Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Launch of the Slow Wine iApp
Starting with the 1,000-odd page Italian-only Slow Wine guide to Italy publish in hardback last year, the book has first of all been translated into English, then turned into something with all the functionality and logical structure of the original reference book plus a few extra clever bits that simply can't be done in print.
Click on a map of Italy for an introduction to a particular region's wine-making styles and grape varieties, click another button for a list of all the wineries accredited by Slow Wine in that region, select one of the wineries and there is a description of the terroir and a list of all the wines currently on offer with cellar-door prices.
And that is just the start, there is then an assessment of each wine, a link to the winery's website, to Google Maps for either driving directions or a view of what the countryside is like and finally space to add in some notes.
With one of these in your pocket or briefcase and a daily commute to pass, you can read up on Italian wines, decide which are of interest and then plan and book your driving holiday by checking out which wineries offer accommodation, the driving distances between them and emailing then to reserve a room for the night.
The list of wines and note-taking function then allow you to keep records of what you sampled and liked for future reference - assuming you are either fully living the dream and doing the trip in an open-top, two-seater sports car with no room for purchases or, alternately, have children in tow and a bootful of luggage and toys.
As something of a newcomer to iApps, I was particularly impressed not just by the volume of information, easy navigation and level of integration of different functions, but also how beautifully done the whole thing is; screens are laid out not as bald typeface but rather to resemble blackboards with lists of wines chalked up; regional maps are stylised and colour-coded; the main navigation pages are laid out as signposts over an idyllic background of rolling fields.
It is a superbly-presented labour of love and whilst this is not surprising given its Italian heritage, unlike say a supercar from Modena, it is easy to use on an everyday basis and actually works reliably.
The App is currently undergoing final approvals with Apple for planned launch in a couple of weeks for download into iPhone and iPad at an expected price of £5.99; it is also available from the App store in a free trial version, allowing access to the “Everyday Wine” sheets (wines that have been highlighted by Slow Food for their excellent price to quality ratio), complete with all the basic tools to memorise favourites, consult the wine maps, share wineries and wines on Facebook and allowing access to the complete list of reviewed wineries.
I asked Olivia Reviglio of Slow Wine how many copies of the App they hoped to sell to cover the clearly not insignificant development costs and was stunned by her response - they hoped for just 500 downloads and had agreed a revenue-sharing deal with the developer.
Slow Food (UK site) - http://www.slowfood.org.uk/
Slow Food (US / international site) - http://www.slowfood.com/
Slow Food (Italian site) - http://www.slowfood.it/