Digital wine list SmartCellar now on iPad

Faith Merino · May 20, 2011 · Short URL:

Restaurants can now offer comprehensive digital wine to their customers lists on the iPad

Everything is more fun with an iPad. So thought Incentient, maker of SmartCellar, a digital wine list that used to be available on a 9x5 tablet-like touchscreen so that restaurant patrons could easily skim through the wine section and get information, pictures, and more in one sitting. Today the company announced that the SmartCellar digital wine list will now be available on the iPad, making Incentient one of the select few companies that Apple has allowed to actually reprogram the iPad for customization with the SmartCellar hardware.

So the question is: what’s the big deal? As long as customers are getting their booze, do they really care how the list is packaged? If you just want to order the house swill to get your Friday night buzz on, no. But if you actually have anything of a palate and care about what you’re going to be drinking, yes.

To put things into perspective, I’ll give you a quick example of why this is important. Say you go to a restaurant and you’re checking out the wine list, which shows you the price and varietal, but you want to know more about it. What are the tones? Is it higher in tannins? What region did it come from (for the truly snooty patron)?

Now imagine posing all of those questions to your slouching, disgruntled 19-year-old waiter who makes $8 an hour and doesn’t even know how to open a wine bottle.  

So for those patrons who want their money’s worth, there’s SmartCellar, which allows users to select from among dry, sparkling wines, white wines, red wines, rose wines, or dessert wines, browse profiles, regions, maps, and read in any of 150 languages. The technology is scalable to whatever information the restaurateur chooses to add, and it’s customizable to any size establishment, complete with logos, colors, style, and imagery.

Additionally, updates to the wine list are made in real time, so if a wine sells out for the night, it’s automatically taken off the SmartCellar list.

SmartCellar actually debuted back in 2009, when the hardware was a simple 9x5 inch tablet. But this week, Incentient debuted the new iPad-enabled SmartCellar at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

“I believe that SmartCellar is just a glimpse of the future of our industry,” said restaurateur Tony May, owner of the Manhattan restaurant SD26 in Madison Square Park. “It began with a wine list, but more and more information can be featured on this unique device, and it can be connected to the establishment’s POS system. The uses are limited only by our imaginations.”

SmartCellar is currently available in some of the most famous restaurants in the world, including Wolfgang Puck’s Cut in Las Vegas; The Four Seasons Hotel in New York; José Andrés’ Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Tony May’s SD26 in New York; Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges in London; Maze and Maze Grill in London; Southgate at Jumeirah Essex House in New York; Calistoga Ranch and Auberge Resort in the Upper Napa Valley; Gotham Steak at The Fontainebleau in Miami; Barbacco in San Francisco; and The Moorings in Newport, Rhode Island.

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