Wine and Your Phone: A Match Made in Heaven and Hell
A long. LONG time ago in a wine shop far far away people used to not have smart phones. Alas, for better or worse, those days are well behind us all. As nearly everyone has cellular telephones on their person these days (you may even be reading this on your phone, rest assured you are likely not alone in doing this), perhaps we need to act accordingly and adjust our habits for our own devices, which can be both illuminating and dim(inishing) in nature when it comes to wine. Gone are the days of not being able to recall or remember what you had for dinner last night and what wine you had with it. Thus I have compiled a few thoughts pertaining to smart phone etiquette; the do’s and don’ts if you will.
Scores: Scoring wine is both a good and bad thing for consumers. You get a wine review, something telling you taste profiles, history, and paring ideas for said bottling. Great. This gives you a good baseline to build upon or refer to when tasting or buying but it is really just that, a baseline. With such a baseline there are still some issues that can arise from even the most seasoned wine professionals. First and foremost we have to contend with the issue of numbers, professional wine tasters may have tasted over 100 wines the day that they tasted the wine in question, thus their palate might have been shot by the time that they tasted this wine or maybe it was not a good day for wine tasting (if you adhere to the biodynamic calendar) some days are better for fruit notes, for root flavors, for tertiary tasting notes. This can impact how a wine shows and is judged and thus their ratings and subsequent scores.
Apps: Wine Apps can be great assets but can also be a challenge to navigate. Take Vivino for example, this app lets wine consumers rate each wine that they try and put these ratings on an easily accessible database for others who have the app to read. You have a similar yet more extreme problem with this kind of app that you have with the professional scoring, which is fantastic. Primarily the issues is you are trusting the ratings of complete strangers who are most likely not wine professionals. Thus they may or may not have discerning tastes. Even more of a possibility they may be new wine drinkers or be new to the particular varietal or style of wine. Here is an example; some tech savvy new wine drinker downloads the app, and tries a big, bold, Cab blend from Napa but they usually drink light crisp whites with a touch of sweetness, read Pinot Grigio or an approachable Riesling. Thus they are way out of their wheelhouse. Or what about the app user who loves his daily glass of fruit forward Cab and decides to review a lighter red burgundy with finesse. Not their style in the slightest. Believe me, it reflects in reviews every single time.
This leads me to an important aside regarding wine and food in general. Taste is subjective. Let me say that again, Taste is subjective, full stop. Your taste is different than mine, is different than your significant others, is different than the random reviewer on the web. But here is the rub. You know your tastes and we know our tastes and wines tastes, so if you are a regular here or we have sold to you before, we may, in fact have a better than decent idea pertaining to what wines you might like to try and which wines to avoid.After all we don't have to drink or even like the same things.
Digital Notes: All phones now a days have the ability to take digital notes, either verbally or typed out in a note app or even just texted to yourself for viewing at a later date. No Longer do we need to have a pen and paper on hand to jot down some thoughts on the wine that you are tasting right now. It takes but a few seconds to take some notes on the phone, a few seconds now could be of immense help at a later date, either while dining or purchasing at your local fermented juice spot, Oakton Wine Shop and Bistro. You can refer to the notes you made in your own personal wine archive that you most likely, will have with you at all times.
Instagram and Camera Phones: Raise your hand if you use your camera phone to take pictures of your food. Now raise your other hand if you post these pictures on social media platforms. Look around now at everyone’s armpits. I mean everyone’s. No shame here, I mean, when was the last time you were out eating and you did not see people snapping pictures of their meal? Months? Years? I am sure it has been a while. In our new digital and social media crazy age we are what we eat/post that we eat. Show off that brilliant salad you had out at lunch the other day, or brag on yourself for that homemade paella you just pulled off the grill. I am not calling you out for it, I do the same thing. But here is a thought, if we are what we eat are we not also what we drink? I think we are. So damn it, where the hell are the pictures of the wines for those meals? If nothing else, even if you refrain from Instabooking the wines like we do all those pictures of our pets sleeping, our kids being kids, and those selfies with weird faces, you will have a picture of it. A picture that weeks later you can recall/revisit on your phones camera roll and we can use to help you find that wine, or one like it.
So don't put you phone away until you have taken a few pictures of your wine. Do check on the wine you are thinking of buying but please remember that taste is subjective, just look at the debate on pineapple on pizza. Got it? Ok good, now you can set down the phone and pick up the glass.