If you are like me then you have sometimes had to cover a wince when you take that first sip of a new wine bottle. Despite a pretty label and a fancy medal, it just didn’t taste good. Now I’m no wine expert, but I do like to drink it…when I can find a bottle that fits my preferences. Problem is, I have no way of reliably doing that…until now.
I was scrolling through wine tasting apps, trying to find something that would help me pick out a good bottle. With my favorite restaurant closed (thanks COVID-19!) I wanted to treat myself by adding some decent wine to my home cooked menu to brighten it up. The very first app caught my eye with its pretty red colors: Palate Club. It didn’t have a lot of reviews…but all of them were positive, and hey, it was free, so I hit download.
This was two months ago, and now I’m about to receive my second shipment from them: not sure I’ll ever go back to the liquor store for wine.
What is the Palate Club experience?
Their app is still pretty basic but fit exactly what I needed. Here was a way to purchase wine online, have it delivered to my door, and better yet, have it adapted to My taste. When I got the app I found myself scrolling through wines without much direction, so went to their website instead. There I took a quick quiz, and immediately the app changed up its offerings to match my ‘profile’.
It wasn’t perfect yet, I could tell there might be one or two I didn’t love, but the very fact that it took into account my somewhat unusual taste was very promising. Then I saw there was a promotion on a tasting kit. A blind tasting kit. They had my attention!
When we opened it up the next week, we found the bottles elegantly wrapped up, concealing any branding, labeling or other source of bias. Already I liked their attitude, knowing the limits and flaws of excessive marketing, I wanted to focus on the wine. It took us another week but I drank them all (I had some help!) and rated them directly on their app. I could see in real time as the app changed my preference profile as it took into account my ratings.
I loved the idea so much I signed up for their monthly wine delivery, and each set has been closer and closer to what I look for in my wines. Thanks to their taste matching tech I have been wincing a lot less, and smiling a lot more.
Combining wine and tech
It’s not just the wines I like at Palate Club, but the idea at the core of their project as well. Every customer has different tastes, and should be able to find wines that match their…well…palate. Yet stores and brands focus so much on labeling, fancy descriptions that mean nothing to me, arbitrary rankings or medals. These plucky innovators turn that on its head, putting me first.
To do so they seem to have leveraged quite sophisticated algorithms that take the data from my wine ratings, and combine it with their expert’s assessments of the wines. They claim up to 200 data points per bottle. Frankly I wasn’t sure how that is even possible, but given how even a subtle difference in ratings can change things (from 4 to 3 stars on one bottle reordered the top wine suggests almost completely) there must be something to it.
I certainly look forward to enjoying this upcoming delivery, and learning more about what exactly it is I like in my wine, so far I’ve discovered that acidity is something I DO like (I would neer have guessed) but bitterness is not. Without Palate Club I would never have even known the difference, my taste buds are certainly not up to the task. But I can surely tell the difference when drinking the wines.
Even if you don’t plan to stick with a subscription like me, the insights offered even after a few tastings is impressive. Evidence that technology can help us even in expected fields; how the tradition steeped wine industry will react? Well, they would be smart to follow suit!