Want insouciant wine selection with your meal? There’s an app for that.
Wine lists can be daunting. You sit down with the intention of relaxation only to be immediately presented with a heavy, leather-bound book of hundreds-to-thousands of vinters and vintages. But now, tablet technology is supplying restaurants with a new generation of wine selection, offering more than simply (thus complicating) names and prices. What began as a long-established culinary tradition across cultures, selecting local wines to go with classic dishes of a certain region, has evolved into a modern art with industries devoting media platforms specifically to exemplar pairings.
For today’s table, rather than settle for a pour from the local vineyard, restaurants proffer sommeliers to relay the very principles of food and wine pairing to beget an optimal meal. But whether a diner is a seasoned wine aficionado, a millennial wine drinker, or an adventurous sipper who, wine glass in hand, sits content no matter the price, varietal, or region, patrons share a common appetite to own their decision. Hence, iPad wine lists.
Drinking wine remains an age-old tradition (wine was considered safer than water in many Ancient societies), but the way we select wine is progressing. Upscale restaurants around the world are introducing guests to the interactive, touch-screen sommelier. Upon being sat, diners are surprised to find an iPad placed in their hands with Apple-powered wine lists connecting diners to the digital age of wine pairing — touch-pad links instantaneously spitting out detailed descriptions of thousands of wine labels, with prices, regions, varietals and ratings.
Restaurants have been experimenting with digital wine lists since 2001, but as with many new technologies, the idea was met with skepticism and most kept with personal sommelier suggestions. Since the iPad’s introduction in April, media outlets such as The New York Times and The Economist, have reported that many high-end restaurants, such as Bone’s in Atlanta, are already seeing salient boosts in wine sales. The interactive wine lists are stimulating wine bottle sales, deviating oenophiles from by-the-glass selections.
Supporters are looking forward to influencing a younger generation to deter from cocktails and beer and embrace wine-savviness, while critics fear that first it was the cell phone, now the iPad that is set to distract society from the sacred tradition of mealtime. But such innovations in technology are what lead our dinner conversations today; the progression gives us something to talk about. And where better to welcome the high-tech novelty than at an esteemed restaurant, sipping the perfect pour, directly chosen by you and your fellow diners? Curious South Floridians can sojourn to Naples Tomato to try out the first-of-a-kind software, otherwise it isn’t too presumptuous to expect your next menu to be an iPad.
Naples Tomato is located at 14700 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, Fla., 239.598.9800, www.naplestomato.com.