Sippd helps you support wineries that have your values AND navigate a restaurant wine list

I am all about cognitive offloading when it comes to remembering the wines I drink. Yes, I have my favorites that I can bore my non-wine geek friends to tears when I talk about them, but I also have notebooks full of tasting notes that I refer to frequently on most of the bottles I've opened. My Instagram account—with its photos and short descriptions—is a big help, too.

There's a new app to help with cognitive offloading of info on individual bottles of wine. Sippd is a "personal wine recommender and marketplace" that assists users in purchasing wines online and more. The app launched earlier this month, but I've been chatting with the Sippd team for a few weeks now and tinkering with what Sippd can do both online and on my phone.

Here's how it works: You download the free app or add the free plugin to your Chrome browser and tell Sippd about some of the wine styles you enjoy and some of the specific bottles you gravitate to. Artificial intelligence takes over and starts to suggest taste matches. The more wines you rate, the better the AI should get at matching your personal preferences so it can suggest wines you might want to buy.

Matching your values with like-minded wineries

About midway down the home page of the app, you'll find Sippd's social cause recommendations. Once a quarter, Sippd chooses a social cause to support and highlights wineries with practices or values in line with that cause. During the beta phase of Sippd, Black-owned wineries and wineries that contributed to Covid relief were the first two causes. Sippd does not take a cut of the sales in this category, meaning the wineries make more money from orders originated on the platform.

"About 15 percent of sales were to our cause wineries in the first six months," says Blake Hershey, Co-Founder and CEO of Sippd.

The cause-of-the-quarter feature matches users' values with wineries that embrace the same values. When the app launched earlier this month, the new this quarter was introduced—Planet Friendly Wines. There are three categories in the current cause: sustainable wines, organic wines, and biodynamic wines.*

I'm on board with this cause. Sustainability is important to me, and I'm always digging into winery websites to find their earth-friendly initiatives. Personally, I like to read about the specifics on a winery's site, not just see notices of certifications.

Demystifying restaurant wine menus

Another feature of the app I'm excited for—but have yet to try in the real world because of Covid—is the app's restaurant wine menu scanner. Even with my experience, there are times I don't recognize many of the wines on a list.

"The app can help reduce intimidation in a restaurant," says Hershey. "Often a restaurant wine menu has no photos, little descriptions and wine names can be in non-native language."

This is a feature that isn't offered by anyone else, according to Hershey. By scanning a restaurant's wine list, the app will show you wines in your taste match. Of course, the more you rate wines on the app, the better the app will be able to make recommendations for you at a restaurant and when buying online.

Sippd is now available to download for free on both iOS and Android platforms. If you have any experience with the app, especially if you've been able to use it in a restaurant, please chime in in the comments.

* Please note: Some of the biodynamic bottle recommendations that Sippd made for me were not biodynamic wines, but they were from wineries that have a biodynamic line. For example, the app recommended a Bonterra wine in the biodynamic category, and while it was an organic wine—and Bonterra as a whole has impressive sustainability initiatives—it was not biodynamic. Bonterra does have a biodynamic line, however. In fact, all of the bottle recommendations the app made for me that were not specifically biodynamic did come from wineries that do have biodynamic offerings.

I asked about this, and Sippd's marketing team explained it this way: "We are not 100% perfect just yet as our algorithm is still learning and we are always working internally to improve how we are mapping products to our users."

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