Computerized sommelier

Wikipedia tells us that “a Sommelier or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service.”

It proceeds to explain that “the principal work of a sommelier is in the area of wine procurement, storage, wine cellar rotation, and to provide expert advice to customers.”

Huh.  Procurement – sure & advice – OK, we knew that.  But storage & interestingly enough “cellar rotation”…cool.

I bring up the job of a sommelier as I recently read a piece by Uncorked columnist Nathaniel Bauer about mobile wine apps.  Bauer is critical of many of these apps, citing long loading times, difficulty sorting through information provided, and information provided being outdated (he mentioned a recommendation to pair his food of choice with a 1980 Cali Zin).

Today I read a related article noting two web sites with which I am familiar, Epicurious (which I frequently use) and snooth, have teamed up to provide a “computer generated wine pairing service”.

Now I must admit, maybe there is some jealousy involved here.  A few years ago I was pondering a similar service but never went through with it.  Common problem…how to monetize.  BUT, assuming my feelings are not based on envy, I must admit that I am a bit cynical here.  There are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of wines out there.  And food, with all its variations (spices, prep method, etc)…how can a computer process all the ingredients in a dish, consider side dishes, know which wines are available, and spit out the “proper” wine???  As if there even IS a “proper wine”.  Aren’t all wine people preaching these days that drinkers should drink WHAT THEY LIKE?!?

Who knows, maybe this or some other copy cat software will revolutionize the way wine consumers purchase & pair their wines.  But I have a sneaky suspicion (and a killer business idea) that thinks the revolutionary idea is still out there…

Happy computer generated wine choice wine tasting!



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