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Asia, the next capital of electronic wine list

Updated: 2012-07-09 16:47
By Mathew Scott ( China Daily)

Asia, the next capital of electronic wine list

The team behind Entaste: (left to right) Sebastian Arena, David Garrett, Jimena Tognion and Eduardo Orteu. Provided to China Daily

The decision was simple.

When David Garrett sat down with his business partners to plot the next move for their Entaste electronic wine list, they knew exactly where.

"We had to come to Asia," he says. "This is where the whole wine industry wants to be and where everyone is talking about wine."

Speaking on the sidelines of the recent Vinexpo Asia-Pacific wine fair in Hong Kong, Garrett was splitting his time between meetings and promotional activities for Entaste, an iPad-friendly service that gives diners instant - and comprehensive - information about the wines they are about to enjoy.

The platform was first launched in Latin America eight months ago - Garrett is based just outside the Argentine town of Mendoza - and proved a huge and instant hit. It has linked up with more than 150 top restaurants, each able to customize their sites.

Since launching its Asian service in Hong Kong less than a month ago, Entaste already counts the likes of Hong Kong's Michelin-starred Amber and Otto e Mezzo restaurants among its clients.

The reason wine consumers are attraction to Entaste is simple, according to Garrett.

"Everywhere in the world you'll find that the more people drink wine, the more they want to know about wine," he says.

"Asia is the same and in China this is especially the case. The more people know the more they are interested in buying something new further down the line.

"It helps us that everyone here is connected, too, and we know the Chinese consumer wants their information immediately."

Entaste presents information linked to the label and vintage you choose to go with your meal, listing details about the grape, the vineyard, the winemaker, the region and even offering tips on which foods might be best to pair the bottle with.

For the restaurants - and the winemakers - the bonus is that they are able to track what has happened at the point of sale, and find out trends in preferences according to menus, seasons and even times.

"The information we are getting is exact, both for the consumer and from the consumer," Garrett says.

"It really is so much more than any one has provided or gathered in the past. The opportunities are endless."

Garrett says the Chinese mainland is the company's next target, what with the whole industry talking about the growth of the Chinese market.

The company has set its sights on Entaste being made available in around 500 venues by the end of the year - and around 2,000 by the end of 2014.

"The people who run this company are all winemakers themselves so we share the passion for wine, which is something everyone knows is growing in China," Garrett says.

"We are not saying that everyone will have an encyclopedic knowledge of wine after they use Entatse.

"What we find is that people start to recognize and identify more clearly the elements of the wines that they like.

"That makes it easier to find the wines they will like, find the wineries who make it - and that makes everyone happy."

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