How to have a sommelier – even if you don’t have a sommelier

Drinks: Drinks, Wines

SWA senior judge, and head sommelier at Sexy Fish, Julien Sahut, tells us how his food and wine-matching app Wine Picker could help restaurants around the country.

Give us the elevator pitch…

Julien Sahut

Julien Sahut

‘Wine Picker is an e-sommelier mobile application, it helps guests select wines with confidence in restaurants.’

What does it do?

‘Wine Picker provides all the information diners need with the swipe of a finger: the five best wines for their budget and dish selection. But it also includes all the details needed to understand and learn more about wine: food pairing, tasting notes and even the ability to write and share a review.

‘So, no more pressure when selecting wine plus an opportunity to start learning about wine by focusing on five selected wines rather than a 150 options on a wine list.’

Sounds good for the punters. But how could restaurants use it?

‘More than 60% of restaurants do not have a sommelier, even though some studies show that proactively offering specific wines with a dish can increase restaurant sales by 21%.

‘But what if you could have a sommelier sitting on each table who is always available? A sommelier who would be able to recommend five wines based on each table’s dishes in an instant, who would provide full winemaker notes and ratings? Well this is Wine Picker. And because it’s a start-up we are looking for 20 restaurants to sign up and get the full experience for free.’

So how does it work?

‘Diners need to install the app and to encourage that we suggest a standard call to action by placing information on the restaurant tables. A more advanced option could be for the user to win a prize: a free food and wine pairing.

‘As soon as the user opens the app, as long as Bluetooth is turned on, they will be prompted with a branded (restaurant logo) welcome message. This will be followed by directing them to the restaurant-relevant page where they will be able to set a budget and select dishes.

‘Every month we will provide restaurants with statistics on the number of users who used the app nearby and the number of returning users.’

What sort of venues would benefit from it?

‘All venues can benefit from it if they serve wine, but we expect the highest impact to be in places that do not have sommeliers: casual dining places, chains, pubs moving more into wine and food and restaurants (like Asian restaurants) which generally have no in-house wine knowledge and no history of selling wine.’

What does it look like?

‘Visit the website or take a look at this short video.’

And if I want to take part?

‘Email us on’

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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  1. Pingback: Wine News 3 November 2017 | winetuned

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