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How to Become a Wine Expert Without Becoming a Sommelier

With proper use of apps, you can show off to your friends

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Apps are great for helping people become more knowledgeable about wines and educated on different brands
- Brad Mayer, vice president of public relations and experiences at Gruet Winery


Before the advent of smartphones and apps, learning about new wines required trips to wine country and knowing about letting tannins breathe. But now there are apps on your phone that do all that heavy lifting for you (though I still recommend taking at least one trip to Napa Valley).

Helping Hand for Beginners

One of the best apps to learn about wine is Vivino. It’s the perfect app for wine beginners because it has a detailed guide for 9.2 million wines with a thriving wine community. One of the best features of Vivino is discovering new wines and wineries.

New Mexico? Really?

Though New Mexico isn’t often thought of as a wine country, the “Land of Enchantment” has been home to winemakers since the 1600s, starting with Spanish monks making wine for Catholic Mass. Gruet Winery has grown to become one of the biggest wineries in New Mexico and its bottles are available for purchase directly through Vivino.

“Apps are great for helping people become more knowledgeable about wines and educated on different brands,” said Brad Mayer, vice president of public relations and experiences at Gruet Winery. “While we don’t reply on or endorse any app, in particular, we are grateful to be included in their listings.”

Sarah Lautman, a fan of wines, said she discovered Gruet through Vivino.

“Now Gruet has become one of my favorite wineries,” said Lautman. “Without apps like Vivino, I would probably just drink the same wines over and over; that can get boring and stale.”

One of the coolest features of Vivino is its scanning feature. Simply scan a wine bottle and it instantly pulls up the wine’s profile page, which includes price, reviews, and what pairs best with the bottle.

The Evolving World of Wine

So even if you think you know wine, wines and people’s palates are ever-evolving. Wines like pink or rosé and ciders and sangria are becoming more popular, according to a report on the U.S. wine industry in 2019 by Dr. Liz Thach, a wine professor, and researcher.

So while wine staples like chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, reds and pinot grigios continue to be the most popular wine varieties, “crossover” cannabis wines and “low carb” wines are making a foothold in the industry. Wine drinkers are also paying closer attention to gluten-free and paleo-friendly wines.

In fact, wine sold via winery tasting rooms, events and e-commerce, including apps like Vivino, continues to be a fast-growing segment. Wine sales directly to consumers increased 12 percent to $3 billion in sales in 2018, according to a Nielsen study. Apps like Vivino allow wine purchases depending on your state.

Furthermore, the demographics are changing. If you thought just your parents drink wine, millennials (people between 24 and 41) are actually the biggest wine drinkers even over boomers, according to the Wine Market Council.

The Versatility of Wine Apps

If you just want to know what wine pairs best with the dinner you’re making tonight, there are apps to help with just that. Hello Vino helps you find the perfect wine for any occasion or meal.

Moreover, you can input what you’re having with your meal and not only will the app recommend wines, it provides ratings and information on each wine. As an added bonus to impress your friends, it helps you pronounce wine names.

But if you’re looking for an app to take your wine game to the next level, Vinous is the perfect app. The app includes curated wine selections by famous wine critics, complete with a glossary so you can learn the difference between Carménère and German Riesling grapes.

Now you can at least pretend to know what you’re looking at when you see the wine list at your next dinner. 

  • Big fan of Vivino here! ?

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