Innovative new app launches new wine marketplace and helps everyone pick the best wine for their occasion, food and budget
The world of wine can be an archaic — and intimidating — place.
There are some 10,000 varieties of grapes that can be used to make wine; add in wines that are blends of two or more varietals, and the choice facing a regular, average consumer is massive. And that says nothing for the nuances of a proper food pairing, or what it smells like “on the nose” or the hints of this or that flavour on the palate.
somm™, a new app available for free download on Android and iOS, is working to shatter all of those barriers and give everyone an accessible way to discover a whole new world of wine through its Marketplace. somm™ and its Marketplace officially launched on December 18th.
“There are so many unwritten rules when it comes to buying and enjoying a glass or bottle of wine that it can lead to a lot of guessing, intimidation and confusion,” says Jennifer Stasiewich, founder and chief executive officer of somm™. “Wine is meant to be loved and enjoyed, so we need to revolutionize how wine is selected and sold, and remove these barriers. Even individuals who feel like they are ‘everyday wine experts,’ can be left staring blankly at menus or aimlessly meandering wine shops. We did the research, most people are just guessing, we call it the ‘pick and pray method,’ and it doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 55. Some wine lists are so obscure, even trained sommeliers are left wondering. somm™ works with you to eliminate that guesswork and enhance your wine experience.”
The team at somm™ consists of seasoned tech experts and developers, but most notably also includes real sommeliers — Yann Le Guillou, the former general manager of alo Restaurant, Jordan Mazzanti, a sommelier from Langdon Hall, and Élyse Lambert – one of Canada’s only master sommeliers.
“It was important to me that we had trained and experienced hospitality professionals on the team,” says Stasiewich. “Aside from the integrity and credibility of the app, we believe in building strong, mutually accretive and complementary relationships with our partners, and as a result, we needed to have people from the industry directly on our team.”
The somm™ Marketplace launched on December 18 and opens the floodgates to a whole new world of wine for retail consumption.
“It’s everything you can’t get at the LCBO,” says Stasiewich. “We’ve partnered with ecommerce platforms, bottle shops, wineries, wine agencies and hotels to give our users a whole new world of wine to shop from. By buying through somm™’s Marketplace, our users can now easily explore a world that was previously reserved for private and commercial clients.”
From the selection side, the somm™ app is integrated with a growing number of restaurant wine lists and bottle shop inventories (even the LCBO’s core inventory), and also has a general guidance function, so that the consumer can pick what’s best for them, no matter where they are: out at a restaurant, shopping at a store, or even at home.
By asking the user a series of simple questions — such as what’s the occasion? What food are you eating? What kind of wine are you in the mood for? — somm™ provides the user with great suggestions tailored to the user’s responses. It is also equipped with a “digital wine cellar” where users can log all of the wines they have enjoyed for future reference, and even buy directly from somm™’s partners.
“Wine can be an obscure, pretentious world to the uninitiated, which makes buying wine needlessly nerve-wracking for a lot of people,” says Jennifer. “somm™ makes no assumptions. We keep things approachable, accessible and intuitive.”
somm™ is launching in Toronto but has plans to expand across Canada through 2021, and then into the United States and, ultimately, global.