What does the iPhone mean to the Wine world?

iPhone? On a wine blog? Why the hell not. Its everywhere else today. The media blitz is rivaling anything Microsoft or any tech company has ever done.

So how does the iPhone related to wine? Simply, its a sign of things to come. I’ll most likely be out there in a line somewhere (there are a couple of stores that are back-water Cingular stores that won’t have lines that are incredibly bad).

So, sign of the things to come. This leads to the whole “Wine 2.0” discussion and is the current crop the right thing. Basically, with this first foray into truly mobile computing we are seeing a couple of important things – 1. Memory and computing power is effectively not an issue and 2. Wireless broadband will be everywhere – one way or the other – it will be everywhere. So with that, and with my call to have Wine 2.0 people “think different” (pun intended), start by assuming that memory and computing is infinite and broadband is wireless and everywhere. What does that do to your business models? How do we leverage this to enhance the wine experience and not just “share notes” all around.

So thank you, Apple. From the wine tech community, THANK YOU.

To the Wine technology community, I’ll steal Apple’s line and with devices like the iPhone, look at your development and THINK DIFFERENT! Help every one Enjoy the Wine Life!

Oh, by the way, here is a link to a live stream of the Palo Alto iPhone line:

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Wine Life Value Chain Revisited

Just thought it would be interesting to publish this. Vinfolio posted the results of a study about wine buying behavior. This study is posted a few weeks after I talked about what I call the Wine Life value chain (WLVC) and why it is that friends are the best source of wine recommendations. I also concluded that another great source, based on how the WLVC, is retail operators, i.e. you local wine corner wine shop. The theory of the WBVC is that in order for a purchase to be made in wine, because of the huge variety of wines and the subjectiveness of “good wine” based on someone’s taste buds, every point in the

value chain must be satisfied. Another conclusion is that online wine sales don’t take off because they violate the WLVC and until they solve the issue of not having a trusted source, it never will.

Now, thanks to the study that Vinfolio sites, there is empirical evidence supporting the WBVC theory (from the Vinfolio post).

The most influential opinions affecting consumer retail wine purchases over $20 (the highest category) were “wine-knowledgeable friends” (72%) followed by retail staff (61%). See chart below.

The Wine Spectator (54%) has more influence than Robert Parker (41%) amongst high price point consumers.

87% of consumer respondents agreed with the statement “I trust my own taste more than I do the wine critics.” Despite that, 49% agreed that “I try hard to avoid wines with poor ratings.”

Interestingly, most consumers (42%) disagreed with the statement that “There is a big quality difference between a wine related 92 points and one rated 88 points.” Note: another 39% were undecided on this statement.

Pretty cool, eh? Until online sites understand that the essence of a wine purchase is very different from, say, a DVD player, they will never understand how to make the online wine market take off.

This seems to be a recurring theme with me lately. Understand your business before you start a venture. Why hasn’t online wine sales taken off? I have a theory and there is mounting evidence that I’m right…I’m proud to toot my own horn on this one because I truly love wine, understand the market, have dedicated my life to studying the application of technology to real-world problems, and would love to see the merger of wine and technology take this market to new heights.

Enjoy the Wine Life!

Wine 2.0 needs Product Management…

In a proper high-tech organization, Product Management, basically, takes the highly complex technology that is created by high-tech companies and translates that into real, applicable solutions for real problems. The product manager needs to understand the target customer at a level that they don’t even understand themselves so that you can proactively identify the need of the customer before they can articulate it. If the customer articulates the need, then its probably too late for that product idea because they got the idea by seeing somewhere else first.

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Snooth.com to Wine-searcher.com: “The end cometh…”

I was recently invited to the private Beta of a new wine search site called Snooth by Philip James, the site’s CEO.  Snooth is a New York-based site that, very broadly, is a search engine for wines that combines searching wines and retail DBs, compiling of wine reviews/ratings into a composite “Snoothrank” rating, and social networking (friends, etc…).  You can find more of the Ps and Qs from their press release a couple months back.

The interface is slick and with funding on the order of a few hundred thou I wouldn’t expect anything less (because I’ve seen similar done with far less).  Lots of Ajax stuff to make the surfing smooth and overall a good

user experience.  I did my surfing in a place with Tier-1 connectivity to the Internet (i.e. multiple gigabits/sec) so my surfing experience my be skewed by the fact that speed is more processor constrained than connection constrained.

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