Wotwine? A Next Level wine app for the Interwebs

The very clever chaps at Wotwine? may not be able to spell but they have come up with an ingenious way of rating wine based on what it’s worth. Instead of a star rating or a score out of 10, 20, 100, whatever, the experienced tasting panel of “retailers, sommeliers, gifted amateurs and always two of our Masters of Wine” come up with a value in cold, hard, cash. So the punter can judge for herself whether its a “deal or no deal” situation, as Noel Edmonds asks on UK TV.

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This is an invaluable app in the UK where 90% of wines move through a supermarket checkout and 60% of those bottles are on some special such as bogofs, three for a tenner or what have you. It often turns out that these “specials” are not so special at all, with prices hiked before a discount is declared. Which is not unique to the UK. The current special on Charles de Casenove Champagne at Checkers offers stock at R200 a bottle when it was R180 in July. Meanwhile Tesco’s has it on special for a tenner, which puts it in perspective. Wotwine? should help keep these sharp traders on their toes.

At least one Wotwine? wizard is no stranger to SA wine – Nick Clarke ran the UK wine interests for Distillers Corp (later to become Distell) in the 1980s. And hats off to the Wotzits for buying their wine, unlike our own Wine Lizard who demands free samples, and plenty of them, for his own site which also retails the stuff for extra profit. This is a lizard with more conflicts of interest than a chameleon sitting on a box of Smarties.

cham Wotwine? A Next Level wine app for the Interwebs

SA wine producers who export in bulk should get cold chills from the feedback vouchsafed by another Wotwine? wizard Christopher Burr. Responding to my question whether wines are evaluated blind or sighted, he comments “we generally have so much to taste that there is little time to look at the bottles; and it can disrupt the flow of the tasting and one’s ability to compare within a category. But we do have the bottles available to look at if we wish to check who the producer is, what the alcohol is, or even if it is domain bottled or UK bottled for instance. From this we have found a lot of interesting things; for instance the SO2 levels in UK and German bottlings of new world wines, and the levels of filtration which tends to strip flavour and intensity.”

Do SA producers take ownership of SO2 levels and filtration schemes? Probably very few, as profits would suffer. Yet another black mark against bulk exports which is a Black Hole for SA wine, sucking everything into itself. Last to disappear beyond the event horizon was WOSA former CEO Su Birch who lost her last shred of credibility when she came out in support of bulk exports. Su’s long overdue departure from WOSA is an excellent start to the new year for SA wine.