Last year, the BBC highlighted the growing trend of AI-powered wine recommendation apps, such as FinpåVin, which are changing the way people select their next bottle of wine. However, Sippd, a notable application in this field, has recently shut down, raising doubts about the necessity of such technology for simplifying the process of choosing wine.
The story of Sippd, created by Blake Hershey, illustrated the demand for innovative solutions in the wine industry. Hershey recognised the difficulty individuals faced in choosing wine without extensive knowledge or advice. This led to the creation of Sippd, which offered a personalised journey in wine discovery, beginning with a quiz to understand user preferences and evolving with each interaction. Despite Sippd’s closure, its approach and the concept behind it remain interesting.
The popularity of these apps, as seen with Sippd’s initial success in the US with over 100,000 users and FinpåVin’s unique approach in Norway, demonstrates their appeal. They cater not just to novice drinkers but also serve as platforms for wine education and exploration. John Downes, a Master of Wine, notes the significance of these apps in connecting with people in ways the traditional wine trade often does not.
However, there is a counterargument. Wine writer Jamie Goode and Oxford University professor Sandra Wachther suggest that while AI can assist, it cannot fully replicate the human experience and expertise in wine selection. Goode emphasises the complexities of wine that may be beyond the scope of an app.
While AI and apps like FinpåVin provide an accessible introduction to the world of wine, enhancing knowledge and breaking down barriers, the essence of wine enjoyment, in my personal view, is rooted in the physical journey itself, not the destination. It’s about exploration, tasting, personal experiences and the unexpected joy of discovering a bottle that truly resonates. In this journey, technology serves as a very helpful guide, but the true delight in wine lies in the adventure of discovery, driven by our senses and individual tastes.