I am constantly being asked in classes, lectures, tastings and informal chats what the best Social Wine Network is for storing, evaluating and sharing experiences. And my answer is always the same: It depends on what you´re looking for with this network, because, in my opinion, they have yet to design an app that is perfect and complete for everyone or at least for the vast majority of Brazilian oenophiles.
There are many networks out there but none with as much scope in Brazil as Vivino, and that’s why I’m going to focus there. Vivino is the App which comes closest to the needs of consumers. And this is because it works very well, storing the wines, giving the user the possibility to classify them with “stars” according to one´s taste and also to leave comments for others to see. Furthermore, the platform of Vivino allows for the correction of information such as vintage or type of grape. However, there are 2 things about Vivino with which I have my doubts and which “social-oenophiles” should be vigilant:
First and foremost is the price. Unfortunately, Vivino still hasn’t found a way to standardize prices by region. So, say a user buys a wine in Paris for 10 Euros, and posts that they paid 10 Euros, we know that in Brazil the price of wines is different from other countries, and in the vast majority of cases much more expensive. And so, a Brazilian user who buys the same wine in San Pablo, puts that they paid 100 Reals. What do we do? How do we work out the average price? With a simple calculation of – 100 Reals + 35 Reals (10 Euros with an exchange rate of 3.5 Reals) = 135 Reals, which gives us an incorrect average of R$ 67.50, which makes no sense in either currency. So, much care and attention is needed with the base prices, as they seem to vary greatly and are often not exact.
Another problem that needs our attention is the evaluations system. Ultimately, anyone, with any level of knowledge can assess wines, from the most basic to the most expert. So these assessments, like the prices, vary way too much. But the main thing in relation to evaluations is not variation, but personal taste. So if a wine on Vivino is given a maximum evaluation (5 Stars), that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will like it, because wine is very personal, and everyone likes a different type of wine! So my suggestion is, that if you’re going to look for a wine on Vivino, or any other social network of wines, make sure you use the filter option to choose people to follow and see those who are more trustworthy and who have similar tastes to yours. Thus, the possibility of wildly varying opinions and evaluations, is minimized.
So, my tips for getting the most out of Vivino and consequently other wine networks or applications are:
-As a tool for registering, remembering and commenting on wines you’ve enjoyed, Vivino is perfect!
-Pay attention to the price of wines, especially if the application has users from several countries.
-Pay attention to the evaluations. Anyone can evaluate and say whatever they want.
-Use a filter to choose those who you follow in order to have better parameters.