Vino victories

Riley Chervinski, Arts Columnist


I spent years shuffling awkwardly into Manitoba Liquor Marts with a hung head and no way of distinguishing beer from bourbon. Like any fresh, newly-legal adult, I went straight for the colourful bottles like the syrupy rum coolers or the fruit-flavoured vodkas that masked any taste of actual alcohol. But wine, with their long-necked bottles and fancy French names, were a mystery.

Five years later and wine is still a mystery. Unfortunately for me, my friends and I are at the age where wine and cheese gatherings have replaced basement parties spent sipping our parents’ alcohol out of water bottles. They’ve even started to take over field parties with warm beer.

The problem is my wine knowledge extends as far as differentiating between red and white and knowing what fruit they come from. Impressive, I know.

Luckily I discovered that, like most things, there’s an app for that. In fact, tons of apps exist for newbies like me to trick people into thinking we’re booze connoisseurs.

Short of actually trying every wine in the store, apps like Vivino Wine Scanner and Delectable Wines saved my oh-so-uneducated self this summer. The apps let you take photos of wine labels in the aisle to learn more info: foods to pair with it, user reviews and clear descriptions. No flowery language or vague explanations of woodsy aromas to be found.

Even the store employees looked impressed when I strutted past them with a bottle of merlot, explaining, “It’s an ‘06 blend, darling. It’ll go great with my duck confit and asparagus spears tonight,” my voice suddenly taking on a posh British accent.

And when I found myself on a date one evening at a restaurant far too fancy for my Forever 21 dress and Payless ShoeSource pumps, the app saved me once again.

When my date asked me to choose a bottle of wine for our candlelit table, I pretended to mull intelligently over the list like I actually had a clue. Secretly, I was taking a snapshot of the menu to upload to Vivino Wine Scanner, which then compared the wines and recommended the one with the highest review.

The guy didn’t end up working out, but the wine was delicious.


Riley Chervinski is a journalism student, soccer player and

reader of cringe-worthy chick-lit. Follow her 

@rileychervinski, or read her observations on

her blog