As vonny drunk, I often find myself in the presence of a fine bottle of plonk that I would like to purchase again in the future. Thankfully, Drync, one of the best bottle scanning apps I’ve used, is on the case.
Whether it be a fine Night Train vintage or a delectable bag of Boone’s, Drync allows you to scan the label of nearly any grand cru and bring up a detailed listing of the vintage, varietal, and brand. It also allows you to order the wine right from your cellphone, ensuring the party doesn’t stop even three to five business days after it began.
To reach their goal of bringing a robotic sommelier to every phone, the company has raised $900,000 from angel investors including Mark Hastings, Andrew Moss, and Jack Remondi. The founders, Bill Kirtley and Brad Rosen, are entrepreneurs with years of app experience in their wineskins. Rosen built and sold companies to Phillips, Motorola, and Cisco, among others and Kirtley worked at Apple on the Safari and Calendar products.
How does Drync work? Think of it as Shazam for booze.
Once you scan the bottle, the system reads the label and tries to match it in its 1.7 million bottle database. You can then order the wine right through the app. Considering most other wine apps focus on “collection” of labels for later perusal, Drync is a godsend.
“We are focused on mobile wine commerce, enabling people to buy the wines they like at the moment they try them with their iPhone. We think of it as a Shazam or SoundHound for wine. Other players in the space create social networks for wine, give people ways to log the wines they drink, offer wine pairings, or provide generic or limited selections of wines to order online,” said Rosen.
To test the app I pulled out a few bottles of fine tipple to scan and/or drink at 9am. My initial tests didn’t look very promising. I scanned a Ravenswood Chardonnay (non-vintage, $9.99 at Kroger) and Drync brought up everything except the chard. However some of the team began scanning other wines they had lying around their hovels and got far better results. For example, our own Romain Dillet was able to identify a fine French bouteille without issue.
Rosen explained that many of Ravenswood labels are nearly exactly the same and that they’ve gotten to about 80% correct in their scanning process. Even if it doesn’t scan in the proper bottle, however, you can always consult the image it took to update the database and help the system return the proper vino next time. I especially liked the checkout system which allowed you to scan your credit card and have it shipped to your house in a few clicks.
“We at Drync are the first to connect the experiential part of drinking wine with the purchase – using your phone to capture and purchase nearly any wine instantly at the point of consumption,” said Rosen. “Just as we don’t all have the same taste in food, the idea of a wine being ‘good’ is largely subjective. With Drync, you can buy based on your taste.”
Rosen and the team have been working on the app for years, starting in 2008 when it was a simple wine scanner. Now, however, by adding a bit of cash and a lot of back-end smarts, they have an app that true connoisseurs can use and love.
“It’s an enormous market with a lot of potential. We’ve been brewing this platform and model for 5 years and are really excited about our positioning,” said Rosen.
So next time you end up in a culvert howling away at the filthy songs of your fathers and going blurp blurp in between as it might be a filthy old orchestra in your stinking, rotten guts, remember to pull out your iPhone for a bit of the old Drync. You’ll most probably be glad you did, if you remember in the morning.