Another left turn
Some time ago I announced some pretty big career changes. Back then I was starting my first full-time job in the wine industry and had aspirations of being a “high-end” wine educator and blogger. My software developer days were forever behind me–or so I thought. After about a year I started feeling uncomfortable in my role as an “educator.” I started getting imposter syndrome and, more importantly, I didn’t feel like I was helping people discover wine for themselves. After all, I wanted to be an educator, not an expert.
I was also, as a software developer, finding myself increasingly frustrated with the sales and marketing software I was using in my job. So, after two years at Dry Creek Vineyard—an experience that I will always cherish—I decided to take a job with a small direct-to-consumer marketing company called WineGlass Marketing as a data analyst and programmer. At the same time I enrolled in a software bootcamp to retool my development skills and while there decided to develop a software app idea I had been toying with for years.
Have you ever asked yourself why Sommeliers and Wine Masters have to take those arduous blind tasting tests? Sure, they have to show they can recognize what’s in the glass, but it’s also the best way to actually learn. Students do blind tastings to get good at them, but they also learn the different nuances of varietals, styles and regions along the way.
I love tasting wine blind—even though I’m not particularly good at it. I especially like to do it with friends. If you ever want to make a wine snob cringe, invite them to a blind tasting. It’s a lot of fun, but more importantly, it’s flat out the best way to discover wines you like with no flowery descriptions, no pretty labels, and no point scores. It’s just you and your senses comparing 6 wines. You either like it, or you don’t…and isn’t that all that matters?
In my own blind tasting experiences my friends and I always struggled with doing the tally at the end of the tasting. Sure, we all knew what we liked, but what did everyone like? What was the best buy? This required math. Something nobody should have to deal with after a night of tasting wine. So, for many years the idea of a blind wine tasting app has been kicking around in my head. Done right, the app would have to:
- Have a hosted invite system
- Display tasting and wine descriptions
- Keep track of taster scores and comments by wine number
- Keep a running tab on overall tasting statistics
- Close a tasting and reveal the wines
- Encourage interaction between tasters
- Store tasting data for tasters to review later
- Be fun and easy to use (this one especially)
Introducing Yno Tasting. This app will hopefully accomplish what I originally set out to do as a wine educator: help people enjoy wine more by learning what they like. The app is free for all to use. Just sign up as a Yno Host and start your own tasting. I will provide affordable suggested tasting lists of commonly found wines for those needing a kickstart. Feel free to email me with your questions/suggestions.
Now get out there, and Go Blind!