AFP

Wine-rating apps

As useful as they can be, there's also room for the apps' developers to be a little sneaky

ANDREW J. LINN

For any wine lover the existence of wine rating sites on the internet is very gratifying. Just take a photograph of the label and every conceivable piece of information about it pops up, what food it pairs best with and often even the name of the enologist. These apps help decide what to buy for home drinking or what to order in a restaurant. Wines can also be rated for future reference or for comparison with other users' opinions. Since everything done online is recorded for posterity, the ease with which we can compare the same wine drunk years apart is nothing short of magical. Vivino is arguably the leading app of its category, with Delectable and CellarTracker good runners-up, but maybe not so user-friendly.

The negative social aspect is when users undiplomatically check on a wine provided by a friend, who may have stated on opening the bottle that "this is the best Garnacha I have drunk this year" only to be informed that out of the 200 other Garnachas listed, this one has a low score and costs five euros.

But how do we feel about the intentions and aspirations of apps like Vivino when they start promoting wines to users? Each time a rating is requested, along with the results pops up an offer of the same and similar wines at "special" prices. How does such activity uphold the independence of the ratings that users are supposed to trust it for? A very dodgy policy that should have been thought through better by the management.