If you have ever made the mistake of pairing an Australian Shiraz with curry, like I have, this will save your life ... or at least the 4 minutes at dinner your friends usually spend making fun of you while you're in the loo.
Que Boire Que Manger is a French startup that launched in summer 2011. Its proposition is simple: email a meal to firstname.lastname@example.org, and in a minute you'll have a detailed and easy-to-read survey of the best wines to match it, any unique qualities they possess, a brief history of their territories, and price ranges (from € to €€€). The service works on any device that can send email, and an app is available on iPhone.
You can also make selections more granular (find matches for "tomatoes and mushrooms" if those are your main ingredients, versus putting in the name of a meal):
Très classe ! And practical, to boot.
...but how does it make money?Co-founder Julie Coutton (super-responsive on Twitter, by the way) and her team of "high-level sommeliers" plan to monetise QBQM by leasing their automated food-pairing capabilities to other service or hospitality firms. And because wine pairing is inherently brand-heavy, there are big opportunities for the promotion of producers, distributors and wine organisations. Naturally, the service also lends itself to tie-ins with specialty products like carafes and, oh, who knows, stemless wine glasses.
For the time being though, it seems like the startup's in a pretty good place: Que Boire Que Manger is nicely designed, simple enough to understand at a glance, and seems able to provide reliable service without heavy manual labour on the backend (at least for now). The team's focus appears to be on expanding availability and growing fidelity via social.
As mentioned, Julie's easily accessible on Twitter (@juliecoutton). The company also reaches out to fans and plans wine tastings on Facebook.