Wine is a wonderful discussion topic, but it is a complex issue to talk about without falling back on commonplaces. It is most frequently associated to the territory and culture of a given region.We will now focus on the two smartest aspects of this nectar of the gods: the most recent and well-rounded apps, which help choose the most suitable wines at a fair price and find out about the product’s sustainability and natural properties.
In order to be a wine expert, you need passion, a good sense of smell and… a smartphone! Yes, you read it well. Nowadays, we may go to the restaurant, take a look at the wine list and compare all wines listed in order to choose the best one using the many apps on wine that have been developed in the last few years. It is even possible to choose the wine that is best paired with the food you want to eat. Of course, you may also do that when going to a wine shop, a supermarket or a gourmet shop. These apps do not only make it possible to obtain information, but to offer a personal opinion on the wine as well. Such is the case of the app MyOwnCorks , created by Albert Hurtado, which includes 85.000 wine references from all over the world: “I like to define my app as a democratic information source”, said Albert, “on the one hand, it offers advice on the product, while on the other hand it is open to user participation so that they may rate a given wine, give it marks and comment on it”.
The app has a user friendly interface, and the parameters used by the search engine are diverse and to-the-point. In other words, MyOwnCorks is a practical app that seeks to make life easier for wine-loving users by providing clear information available to a large audience. “Once potential users have become used to such apps, these will have to be complemented with other apps that focus on wine-food pairings and restaurants, to name just two examples. This is our goal.”
Another benchmark app in the wine and wine-food pairing areas is Sommelier Gourmet, created by Josep Seuba about two years ago. We asked Josep about the philosophy that lies beneath the creation of such apps: “We begin with real-life situations, such as the awkward moments a client goes through in any restaurant when having to choose the right wine. Thanks to such applications, we help people lose their fear of wine tasting, and contribute to their acquiring some eno-gastronomic culture in a nice way. On the other hand, it helps improve and deepen our knowledge on our favourite wine, that is, to find out more about varietal wines, ageing and terroir, the three concepts that lie at the base of the algorithm of similarity between wines and pairing used by Sommelier Gourmet. We use science as a ground to help explain sensations”. What comes out of it? An app – wine guide that makes it possible to choose pairings on a database of 800 dishes, 900 wineries and 1.600 wines, each of them including its corresponding technical and sensory reports.
"We use science as a ground to help explain sensations" (Josep Seuba, Sommelier Gourmet)
Josep is optimistic about the future development of such apps: “Interest towards eno-gastronomy, along with the development of digital technology, bring about high expectations in the sector of wine-related applications, in order to cater for all user needs: pairing searching, knowing about the features of a local variety, buying on-line the wine you just tasted… “We should not forget”, added the creator of Sommelier Gourmet, “that eno-tourism is on the rise; this may encourage wineries to use such tools, along with a smart use of QR codes, in order to reinforce customer and visitor loyalty”.
Natural is better
The aforementioned applications help choose the wines best paired with certain foods, as well as recognize the most highly valued ones in the market right now. Among the latter, we should mention biological, biodynamic and natural wines, slow wines, which means they are more sustainable, eco-friendly and… “smart”. Leonardo Caneppele, a wine experts who owns the Viniterrae shops in Barcelona gives us some hints on how to detect these new kinds of wine: “When traditional wines are left aside, three categories may be outlined for all the other wines to fit. The first one is that of eco-friendly wines, where no chemical products are used, except for a minimum amount of sulfites. Such wines require certification by the European Community on the basis of Regulation 203, which came into effect on August 1st, 2012”. “Another category”, added Leonardo, “is that of biodynamic wines; these are perhaps the most closely related to environmental concerns and biodiversity, as the goals in their production include maintaining soil fertility, avoiding use of chemicals, taking lunar phases into account and using yeast already present in grapes”.
Trends in the wine world for 2015 include moving back to nature, but taking your smartphone with you
Then come natural wines: “their main feature is that, unlike the others, they are not subject to regulations”, our expert concluded. “They are just natural”.Joan Gómez Pallarés, a geologist and one of the best-known experts in the sector, takes us along the world of natural wines in his reference book Los vinos naturales en España (“Natural wines in Spain”) (RBA, 17 €). We asked him what a natural wine is: “Natural wines are those with a fermentation process as natural as possible, in which nature is left to do her work”, states Joan, and he adds that “alcoholic fermentation of grape-juice is natural in all wines, but not all of them are equal, as some of them are more natural than others. There are no regulations to define natural wines, but indeed there is a philosophy and a way to understand viticulture based on introducing as few external elements in the process as possible.”
In conclusion, trends for 2015 in the wine world involve going back to nature taking your smartphone along. Smart wine at its best!