“Wine is complicated, and Vivino was created to help people drink better wine,” says Heini Zachariassen, who created the app in 2010 with cofounder Theis Søndergaard. The idea was sparked after Zachariassen, a self-proclaimed industry outsider at the time, found himself standing in an aisle of a wine store and feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options in front of him.
“Being outsiders is truly why I believe Vivino is such a success—we had no preconceived notions to hold us back,” he says. “I wanted to build a product for the ‘everyday’ wine drinker. We understood that feeling of facing the wall of wine in a supermarket [and] could understand that anxiety, and I wanted to help solve that problem.”
Historically, ratings and reviews by wine critics have served as a North Star for wine drinkers around the globe. But there’s a different appeal in the often more straightforward language of peer reviews—a central focus for Vivino, which is now the largest wine app in the world.
Doubling as a marketplace that operates by partnering with various merchants to deliver bottles directly to users’ doorsteps, Vivino has become a one-stop shop.
And while there are plenty of places to buy wines online, what is perhaps the most unique feature within the Vivino app is its scanning tool, which allows novices and wine pros alike to access a bottle’s key details and user-generated reviews and ratings within seconds, simply by taking a picture of the label. Users can also conduct a manual keyword search.
Once on a bottle’s dedicated page, you can order the wine in just a few clicks, depending on the specific seller’s minimum. All in all, it’s a refreshingly uncomplicated way to research and quickly purchase any given bottle, whether you’re scanning a label at a friend’s dinner party, standing in a wine store aisle or cozied up at home with a dangerously low-stocked wine fridge at hand.
“We’re honored and humbled to receive Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Award for Retailer/Marketplace of the Year—it has been a journey to get to this place and I do not take it lightly,” says Zachariassen. “This win demonstrates that we are on our way to truly empowering all people to enjoy wine to the fullest and to opening up the world of wine through our community. My gratitude to our community knows no bounds. Behind every scan and sip, there was a moment; it is those moments in life that I would like to recognize and say thank you for sharing with us, in some small way.”