I can name 50 different craft beers off the top of my head, but put me in the world of wine, and the labels all blend together. I know California zins will wake me up in the middle of the night with a sugar high, and cabs from Chile tend to taste too much like licorice for my palate. But my go-to red is from a vineyard I can’t even name.
I’ll admit all that because I know that I’m not alone in the wine aisle, trying to distinguish one serifed typeface from another. And for people like us, a subscription service called Bright Cellars–developed by two MIT graduates–has been working for the last year to help people figure out what they like.
It subtly and simply asks you about flavors you like, such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, orange juice or tomato juice. There’s no mention of dry or sweet, currant or stone, single grape or blend, or regional preference. In the brief quiz, the only time you pick from wines is to say whether you’re usually a red or a white drinker, and whether or not you’re willing to venture out of your comfort zone.
On the backend, an algorithm sorts through your answers to fit within 18 different qualities of wine, and then you’re matched up with choices from there. Over time, as you review the bottles, the service will fine tune its suggestions in response.
It’s tough to know how well the service actually works without sampling the results. (Just because there’s an algorithm at work doesn’t mean it’s the right algorithm at work–and while the service actually launched last year, I’m still not digging up a legitimate wine snob review.) I was recommended a prosecco (I’m always poppin’ bottles!), a pinot noir (which, depending, could be mediocre or fantastic), a cab/grenache blend (which seems like a generic, safe pick), and an Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (a variety I’ve had maybe once, and I was OK with it). Depending on the year, vineyard, etc, they could all be great picks for me. And who knows, maybe one will be really stellar make me think of the grape in a new light.
What I still say is, the cost of finding out is pretty reasonable. The club runs $60/month, but that includes four bottles priced at $15 apiece.
[via Discovery News]