“David, The Wine4.Me App Is Here. Hello Jeanine.”

Vinted on June 6, 2014 binned in wine appreciation, wine news

Those not getting the title reference today need to hang their heads in total shame! No wine for you!!

Anyway… remember, about a year ago, when we talked about the data behind a new wine app, Wine4.me?

Well, I’m pleased to tell you that the Wine4.me app is (finally!) available for download in iTunes.

The full disclosure part of all of this is that I was paid to be one of the expert tasters on the panels that formed the basis of Wine4.me’s data, and I am an ongoing contributor to their consumer-facing blog.  But they’re not paying me to tell you about the app’s release; I’m doing that because I’m genuinely excited to see it go live. Finally.

The bottom line is that while the mobile wine app space is insanely crowded right now, no other wine app out there (that I know of, anyway) is so steeped in data and the scientific method (we already know how I feel about that stuff, right?), so consumer-focused with a for-real value proposition (using that data to significantly increase your chances of finding a similar wine you will enjoy), and actually pops the corks on bottles themselves to get there. There also happen to be some lovely human beings involved in this project, and working with them has been nothing short of a total pleasure (and hey, it’s better we highlight the work of nice people, instead of that of a bunch of douchebags, I suppose)…

Here’s the skinny from their press release describing the process and the value proposition, along with a vid explaining it (witness dude “at work” in this!):

“Each wine in Wine4.Me’s extensive database is objectively analyzed by expert wine evaluators based on dozens of unique characteristics (not perceived quality) and each evaluator is able to repeat these results with an industry leading 90 percent or higher.

This data is intricately indexed by patent-pending technology and passed through the company’s proprietary algorithm that compares the profile of each wine to the user’s taste profile to offer personalized wine rankings.”

Wine4.Me :60 from Entrenext Mobile on Vimeo.

I’m thrilled for the Wine4.me team that the app is finally going live, and that you can now download it and put some of my tasting work directly to the test. Go check it out (non-Apple-drones like me will need to wait for now, the Google Play version is still in development).

Cheers!

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    Comments

  • passionatefoodie


    Joe,
    When will the details about their methodology, objective characteristics, etic. be released? In your post last August, I raised my skepticism and you said the release of the details would address that. However, the Wine4.Me website still isn't transparent, and provides lots of generalities and marketing lingo, but no specifics.

    Plus, how many wines are in their database? How many of those wines are domestic vs international?

    Thanks

    • 1WineDude


      Richard – Understood. It's a tough call in that some of the info. you want is considered IP for them. It's understandable to want the details of the methodology, for example, but I'm also under NDA about those details so need to err on the side of caution on that. So I have asked Amy to respond to your comment, which she will once she gets a long enough break (she's traveling at the moment).

    • @Wine4MeApp


      Thanks for your interest in Wine4.Me’s methodology and wine list, Richard—and thanks for not beating Joe up too badly for keeping mum ☺.

      There are currently 1,260 wines in our launch database, of which 644 are US wines and 616 are imported. In selecting our wines, we took into account recent sales figures as well as other considerations so that we would analyze wines consumers are already enjoying and can find easily, as well as others definitely worth seeking out. The typical Wine4.Me user is a casual wine drinker looking to expand his or her own choices with ease.
      As vintages change and as there are many excellent options out there, we intend to grow our database of wines characterized to 20,000+ in the next three years.

      As for our methodology, we worked with sensory scientists at Cornell University, as well as winemakers and other wine experts to be sure we were employing the best methods for sensory evaluation of the wines. Since humans, not scientific instruments, will be enjoying the wines, we wanted our wines to be analyzed by humans and so selected this route in evaluation.

      Because of intellectual property issues, I cannot go into deep detail about how many characteristics or which ones, but I can assure you we took science and human perception into account to determine all of our methods.

      Every wine is opened and analyzed blind in flights by a team of highly qualified wine evaluators– every evaluator on our team repeats their evaluations at a minimum of 90% when using our methods. (Yep, this includes Joe. He’s got a stellar palate!) Then, to be sure all of our data is as accurate as possible, every data point is analyzed further after the evaluators submit their results to determine if an evaluator was having an off day, flight or even trouble with one characteristic. We can isolate as needed.

      I can tell you that evaluators’ personal preference of the wines is not something we take into account in evaluating the wines. We frankly don’t care if they like the wine—we just want to know what they observe in the wine.

      As you download and train the app, you’ll see that users are asked first to tell us what grapes, blends, regions, countries or particular wineries they enjoy. A user can tell us as many or as few items in each category as they like. Wine4.Me then takes that data and builds a profile of the user and compares that against all the other wines in our database using predicative analytics to create a personalized ranking of all the wines in our database for each user. Users then can filter their results by several options. (grape, food, country, etc.)

      As the user then rates wines specifically, their wine profile changes to become better and better at ranking the wines for that user individually.

      I hope that addresses your concerns. If not, please feel free to drop me a note: [email protected].

      And, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll download the app and give it a try.

      –Amy Gross, CEO & Co-Founder, VineSleuth/ Wine4.Me

      • passionatefoodie


        Thanks Amy for your reply. However, I remain highly skeptical as you haven't offered evidence to accept the claims that have been made about the science behind your App. It is claimed that each wine is "objectively analyzed by expert wine evaluators based on dozens of unique characteristics" but you simply want people to accept that claim without any proof. Yes, you claim intellectual property issues prevent you from saying more, but that also means that you then make big claims without offering actual support. Why should anyone accept your claims as true? I see wine tasting as an inherently subjective activity so find it difficult to believe it can be "objectively" analyzed by human tasters for "dozens" of "unique" characteristics.

