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Prefer Pinot to Cabernet? Maybe it’s in your wine DNA…

A new app called Wine Explorer claims to use DNA testing to help you understand your wine preferences.

Silicon Valley always has a new solution for improving day-to-day life. This time it is linking your DNA to the types of sweet, bitter or salty flavours that you prefer in wine.

Helix, the recently launched iPhone/marketplace for DNA research, has done a deal with wine delivery service Vinome to create bespoke wine cases matched to a wine lover’s DNA.

Access to Helix is free but DNA sampling costs $80, which includes sequencing of a saliva sample. Clients can then purchase additional apps for health, nutrition and wine insight that generally run slightly under $30 each.

DNA research is still an emerging area of genetics and some critics have said that linking DNA to wine tastes should be seen more as fun than science. There is also the nature-nurture debate around the extent to which genetics and environment influence preferences.

Helix says that it has a US government-approved laboratory with geneticists to analyse DNA test results.

vinome, wine dna

What it costs to find out your ‘wine DNA’… Credit: Vinome / Helix

The basic philosophy behind Helix, according to Justin Kao, a co-founder at the San Carlos, California-based company is to ‘educate and empower people with its DNA insights’.

Wine Explorer is Here

This wine app was founded by a former medical researcher from North Carolina. Ronnie Andrews, the Healdsburg, California-based CEO of Vinome, has held positions at major tech companies including Roche and Clarient Inc.—a cancer diagnostic company.

‘Wine Explorer’ by Vinome currently has 100 customers to whom Vinome had shipped more than 1,500 bottles of wine by the end of July.

Andrews has also expressed interest in expanding its prescience to Europe and other areas outside the United States.

At present, Vinome only works with around 50 domestic, boutique wineries. He added that the wineries discount pricing and that is the only fee that Vinome takes to sell the wines on its app and that it is lower than the usual wholesale markup. The bottles available generally range in price from $18 to $50 retail each.

Andrews added that he is actively interested in selling to customers from the on- and off-premise arenas eventually.

Editing by Chris Mercer

Updated 25/08/2017 to change name of app to ‘Wine Explorer’.

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