Despite the Ancient Greeks' tendency towards hedonism, I'm pretty sure the mystic sages weren't talking about wine when they inscribed the familiar aphorism, "know thyself," onto the walls of the Apollo Temple.
But when it comes to developing your unique palate, the mantra could not be more applicable. Sure, the experts can talk about the five big characteristics — sweetness, acidity, tannin, fruit and body — until they're as red in the face as the merlot they're swilling, but the hard truth is your average wine drinker hasn't the time or the experience to identify those traits, let alone which particular characteristics appeal to them.
And that's why Quini is here. An interactive wine-rating app for your smartphone, tablet or computer, Vancouver-based Quini is helping you better understand your tastes and what's in your glass.
Launched last spring, Quini uses a visually appealing rating system that narrows your tasting experience down to five categories: eye (appearance), nose (aroma), mouth (in-mouth sensations), finish (aftertaste) and opinion, which are represented as flower petals in the app.
"From a consumer point of view, think of Quini as the way to stop guessing and start enjoying wines," said Quini CEO Roger Noujeim. "The way it works is that Quini analyzes and understands your likes and dislikes. In fact, it becomes the shortcut to figuring out your likes and dislikes so you can enjoy your wine more."
And while the app makes it easier to find the perfect pairing for your next dinner party — the app is searchable by wine, winery, region, varietal, vintage year, and more — it also helps you hone in on the specific characteristics you're looking for instead of relying on someone else's opinion.
"People can go on for decades, going on wine tours, trying to figure out what they want to enjoy, etc.," Noujeim said. "But what Quini is doing is taking... the consumer to the next stage of discovery, and that is relying on one's self and putting a tool in your hands that helps you accelerate that discovery."
And it's not just the consumer that will benefit from an immersive wine app like Quini, Noujeim said, but also the industry as a whole.
"The pain point for the wine industry has always been 'past-casting' versus forecasting," he said.
"Quini data supplements (past sales data) with the facts as to whether people enjoyed or did not enjoy the wines that got purchased last month because that is a more true indicator of whether they're going to re-purchase these kinds of wines again or not. This data has been missing."
The app was a big hit for attendees at last weekend's Crush Gala wine tasting at Cornucopia, Noujeim said, and offers prospective events organizers the chance to create their own app using Quini's template to interact with consumers directly in real time.
"It gives event organizers a lot more ideas to work with, like consumer voting on a top-of-the-show wine or winery, for example. It allows them to project live reviews as they come in on the screen and allows the consumer to compare with others side by side," said Noujeim.
"It's far more engaging for the consumer when they know their voice is being counted on as part of the event."