There’s nothing quite like being the asshole in the wine shop who keeps grabbing a bottle, holding it in front of his phone for a few seconds, and then repeating the process down the aisle to find the best option to bring to a holiday get-together. That feeling’s only exacerbated by the fact that comparing wines this way often takes much longer than it should because of the apps used to gather information.
Vivino is changing that with a new feature that makes it easy to compare a few bottles of wine without having to jump back and forth between various screens. The feature, which is aptly named Quick Compare, displays at the bottom of the screen community ratings for each bottle scanned. People interested in learning more can also tap a button to get more details about the fermented grape juice.
Heini Zachariassen, the company’s chief executive, says Quick Compare came about partly because Vivino users wanted the app to be more efficient and partly because the company itself was frustrated about how it handled comparisons. The feature was a hit with focus groups, and Zachariassen said that even though it’s a small addition to the app people were very excited when they got to test it.
It isn’t hard to see why. Apps like Vivino are used in two ways: By people looking to catalogue and rate the wines they drink; and by people wandering around the aisles of a wine store trying to decide what bottle they should spend money on. A scanning feature that takes a lot of time to use is fine for first usage category, but it wasn’t particularly convenient for people who primarily relied on the second.
Of course, the desire to learn more about a wine before purchasing it can be handled in other ways. There are recommendation services like Wine Ring, which claim to know what people like to drink based on their existing habits, and there’s always the knowledge held by workers in most reputable wine stores. There’s also the pull and pray method — off the shelf, weirdos — but that’s risky.
Nothing will remove the shame of plucking bottle after bottle off a shelf and trusting the masses to choose what wine should be purchased. But at least now Vivino users will be able to conduct their business quickly instead of repurposing a utility that was clearly developed with one particular use-case in mind. Will that help the app reach new users? Maybe. Could it make Vivino’s existing users appreciate the app a little bit more? Almost certainly. Sometimes that’s enough.