Wine is one of the few refreshments on our planet that has inspired humans to poetry. Take Galileo Galilei’s comment that “Wine is sunlight, held together by water,” or Euripides’ observation that “Where there is no wine, there is no love.” It also inspired a French company to invent and market the MyOeno wine scanner and app (US$65), a perfect way to determine which wines please your palate the most.
MyOeno is a small handheld device that you can easily tuck into a jacket pocket on your way to a wine tasting. The device uses colorimetry to determine three fundamental oenological (“the study of wines”) characteristics — strength, tannins and acidity — by flashing different color lights through the wine and detecting how the wine absorbs different frequencies of light.
Each of the characteristics is is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, and MyOeno lets wine enthusiasts determine which wines are similar in terms of those characteristics.
The companion app (which oddly has a few words that are still in French…) walks the taster through taking a photo of the bottle, adding information on such things as the name, region, appellation, vintage, and so on, then asks you to put the tip of the MyOeno device into the glass of wine. It presents its results on a screen that you can store on your iPhone, showing your score (0 to 10 on how well you liked the wine), the oenological characteristics, your notes on the aromatics of the wine, a comment on what foods the wine would be best paired with, and a button to show similar wines.
Unsurprisingly for a French product, the app tends to focus on French wines. The first part of the process of tasting a wine with MyOeno involves taking a picture of the label, which it then apparently uses AI on to determine which wine you’re drinking. That’s fine, but the labels of even well-known high-end California wines (Cambria, Testarossa, and Sanford, for example) were not recognized. Hopefully that will change as more Americans begin to use MyOeno.
My only issue with the app is in the descriptions provided — they’re obviously translated from the French and can be somewhat funny to read, especially to friends. For example, “On distinguishes mainly strength which highlights the warmth of the wine.” What the heck?
Tapping the Similar Wines button always displays French wines, and it’s obvious that over the year or so that MyOeno has been available, the French users have added a lot of data to the database. Once again, I hope that more American users will begin to populate that database with tasting information about American wines.
MyOeno must be charged prior to first use; there’s a USB to micro-USB cable included for that. Using the device is simple: you turn it on at the prompting of the app by pushing a top-mounted button until the device flashes, then put the bottom end into the wine. You see several different color flashes, and then you’re asked to remove it from the wine and rinse it in water. The device will turn itself off after a while, or you can turn it off by pressing the button again.
The device uses Bluetooth to transfer the oenological information to the app, and it is paired by simply tapping on the name of the device once the app discovers it.
I’ve been tasting wine for many years and have refined my palate to the point that I can often tell the type of wine from the taste, acidity, aroma, and other factors. I find I enjoy using MyOeno to get a more scientific take on the wines I’m sampling, and I intend to continue using it to continue my quest for oenological knowledge.