Vivino rant

Anyone else in retail have experience with this: a customer asks for advice, you walk them through options, and then they go with Vinino’s opinion instead. I’m not opposed to polling the public on wine, or Vivino as a resource, sure. (I do think notes on CellarTracker are generally better.) What drives me nuts, though, is the people that will pull their phone out and make a big deal about checking Vivino while you’re standing there after having spent time walking them through options. One particular customer was between two wines that I have a lot of experience with, so I suggested the one that would better match the style he wanted. While I was in the middle of ringing him up, he whipped out his phone and told me he was going to check Vivino. I had the pleasure of awkwardly waiting while he scrolled through the app until he found the wines. He let me know the item I did not suggest had the higher Vivino score, so he was going to go with that. [head-bang.gif]

Happened to me pretty often back when I worked in wine retail. It’s pretty common amongst younger, more inexperienced wine drinkers. Vivino serves a similar purpose to the Robert-Parker-style points system. When in fear or doubt, it’s much easier to rely on the largest number to make the buying decision for you.

Consumers in general are lemmings . . .



I find this to be completely rational behavior. It’s the expert provider dilemma - the person advising on how to solve a problem is also selling that solution. doctors, mechanics, plumbers, etc., all deal with this.

You just can’t take it personally.

1 Like

lol you must be new to retail. I remember when they’d bring in the weekly NYT article they cut out and ask for every wine in it, and not take my recommendations for comparable things that were actually available locally.

As long as they’re spending money … [cheers.gif]

it’s like that old cartoon of the guy returning a wine he hated, being told it got a 98 score, and asking for two more cases.

1 Like

I’ve never needed a sommeliers help while picking wine, but if I did request help, I would never pull out vivino to “qualify” the somms opinion. That’s unimaginably rude.

Side note, I do have vivino, but mainly to photograph and catalog bottles quickly. Especially if i’m at a large tasting. It’s very easy to snap a pic and move on to the next bottle to ensure I never forget it.


Partly this is down to the vast array of wine being scary in its magnitude, so they happily grasp for the ‘independent’ advice of someone who shows a degree of confidence. In days gone by it would have been a book by Parker or Hugh Johnson, now it’s a faceless mob with an average score rather than a TN that might give insight. Meet the new boss, arguably worse than the old boss.

I honestly think the best response is - let the person choose based on Vivino, but ask them to tell me what they thought of it when they return, as their experience is massively more important than some unknown(s) on the interwebz.

I have a moderate sized chain wine store near me. Every time I ask an aisle worker about a wine on the shelf, they say “I have to ask my manager” (which is OK) and returns with “Jeff says…” (which is not OK).

As a customer if I’m showing interest in something, I expect that ‘Jeff’ would roll by and answer my questions in person, not via relay. That’s when I open up Vivino or CT

I hate that there’s no “real” wine store near me where I can get straightforward advice

A lot of people look at Vivino. And it’s not only young people.

When they do, I explain exactly what Vivino is and why they might want to be a bit skeptical.

I know someone who sold a lot of wine. She could sell you the shirt you were wearing and make you think you got a good deal. And she had never tasted any wine in her life because she was muslim and didn’t drink alcohol. She would look at Vivino and if a wine she carried wasn’t selling quickly, she would enter a few ratings of her own in Vivino. People would look at it and be excited that the wine was so highly rated. By a person who never tasted it. Made them feel “in the know” I guess.

So just tell them to enjoy the wine that Vivino rated highly.

As far as I know, there is no algorithm that prevents self-rating with Vivino, which is why it’s even worse than most popularity sites like Yelp.