Amazon Alexa ups food and wine pairing skills
A recently launched app via Amazon Echo has sought to increase the wine and food pairing ability of Alexa, the company’s virtual personal assistant service.
Amazon Echo’s ‘Wine Finder’ claims to offer 500 food and wine pairing ideas and has so far averaged 3.5 stars out of five, albeit out of only four customer reviews.
When asked, Alexa responds with basic pairing advice such as ‘Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon go well with steak’.
None of the pairings mention brands or are specific about how food preparation methods or sauces might affect the choice of wine. Pronunciations were also slightly off on varietal wines Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc in a YouTube clip uploaded by the app’s creator, Bloop Entertainment.
It’s not the first time Amazon Alexa has offered food and wine tips, but the app’s emergence is more evidence of how tech companies are seeking to refine their advice on wine and in the home more generally. Google Assistant already has ‘My Wine Guide’, for example.
What Amazon’s Take Is
The company declined to comment in-depth on plans, but a spokesperson for Alexa at Seattle-based Amazon said, ‘We want customers to be able to ask Alexa for help with anything, from setting timers to … even asking for food and wine pairing suggestions.’
These questions might include, she noted, ‘Alexa, what wine goes well with steak? Or Alexa, does Chianti go well with brie?’
She added that this also included providing ‘fun wine facts [and trivia]’.
Jon Moramarco, a Napa-based partner at wine industry analytics firm Gomberg Fredrikson, said that simple types of pairing suggestions were hardly new. ‘Wine isn’t Coke or Pepsi. It is about experience, choice and variety.
‘The consumer is in constant discovery mode and that is part of the fun.’
He added that he thought Amazon’s service might evolve to introduce an algorithm that involves food, spices and wine.
Tim Hanni MW, a consultant and wine educator based in Bend, Oregon, said that truly good pairings were subjective. Most of them were ‘based on metaphors and pseudoscience with misrepresentations of history and tradition mixed in for good measure’, he said.