Pretty cool stuff. The iPad wine list is gaining traction. It is easy to use and, according to their data, it increases wine sales. I couldn’t confirm it with any of the people I know that are using them.
The system allows for the restaurant customer to surf the wine or cocktail list and if wanted, place their order directly to the bar or service bar. This is designed to expedite service and get the cocktail, beer or wine to the table quicker. None of the current users I know of are set up for direct ordering and prefer to take the wine/beverage order table-side.
I was impressed by the functions the system offer. There are photos of the bottle and descriptions of the wines, along with food and wine pairing options from the menu. Other features were showing rankings and vintage information.
You can sort by color size, style, grape, region, or price.
In the old days, if you wanted to remember the wine you just enjoyed, you either had the server write it down for you or have them soak the label off. Now days you take a picture from your iPhone or scan the QRC code found on many wine bottles.
The iPad list has a feature that allows you to email it to yourself or even post it to your Facebook page.
I like the look and feel of the list, sure, it’s not paper and takes a little surfing, but it’s very Green. No paper or ink; something I care about.
I like the Back of the House functions that keeps a running inventory and will remove a wine from the list if it is sold out – As the system updates every five minutes. That means No More Out of Stocks on the wines being ordered on a busy night. That is one of my pet peeves. If I have to order more than twice to get a wine, I start pulling my hair out, it’s so frustrating. You pick a wine that has you salivating and then have to reload and try to build up your enthusiasm gain and again.
A friend of mine was astounded by the system and told me that sommeliers wouldn’t be needed in the future. Well, I have news for him, the wines don’t pick themselves. It takes skill and a pallet to put together the dynamics of a wine list. Even with the features of the iPad, it can’t adequately describe a sauce or texture of a dish or the lingering intensity of a wine or how long it should take to “open up”. The iPad can’t open and serve a bottle or decant an older wine to make sure the sediment is left behind.
No, I don’t think sommeliers should be looking over their shoulder. If anything, it takes someone with excellent knowledge of wine, spirits and cocktails to set the iPad system up. It is, as with a traditional paper list, a reflection of the soul of a sommelier. It is their personal statement.
Will this new technology replace wine lists all together?
I don’t see it replacing wine lists on the grand scale, but a steady slow growth in use.
I’m old school and enjoy thumbing through the pages of a wine list; just wish the print was larger……… Guy