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A new way to sample wine?


Carolyn Tillie
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From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

To the traditional wine-tasting procedure of "sniff, swirl, sip," the nation's first wine automat has added two new steps: "Insert smart card, push button."

VinoVenue, a trendy tasting room in San Francisco that opened this fall, has the potential to revolutionize wine tasting in the United States.

Unlike a traditional wine bar, where a few dozen wines are available by the glass or half glass, VinoVenue sells more than 100 wines as machine-poured, 1-ounce tastes. It's the first wine "automat" in the United States and one of just a handful worldwide.

Guess I need to head into the city to check it out...

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That's kinda cool!! I'd definitely check it out, if only for the novelty of it.

My only concern would be that without human intervention the "dispenser" doesn't know if a bottle is corked or has been opened a tad too long.

Certainly though, it is a novel enough concept to draw people to try things they normally might not and to feel no snobbery or condescension for their choices. That can only be a good thing.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I too like the idea, especially the fact that the wines are kept under argon (acts as preservative and propellant) so they will be in good condition. The bottles still are opened and replaced by hand, so presumbly they can check for taint at that time. One hopes they do. I want to stop by and see what their by-the-glass prices work out to, and try some of the offbeat stuff.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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There actually is a second one in the US, here in Austin, at Tuscany Market. It works quite well, I checked it out, though silly Tx laws require an employee to TAKE the customer's card and physically get the pour and hand it to the customer...

Cheers,

Rob

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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A bunch of the local food bloggers went a couple weeks back. (for those interested, here's Amy's take and Sam's take)

It is a pretty neat concept. (Note, I haven't read the article yet, so forgive me if I repeat what they say). It's sort of like having a big wine-by-the-glass selection where you gets tastes rather than full glasses. There were probably 40-50 bottles when we were there, with a wide range of styles. Some well-known names, but also some small lot makers and unique wines (there was one from Mexico). The staff wants to have "comfort wines" and "new discovery wines" represented for much the same reasons restaurants do. The "expensive" wall had a Gaja Barbaresco ($18/taste) and a '97 d'Yquem ($28) among others. The cheapest taste I remember was about $1. They had little snacks for us, but they didn't seem to have much in the way of food.

It's worth checking out, though Sam's argument that it's a little sterile is a valid one. But it's a great chance to "try before you buy."

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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  • 4 months later...

I think this is a terrific idea! Anyone know where they bought the tchnology from?? I googled all over the place, but no mention of the company that actually makes the machine. Since there are two places that use it, my guess is that its not proprietary to Vinovenue....

Ant

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Here is the review I wrote on the place last November on Gang of Pour.com. From my interview of the owners, they got the technology from Italy. Other than that, they are keeping it a huge secret with the idea of establishing proprietary franchises.

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Here is the review I wrote on the place last November on Gang of Pour.com.  From my interview of the owners, they got the technology from Italy. Other than that, they are keeping it a huge secret with the idea of establishing proprietary franchises.

One could probably track down the mystery by writing Slow Food in Bra and asking them. They have(had?) a tasting room set up with this technology. Some friends of mine stumbled on it and told us about it long before Vino Venue set up. They thought it was very odd for Slow Food to be showing off this mechanized wine dispenser with no people around or anything.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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Does this sound anything like the robotic bartenders to anyone else?  There is such a thing as mercy... as is evidenced by the fact that they probably won't catch on.

Reminded me of the old idea of the automat diner.

I wonder, though, if there is some liability issue?

It is always up to the bartender to assess when to stop serving a patron.

Is there a little red light that goes on behind the counter if a client is over indulging?

Wonder if they can use under age staff, since they aren't actually serving alcoholic beverages.

Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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