I’ve been considering getting rid of my phone altogether. I already got rid of Facebook, and I couldn’t be happier about that decision. I do “tweet” but mostly just to troll the POTUS. Where I work there are telephones. I can email (and blog) on my own computer. I can carry a camera, just like the pioneers did once upon a time. In short, my iPhone 7 is really just another superfluous appliance in the kitchen of my life.
I recently listened to an interview about just how addicted people are getting to their phones, to the idiotic games we play, and it genuinely scared me. Some people spend upwards of 7 hours a day or more on their phone. People have been hit by cars trying to “catch” monsters on their phones. Another guy almost died in his dorm room playing games for over a month and sleeping an hour a night. Worst of all, it’s just bad manners to have the damn thing out when there are other humans around, much let allow it to distract you in the middle of having a conversation with a real person. It goes without saying that I am really starting to hate my iPhone, and honestly, I already hate yours. Why isn’t it gone already? There’s really just one reason: Vivino.
In the spirit of full disclosure and all that, I will say that I’ve written a few articles for Vivino in the past, but right now my gig with them isn’t paid, and even if it were, that really doesn’t change anything on my end. I just love using this thing, and I want to be sure that my fellow oenophiles know about it, if in fact you don’t already.
Vivino isn’t just my favorite app anymore, it’s the necessary compliment to my favorite pastime, which is drinking wine. When I’m tasting, I take a photograph of the label, scan it into Vivino, record my tasting notes, read reviews from other users, etc. My wife introduced me to the app, and I think she may regret it now, as I often spend copious amounts of time on my phone, writing my tasting notes and rating the wines I’ve tried lately. Then someone will comment on something I write, and I’ll reply, and, well, you can see how it starts to take up time.
When I go to buy wine, Vivino means having all of my tasting notes, nearly 3,500 now, in my pocket all at one time. In addition, I can read notes from other users who I follow. I often buy wine based on the reviews of Jay, Michelle, Rick, and others whose palates I admire and which are arguably somewhat like my own. I also follow people locally, Erin, Heather and others, and occasionally meet up with them to drink a glass of wine. Very soon, I’m planning on helping to put on a large “VivinOmaha” gathering, and meeting more people who use the app. On Saturday, I tasted 70 wines at a show (for reference, I tasted 70 wines; I drank no wine at all). Palate fatigue started to set in around number forty, but I soldiered on. Yet the reality is that without Vivino and my ability to take good notes on the spot, I wouldn’t have much idea what I drank only a few short days ago.
Lately, Vivino has expanded. There’s an entire online marketplace, and while I use Vivino to help me figure out what wines to buy, the idea of buying it straight from Vivino does admittedly intrigue me somewhat. I’ll pull the trigger here one of these days.
The reality is, if you ask me to choose between having a glass of wine that I know I love, and a glass I’ve never had before, I’ll almost always opt for the latter. Wine is just so diverse, so complex, and there are so many of them that I simply want to try them all, learning something new with every sip I take. Vivino helps me remember those sips, and guides me as I seek out others.
So there you have it: my sole remaining reason for having a smartphone — because I need it to drink wine. If you haven’t written me off as a luddite by now, read some of my posts about how much I love real corks, and you’ll know where I stand. It’s not that I don’t like technology, it’s that it has a place. More importantly, I want to control it, and not let it control me.
Wine, to me, is about relaxation of body and mind, what the Germans call gemutlichkeit. A soulful appreciation of the art of winemaking is a beautiful thing. That being said, I value Vivino not as a distraction, but for what it offers to me as a lover of wines. Whether you’re the type to stand in line for hours to be the first kid on your block to have the next Apple product, or more of my mindset, I think you’ll agree that Vivino is to wine what written language is to a powerful anecdote. It offers staying power, and a greater understanding, the ability to revisit time and again. It also creates community in an entirely organic, wonderful sort of way. If you haven’t already, download Vivino, and follow me (Mark Gudgel) while you’re at it. I look forward to reading about what you’re drinking!