        • 1WineDude


          Richard, what would constitute proof? Using the logic in your comment, you couldn’t, for example, categorize a wine as being higher in acid, because our subjective experiential differences would prevent us from agreeing/proving the amount of acidity. And yet, we can in fact agree on such relative subjective perceptions of objective criteria in wine.

  • passionatefoodie


    Ok, thanks!

    • Michael Brill


      Install and run the app and the approach is pretty clear. It's kind of interesting to contrast a system that uses a half-dozen attributes vs. 22,000 (http://nextglass.co/#/). Maybe a boozed-up John Henry redux is in order!

      • 1WineDude


        Michael – yeah, by the looks of it, part of the difference (the tasting/attributes portion) is human vs machine, literally.

      • @Wine4MeApp


        Hi there, Michael. This is Amy from Wine4.Me.

        The Wine Profile screen on Wine4.Me just shows an overview of the characteristics analyzed to determine a user profile or a wine profile. Actually, our evaluation process, which was developed under the direction of Cornell University sensory scientists, wine makers and other wine experts, characterizes the wines using many more elements– we just don't list them all in the app, as we'd prefer to keep the results shown simple.

        There are more than 2 million data points currently in our database, so I can assure you our assessments are thorough. Kevin Zraly reviewed our characteristics before we began evaluations and agreed our list was comprehensive.

        • Michael Brill


          Hi Amy… congrats on launching the app!

          • @Wine4MeApp


            Thanks! It's been quite an adventure! I'm certainly looking forward to this next chapter. :)

        • 1WineDude


          Thanks for chiming in, Amy!

  • Bob Henry


    Joe,

    Without violating your NDA, can you say if the app embraces some of the "scientific method" pioneered by wine evaluation service Enologix?

    "The Grapes of Math" – Wired
    [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.11/wine_pr.html]

    "The Chemistry of a 90+ Wine" – New York Times – The New York Times
    [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/magazine/07ENOLOGI.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print]

    "Enologix's Leo McCloskey on Fixing U.S. Wine" – The Gray Report
    [http://blog.wblakegray.com/2011/02/enologixs-leo-mccloskey-on-fixing-us.html]

    ~~ Bob

  • Bob Henry


    OKAY, LET'S TRY AGAIN WITHOUT THE BRACKETS SURROUNDING THE LINKS . . .

    Joe,

    Without violating your NDA, can you say if the app embraces some of the "scientific method" pioneered by wine evaluation service Enologix?

    "The Grapes of Math" – Wired

    Link: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.11/wine_pr.h

    "The Chemistry of a 90+ Wine" – New York Times – The New York Times

    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/magazine/07ENOL

    "Enologix's Leo McCloskey on Fixing U.S. Wine" – The Gray Report

    Link: http://blog.wblakegray.com/2011/02/enologixs-leo-

    ~~ Bob

    • 1WineDude


      Bob, not sure I understand your question (but I appreciate the fascinating stuff in those links). The science has to do with how the tasting data are collected, analyzed, and the algorithm that's used to then take those data to inform users of the app, recommending wines they will enjoy based on personalized information about their preferences.

  • Bob Henry


    Joe,

    Oversimplifying the process . . . Enologix chemically analyzes wine samples, and compares them to those in its database of wines "typed" for attributes praised by wine critics.

    For example, if "mocha" (apparently prized by Wine Spectator's James Laube) is a desired component in a red wine, then Enologix would advise its clients to order up charred oak barrels that will impart that bouquet and flavor to a wine.

    So my question is: does the "scientific method" behind this app draw upon a chemical analysis of a wine — exhibiting (say) "mocha" — and matching it up against other wines with that same characteristic?

    A sort of "birds of a feather" recommendation approach: if you like this "buttery" Chard, you will also like . . . [fill-in-the-blank].

    ~~ Bob

    • Michael Brill


      Bob: No, that's what Next Glass does… it's a lot more like Enologix but (a) far more measures and (b) far lower level understanding of what they're measuring. It looks like Next Glass is using a small number of taste attributes. Without rending an opinion on either, I'm most interested in economics of scale. I can see wineries sending a bottle to Next Glass gratis in exchange for data (have no idea if that's their plan), but am curious how Wine4Me gets critical mass.

    • 1WineDude


      Bob – thanks, understood. Wine4.me doesn't do chemical analysis, they employ tasters.

  • Bob Henry


    Dude!

    All these IntenseDebate comments changes!
    http://intensedebate.com/features

    Reminds me of this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrCPIrs90eg

    ~~ Bob

  • franklinliquors


    Thanks for the review on this app. Many recommend wines if you have a chance please check out http://www.quiniwine.com Its also an app and I think its unique in that it is educational based. Like your thoughts on it.

  • Ken Pickler


    This sounds like an amazing app and one that you no doubt have put a lot of effort into. I'm an occasional wine consumer and the reason is simple, I don't want to waste my money on a wine that I might not like. Your app sounds like it can help me choose a wine that is similar to my taste's. I'm going to take a closer look at it.

    Shout it out loud! By leaving a comment on 1WineDude, you accept the fact that you totally rock, and possess excessive amounts of intelligence and good looks. You also agree not to be a douchebag (we love debate here, but we don't tolerate attacks), and to use your superpowers for good.

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