciation for wine as a whole and wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Whilst I’m not recommending that we all start drinking more – far from it if anything – I am recommending that we start taking the time for ourselves when we do and making sure we’re enjoying and getting the best out of our precious time. Whether that’s sitting down with a glass of your favourite rosé when you watch your favourite TV show, or having a glass of fizz in the bath at the end of a long day, it’s important to practice self care and mindful behaviours. Enjoy, don’t over consume, and always be aware of both your intake and your wellbeing.
Vivino may not be for everyone, but if you can use it to understand the things that make you love a particular glass of wine, and then use that to find other new loves, then I think it’s worth giving it a go.