Contributed by Janet Davies
Cherry Valley resident Billy Munnelly is the wit and wisdom behind Canada’s best-selling annual wine guide, Billy’s Best Bottles. The 2011 edition sold out in about 3 months. Why? It’s fantastically user-friendly.
No space for details here, but visit his website to see what I mean. He and partner Kato Wake moved to the County to be part of the explosion of creativity, wine and food and for the simple good life. At first Kato (a graphic designer, teacher, wine and hospitality service educator .. among other things!) worried she might miss the city. Not any more. “We travel a lot for wine tastings and events and my contract work. But I’d always rather be here.” They have twin offices in their tiny old house, overlooking a bird-filled marsh. High-speed Internet, a website each, emails and phones keep them close to clients.
There’s huge excitement in their house this week because Billy’s Best Bottles has just been launched as an iPhone application. A little fuzzy on what that is? Briefly: People these days use iPhones as pocket computers. Touch an app icon on your wee phone and find out how to order a martini in Greek or when is the next train to Montreal. Apps are portals to more information than you thought possible.
In practice having Billy’s iPhone app means if you’re standing in the LCBO confused, trying to choose an affordable red wine for your mum or a sparkling wine for a romantic evening, you can whip out your iPhone for easy, in-depth advice complete with pictures to help you identify the labels. You could carry the book, but this is so much easier. Besides, the 2011 edition is sold out.
So how popular are iPhone apps? In October 2010 there were more than 300,000 available. Do people actually buy them? Are you kidding? In January, some keen iPhone user downloaded the 10 billionth app from the App Store.
It’s mind boggling. It’s the future. And the little village of Cherry Valley’s own Billy and Kato are part of it, reaching out to millions. Is theirs the first County-based business to have an iPhone app? I think so. What’s for sure is they won’t be the last as County business people embrace the future and export talent, services and products from our rural towns to the great big world. I don’t have an iPhone, but I do have the Billy’s Best Bottles book. Trust me. It works.