Like a great many people, Heini Zachariassen was intimidated by wine.
“I’d walk into a supermarket and see this wall of wine and have no idea what I’d want to buy,” he told Metro. “I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a rating system.”
So in 2010, Zachariassen decided to do something about it, and Vivino was born. Fast-forward to today, and Vivino is the most downloaded mobile wine app and, with nearly 30 million users, the world’s most popular wine community.
“This was really born out of frustration,” Zachariassen said. “People didn’t want a fancy, good-looking product with bells and whistles. They wanted to know the wine in front of them, what is the rating? What is the price? Are there tasting notes?”
With Vivino, wine drinkers can get ratings, reviews and prices on more than 9.4 million wines from 207,000 wineries in 3,175 regions across the globe.
Plus, by using Vivino’s in-app scanner, they can also instantly access ratings, reviews and prices by scanning a restaurant’s wine list or a wine label on a store shelve to instantly educate themselves and simplify the wine-buying process even more.
Vivino and millennials
While non-millennial novice wine drinkers — like this writer, for example — may find Vivino to be a great learning tool to better understand wine and ultimately their tastes, the millennial demographic is the app’s fastest-growing user base, and Zachariassen thinks there’s a simple reason for that.
“They are different than the previous generations. They’re online and on their cellphones, so they’re used to getting instant access to data,” he said. “The wine industry has been really ruled by the wine critic for the past 35 years. Millennials don’t get that. They get their ratings from their peers, they look at Yelp, TripAdvisor. I’m not saying the critics need to disappear, but the millennials really value the peer rating, so that’s a big, big change.”
While Zachariassen recently stepped down as CEO of Vivino and is staying on as board member and “chief evangelist” while former StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis takes the helm, he’s still an avid user of the app he founded nearly a decade ago.
His favorite function is Vivino’s Wine Explorer tab, which allows users to browse wines and filter by type, price, country, vintage and more.
“Then it’ll show me the best wine. The data and the selection makes this possible, and I’ve found a lot of amazing wines just playing around with that,” Zachariassen said. “It’s a little bit nerdy, but it’s a lot of fun.”