Archive - June, 2009

Wine and Tech: Picturing a thousand words

Wine and Tech will be (I hope) a series of short posts on using some new technology to support the wine conversation

I have recently come across a number of innovations that are not directly related to wine, but which got me thinking about how they might be used to do fun, useful and social stuff with wine. I thought I would share some of these with you and see if they sparked ideas for you like the have done for me.

How good is your memory? Mine is awful. I’m pretty good with faces, but names are “gone in 60 seconds” (or less). In fact it is the same with wine. Some people can remember what a wine tasted like in previous vintages and minutely compare them from memory. Not me. So I was very excited to learn about EverNote.

EverNote bills itself as the way to “remember everything”. Essentially what it does it take your photos, documents, audio messages and more and not only store them, but index them so you can search and find them later. That isn’t revolutionary on its own, but you need to know that EverNote actually “reads” all the text in the pictures (yes, even the photos) and so you can search for the word in the picture, not just the name of the photo. How cool is that?

What does this have to do with wine? Well, it has always been difficult to capture all the necessary information from a label when you are tasting, especially if in fact you are in a restaurant or bar and not a formal wine event. It is so easy to taste something wonderful and promise yourself that you’ll remember it when you get home … and invariably you don’t. Now, a quick, subtle photo will suffice AND it will be easy to search for again even if you don’t remember much about it in future.

Again, this is quite useful for wine lovers who want to catalogue the causes of their inebriation, but how is this relevant to the wider consumer and the wine conversation?

What I love about the idea is that it allows the average consumer with a mobile phone & camera (and a data plan that allows upload to the web), to record their wine experiences and share them in a useful, searchable and standardised way WITHOUT having to join wine social networks. There are no tasting notes, unless they want to include them, and there is no need to even understand how to read the wine label. A photo, plus a tag such as “buy again” or “hated this” is enough.

Of course the system is much more powerful than I’ve described it, adding GPS codes, matching images etc, but you can explore that if you are keen.

I’m already playing with this and wondering how it might be useful to wine drinkers, so if you have any thoughts, or you use EverNote too, please let me know.

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