Mobile Wine App is Your Pocket Sommelier in the Liquor Store

Wine App for Mobile Phone

Anthony and I chat about how mobile wine apps are changing the way we learn about wine, and buy it. You can get my new wine app here as well as watch a video clip about it on CTV News.

We also chat about great wines for summer barbecues and casual gatherings.

Post with permission for Global Television.



Mobile Wine App is Your Pocket Sommelier in the Liquor Store


Anthony: Just in time for the summer. Have you ever gone to the LCBO and been so overwhelmed by the amount of choice? You don’t know if this goes with that or this with that or whatever? You don’t know how it will taste. Well, there is a great wine app for that. It is a brilliant idea. Wine expert Natalie MacLean is here to talk about her new app for smart phones which really breaks it down and makes it so much easier for the consumer.

Natalie: Yes, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to be a pocket sommelier. I can’t always be there with you wine shopping, I would like to, but the app can.

Anthony: How does it work?

Natalie: When you are in the liquor store and you’re facing a wall of bottles you might say, “Here’s a nice Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I wonder if it is any good? Does it go with my quiche or my grilled veggies?” All you need to do with the wine app is scan the barcode and up will come the wine review that I’ve done for this wine. So you would get the tasting notes, the score the food pairings …

Anthony: Brilliant!

Natalie: … and how much stock is in your local LCBO. Let us say there were only two bottles in the store where you are. It’ll say that you’re at Young and Bloor Streets, here. Go down the street, it’ll give you the map, and it’ll tell you there are another 6 bottles down there.

Anthony: It is amazing because when they are at the liquor store, how do people generally choose their wines? Some people, I mean it’s silly to say this, but some people base it not just on price but also on the label when they don’t necessarily know what it taste like.

Natalie: Exactly! Most people shop by the wine label when it comes to wine.

Anthony: Incredible!

Natalie: Because we can’t open it, at least legally, before we try it.

Anthony: Right!

Natalie: It’s an intimidating product. There’s a reason why we have wine critics. This app takes the intimidation out of buying wine. A lot of people don’t feel confident enough to ask a question or don’t know the question to ask. So, you just take your smart phone and you scan the barcode “Oh! Wow! That got a score of 89 and it goes with plank salmon. It’s a lovely Rossi.”

Anthony: Well, let’s say, I’m out on the street and someone tells me about a wine and I don’t have the barcode, is it possible to find that wine without having to go to every LCBO? Is it possible to find that wine, to know if it exist?

Natalie: Absolutely! So you can go the other way. You don’t have to start with the barcode. You can just go to the Quick Search, start typing the wine and it’ll guess the name for you. All of the sudden it’ll come up with the review. It’ll know where you are via GPS and the real time stock Inventory and say, “Hey! You’re at Young and Bloor”, Walk down the street, this is the wine, this is the price and these are the number of bottles that are in that liquor store now.

Anthony: So many people at home, I’m sure, are saying, “It is about time”.

Natalie: I think so!

Anthony: …. especially if you’re not a wine expert, if you’re just the average consumer.

Natalie: Exactly!

Anthony: You don’t know if it should go with this food, especially with how specific wine is or it is supposed to be.

Natalie:  Exactly! You can start with the food. People aren’t generally intimidated by roast chicken. Roast chicken is a roast chicken. Now, which of these wines will go with roast chicken? Where is it? What’s the price?

Anthony: Of these wines, I’m going to ask you, is there anything that stands out for you, any recommendations?

Natalie: This is great! There’s a good line up, here. I mentioned this Sauvignon Blanc from Niagara. Reif is a great Riesling, nice cool climate wine, great for seared tuna on a grill. If we go to Rosé, this one is dry. A lot of people have misperceptions about pink wines, but this is bone dry and great for the grill. Here is an unoaked Chardonnay from Niagara. Then we get into some full-bodied reds when you want a honking big red wine for grilled meats. All of these wines, I should mention, are under $20. I’m really keen on that. As I said, I think the combination of knowing which wines are close to you, knowing they’re in stock and being able to get the app.

I should mention the app is on iTunes, on my website They can find the app there. Or, they can go right to iTunes. We were fortunate that iTunes put it on their store front.

Anthony: There’s one bottle of wine that I tasted months and months ago and for the life of me I can’t find it. This is one of those things I would like to know if it’s in that store without having to go to every single one.

Natalie: Then, when you drink it a lot of people forget the wine they had. So, you can take a picture or keep a cellar log and the next time you go into the store you can say, ”Do you have this wine?”

Anthony: So, it keeps a list of your favourite, literally, it keeps a cellar in your smart phone.

Natalie: Exactly!

Anthony: So you can also get it on ?

Natalie: Yes or iTunes, or Android Google Marketplace and there’s a mobile site as well.

Anthony: We only have a few seconds but I want to ask you about organic wines.

Natalie: Yes!

Anthony: Do you label those? I mean the LCBO is doing a much better job of letting people know which wines are organic. Some people prefer that, not just for health reasons but for taste.

Natalie: Well, in the app, we tag every organic wine. You can search on organic only or Kosher only or best beef wine only. We categorized all the wines to make it easy. We’ve got a section that says, “Top 10 wines in the LCBO you’re standing in right now.” I have no idea what to buy. “Hey you’re in the LCBO here are ten wines.”

Anthony: Brilliant!

Natalie:  Thank you Anthony.

Anthony: Natalie MacLean, Thank you so much.

Natalie: Cheers!




Posted with permission of Global TV





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