A Digital Grapevine: Mobile Apps Boom at the Intersection of Tech and Wine

By Brandee Sanders, Foodable Contributor

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Buying wine with a right swipe on your phone and having it arrive on your doorstep? Snapping a picture of a label and instantly geo-connecting with other people drinking it right now across the world? This isn’t the realm of Twilight Zone sci-fi. In fact, it’s the here and now. Make no mistake about it: Mobile wine apps are booming.

According to Google’s Shopper Marketing Council, “84 percent of smartphone shoppers use their phone to help shop while in a store. Eighty-six percent of smartphone usage occurs within apps, with only 14 percent of consumers' smartphone usage taking place on mobile websites, according to Yahoo! Flurry Analytics' data set of more than 450,000 apps installed on 1.3 billion mobile devices.” That’s a lot of data!

This past February, wine app Hello Vino shared a study by Lotus Growth, revealing “The Influence of Mobile Apps on Wine Purchases.” It notes that most wine consumers were not aware of the wineries or brands prior to engaging with the promoted wines in the app. Also, consumers who confirmed purchase of the promoted wine reportedly bought an average of 2.4 bottles, with a majority of consumers purchasing the same wine brand again within six months.

With the list of wine apps — like Delectable, Banquet, Hello Vino, Plonk, and, of course, Wine-Searcher — growing longer every day, we see wine tech taking a fresh command in the digital space. For the industry, it’s imperative that retailers and professionals take notice and plan accordingly.

Below, we chat with a well-known thought influencer and industry specialist at the forefront of this expanding technology: Julia Weinberg of Banquet. Banquet was recently featured in Bon Appétit magazine's December 2015 issue, as well as by the Apple store this past January as a featured app.

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Q&A: Julia Weinberg, Creative Development & Partnerships at Delectable, Banquet

Foodable: Tell us a little bit about your yourself as well as your knowledge of wine application(s) and how you see them affecting the current competitive space for wine-based apps.

Julia Weinberg: Well, firstly, I love wine! And being as I work in wine tech, it’s easy for me to see that apps are everywhere. People love the convenience, and mobile app flexibility really allows for that instant gratification. These news apps aim right at that goal by bringing in wine and buyers from credible sources with confidence and ease. On a personal level, I saw with Delectable/Banquet that people love the convenience of buying wine through their smartphones. One-touch purchasing was a huge improvement over the traditional online wine shopping world, which is seriously tricky to navigate and fraught with endless obstacles, the most prominent being limited selection, unreliable availability, variable quality of sources, and an overall cumbersome check-out process.

Foodable: Is mobile trumping desktop? Do we see a trend in that happening?

JW: As a buyer and a seller, absolutely. Anyone who works in a wine or food industry can see the demand being generated for accessible content on mobile rising, sometimes in double digits. So, the content has be there now. And not just average blurbs focusing on the “sales” aspect, but curated, genuine messaging that really rises to the top when it comes to app UX.

Foodable: Interesting – so it’s about messaging and marketing to individuals? Do you feel like the rise of the app also plays into social elements and sharing? Should the wine industry be preparing?

JW: They’re inexorably linked for sure — people love to see and be seen, and live for personalization UX, especially when it comes to luxury wine, food, and travel online.

Foodable: Where do you see tech and wine growing in 2016?

JW: Definitely more mobile wine e-commerce, as is the trend right now. While the past few years of wine and tech have seen a surge in getting access to great information, which is wonderful, I believe that in the summer of 2016, we will see that information getting delivered in more meaningful, digestible, and actionable ways. Preparing and planning for that boom is important and definitely something to raise a glass to.