Proustian phone to revolutionize wine guides

Did advertising “marvel” Reg Lascaris miss the boat when he used Standard Bank shareholder funds to buy the Platter sighted wine guide for Diners Club last year? Dead-tree guides are dead in the water with smart phone apps the only way to go as Vivino and Wotwine? demonstrate on a daily basis. They’re up-to-date, in your pocket and free. And nothing beats free. Platter’s own cell phone app is a clunky embarrassment.

ophone 615x461 Proustian phone to revolutionize wine guides

But smart phones as sommeliers just got smarter with the launch of the oPhone – a portable device (above) that can emit odours. As smell contains over 80% of the information in a tasting – no matter how much spoofers and wonder women like Jancis Robinson who famously scored 151 SA shirazes through terminal ‘flu may boast – oPhones take smart phone sommeliers to the Next Level.

Wired reports that oPhone, developed in France, aims “to make olfactory communication commonplace by transmitting odors much in the same way you send text messages.” In fact much of the annual initial assessment of Bordeaux en primeurs can likely be done directly from the nests of luvvies in Notting Hill with carbon footprints smaller than those of a geisha girl. Wine Speccie superstars can remain in situ in New York, trawling for print ads.

Marcel Proust would have gone into paroxysms of pleasure at the prospect of an oPhone. He could have dialled up his aunty’s madeleines at will. The secret of the oPhone is the oChip, a “little cartridge, about the size of a fingernail, which contains olfactive information that can produce hundreds (and soon thousands) of odor signals. The idea is that these chips can be installed in the oPhone, and via a bluetooth-connected app called oTracks, scents can be sent to yourself or an oPhone-carrying friend with the push of a button.”

The applications for wine tasting are so obvious I’m sure a few visiting professorships at the UCT Business School are available to oPhone salesmen and importers. And as for Standard Bank’s investment in Platter, all we can say is oDear!