If you have trouble figuring out what is the best wine to pair with tonight’s dinner, we have some good news: artificial intelligence may soon be able to help you with that age old question, ‘Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc?’ That’s because a new wave of AI-powered virtual sommeliers are now available to help make those decisions.

Old Problem, New Solution

For decades the wine industry has struggled to overcome the anxiety associated with selecting a wine. Now thanks to technology you no longer have to have an awkward conversation with the clerk at the wine store, but can turn to a virtual sommelier to pick the perfect bottle.

There have been many virtual wine selectors available for some time.  However, we are now seeing increasing intelligence integrated into these solutions, making them both more powerful and more personal.

Wine Ring, headquartered in Syracuse, New York and founded in 2010, offers one of the most personal wine selection experiences available.  Unlike other apps that offer wine suggestions based on pairing suggestions or expert ratings, Wine Ring bases suggestions on your individual preferences.  This app uses advanced algorithms to develop a personal profile based on your rating of wines and then recommends bottles based on your taste profile. The more wine you drink and rate, the better the AI and the better the wine recommendations.

Google is also serving up wine suggestions.  Google’s new “My Wine Guide” is a conversation action added to Google Assistant for wine pairing suggestions.  While My Wine Guide is currently limited in its depth of AI and personalization of wine suggestions, what makes Google’s virtual sommelier most promising is how it integrates easy conversation format with computer based wine queries. Looking forward, “My Wine Guide” could become even more useful is to take the food pairing suggestion and then offer a variety of wines matching that paring at different price points which the user could verbally order and have delivered via a service like Drizzly, all from conversation based commands.

Once you get your recommendation from Wine Ring or “My Wine Guide” you can take it to Wine Searcher, a tool for locating and pricing wine (and beer and spirits) across all online stores.  Wine Searcher uses artificial intelligence to classify wines, linking the hundreds of thousands of products and tens of thousands of retailers to produce wine suggestions and pricing based on inputted search terms.

Wine Searcher is also integrating label recognition technology and developing a chatbot to improve user interaction with the site.

Vivino is already using label recognition technology to help guide wine purchases.  With Vivino the user simply takes a photo of the wine label they are considering and is instantly provided the wine’s rating, average price and review from the community of 22 million users.  The app then tracks which wines you scan and rate, but does not at this point offer suggestions based on your profile.

All of these tools aim to take the age-old mystery out of picking wine by applying artificial intelligence. While the wine industry is steeped in tradition and ancient ways, it could be the very modern application of artificial intelligence that makes wine and wine selection relevant to today’s consumers.

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Image credit: Flickr user a.has

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