Vivino.com, now the most popular wine App, began simply as a resource tool and has evolved quickly into an all-purpose site.
It caught my attention about 3 years ago as a clever, useful App that allows you to take a photo of a wine label and get instant feedback and reviews of that wine.
The App is free to download on the apple store, google play, and windows phone. Other sites now have a similar app but these guys started it.
Headed by a couple of techies from Denmark, Vivino is the brainchild of Heini Zachariassen who was joined by co-founder Theis Søndergaard in 2010. The Founding Fathers, as they call themselves, simply saw a need for making information readily available to wine consumers.
Et Voila Vivino! Or whatever they say in Copenhagen.
Vivino now employ 80 people and even have an office in San Francisco to help it deal with its over 18 million subscribers. Yes, 18 million!
As it fine-tunes its own direct wine sales department, Vivino offers wines no other site has. Many are from California, and it is now featuring the 2013 T-Vine Grenache, 2012 Elizabeth Spencer “GPS,” 2012 Seltzer Stags Leap Cabernet, 2012 Lateral Napa Red, and Marietta Cellars Arme.
Vivino is also the only website offering wines from the cult-like Alpha Omega and other hard-to-find wines such as Sbragia Home Ranch Chardonnay.
Imports, when offered, are equally fascinating, such as a Pomerol, the 2010 Gombaude-Guillot, and the 2013 Ornellaia Serre Nuove.
You also know how many bottles remain for each wine offered and how much time is left before the deal is removed.
New wines are added daily.
As A Search Engine
In the early days, it occasionally failed to deliver reviews of older vintages or under the radar wines. But recently, it had reviews of every Cabernet, Pinot or French wine I could think of because it now elicits reviews from its members as well as published reviews from experts.
These reviews from members follow the Tripadvisor 5-star format, and some reviewers are then followed by other reviewers on Facebook. Several subscribers, mainly sommeliers, have reviewed over 1,000 wines.
According to the Founders, its “users contribute ratings for millions of wines from around the globe, and collectively, this database makes up the largest wine library in the world.”
To make your decision-making easier in this social media world, Vivino now lists the top wines rated by subscribers in specific states. So you can see the top 25 wines from $20 to $40 from Texas or Mass. Washington State, or whatever state you live in.
But the list of lists continues with 11 Malbecs, 10 New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs or 2 California Syrahs. Or maybe that was two turtle doves.
Well, the point is these people like compiling lists.
Admittedly, I was intrigued by the top ten wines sold at Safeway and Whole Foods. Seriously, do people buy Opus One and Dom at a Safeway? There’s also a top 100 wines list.
As an Online Merchant
Recently, Vivino ratcheted up its own list of wines for sale using a third party retailer for fulfillment. This exciting development is spearheaded by Peter Ekman who judging from the selections, knows where to find excellent wines at good discounts. Shipping is normally free for 4 or 6 bottles and the discounts range from 25% to 60%.
These wines are offered through a local retailer, Vintage Berkeley which ships out of San Leandro.