CorkSharing – Wine App Review


Having learned my lesson the hard way (it’s a long sob story not worth any more pixels), I appreciate good wine apps.  I recently came across Bryan Petro’s “CorkSharing” (wine tourism app for iPhone and Android) and thought it worth sharing.

CorkSharing was designed for those who like to plan their route in advance and who enjoy a little preferential treatment upon arrival.  The app allows users to visually scan a map of a wine region showing an overlay of participating wineries.  Users can then click on a winery’s red dot to review their self-reported details and, if all looks good, to book a tasting appointment. 

From a winery’s perspective, the app automates the reservation process, from booking the appointment to taking payment for the tasting fees (CorkSharing takes a 15% booking fee – there is no other cost to participate).  The company currently has more than 600 participating wineries from around the globe.

To see more on how it works, here’s a helpful video demo:


Winery Sign-Up Process
If you run a winery tasting room and would like to test CorkSharing, sign up for it here.

Tasting Event Promotion
Holding a tasting event you want to publicize? Post it here.


My App Review

My vision for our failed iPhone app was to allow wineries to book reservations, as CorkSharing does, but also to push promotions to users once their device was within a reasonable distance.  Imagine a slow day in your tasting room, and the ability to post an instant promotion of limited duration.  Generating more TR traffic for you, and providing greater value for customers seemed like a great deal.  

CorkSharing gets you much of the way there, and seems a likely candidate among wine apps to go the distance.  However, they desperately need more wineries on board before the app reaches critical mass, and they are constantly working on this.  Unlike other apps, they don’t scrape data from winery websites in order to create the appearance of endless choices (only to disappoint users who click on winery after winery not participating in the booking).  

The app is free and easy to use.  Even at this early stage it’s worth downloading.  Any wine lover planning their next trip will find it useful!

Just DaveCheers!  

The ‘Mini-Mouth’ Robotic Wine Taster. Real News or Satire??

I think the folks over at The Onion got hold of today’s wine business news feed.   Those sneaky little devils.  The article that raised both my eyebrows was today’s report that nano-scientists have introduced a robotic wine taster of sorts.  We all know someone who works in nano-technology, right?  You probably go out of your way to invite them to every cocktail party for their amazing ability to make small talk (sorry).  I’m not convinced the young woman shown in the PR release is even a scientist – she’s far too cheerful.nanoscientist

Yeah, a group not known for their sense of humor, I’m guessing.  But these very same Nano-scientists announced their wine-tasting machine in today’s news –  here’s a link to the full article, which I’ll summarize below.

Now admittedly, wine critics don’t need to fear for their jobs just yet.  The new nano-sensor can only measure the level of tannin (astringency) in a wine.  But it can do so at any stage of the winemaking process, unlike their carbon-based counterparts (um, that’s you and me) who can sense this important element of red wines at the end of the process, when it’s too late to make natural adjustments (other than additives, shhhh).

For those who fear the machine’s eventual replacement of all things human, fret not.  Buried towards the end of the article is the good news that human saliva is still needed for the machine to accurately measure astringency.  Mini-mouth, you complete me.

DUI’s Begone!

DUI Begone!Consider this.  The NTSB has recommended lowering the allowable Blood Alochol Content (BAC) for drivers.  Meaning, anyone driving after consuming even a modest amount of alcohol will be subject to ticketing, fines, and higher insurance rates.  Even the august attendees at my monthly tastings will likely be over the proposed legal limit.  Perhaps that’s not true for the spitters, but the swallowers won’t stand a chance.  Wring your hands with me as we say in unison “Something must be done!”

The Dui Solution!Enter an unlikely savior – the “driverless” car.   Though the NTSB standards are likely to be approved before such cars are readily available to the average 99%er, a recent NYT article (and blog post) highlighted the disruptive influence of driverless cars on city planners, insurance companies, and highway engineers.  If the nation’s roads were left entirely to these vehicular robots, traffic lights, parking meters and downtown garages would become as quaintly outdated as the buggy whip.

No more DUI's!Accidents would decrease dramatically, impacting insurance rates and saving up to 42,000 U.S. lives each year.  Seem unlikely?  Consider that driverless cars are immune to fatigue and human distractions like texting, attending to kids (“don’t make me come back there!”), changing radio stations, spilling hot coffee on their lap, or applying makeup/shaving/flossing while driving (come on, you know you’ve seen all that, and more!)  And because robots have lightning-quick reflexes they can drive at higher speeds AND with less distance between vehicles, thus reducing the need for expensive highway expansion.  The whole concept boggles the mind as much as a weekend TED conference.  See more about driverless cars on Google’s YouTube video here or on the (Vaynerchuck-stylized?) Tech Feed here.

OK, so you see where I’m going.  Not only could a driverless vehicle make you safer and more productive during your rush-hour commute, you could enjoy a drink with friends or family and arrive home safe and sound and DUI-free.  

And all the other potential benefits aside, I find this the greatest of them all.  ;-)


Dave the Wine Merchant

A Helpful Wine Tasting Reminder – Swirl & Sniff

dave the wine merchant with glass of syrahMy brother recently echoed a common frustration among wine drinkers – “I can’t recall aromas or flavors well enough to be a good wine taster”.  Well, taste and scent memory arecritical skills if you want to be successful with food or wine.  How else can one hope to think up the perfect pairing for a wine, or the seasoning to add to a dish?  But it takes work, just like toning a muscle or memorizing multiplication tables.

And our modern world is of no help – scents assault us at every turn, so manufacturers make them stronger and stronger.  We recently returned from a trip where our noses were assaulted by the scents of the flight attendant’s perfume, the deodorizer in the airplane’s bathroom, the soap shop whose open door allowed fake soap scents to waft a full block away, the potpourri in the hotel lobby and even the detergent used on our bedding and towels. These manufactured scents pervade our noses like muzak invades our ears, a subliminal foundation that makes it more difficult to be consciously aware of, say, the scent in our glass of wine.  If you want to be a better cook, gourmand, or wine taster, make an effort to turn off the constant hum of aromas in your daily existence.


P.S. Wine Tasting Etiquette – never wear cologne or other scents of any kind when attending a wine tasting. You may not smell it after five minutes (by then, your sense of smell has become de-sensitized to it), but everyone else can!