Innovative mobile apps are changing the world of wine appreciation.
By Katherine Duncan
While some mobile apps have revolutionized the way we navigate and communicate, others are transforming favorite pastimes—such as enjoying a glass of vino. There are wine-focused apps tailored for those who are just beginning to indulge, others created for connoisseurs, and many multipurpose options: These have diverse features that will serve you from your first sip all the way through the construction of your personal wine cellar.
Just as it might be difficult to imagine hitting the open road without Google Maps, or finding a new restaurant without Yelp, the options below are just few of the highly rated options that could become essential companions to your wine experience. Whether you are buying a bottle, ordering a glass or managing a collection, there’s an app for that.
Great for: Shopping and ordering
Hello Vino acts as your personal shopping and ordering assistant. It uses a questionnaire with inquiries into things like taste preferences, meal plans and the occasion to deliver custom recommendations. When perusing a wine list, you can also search by name to quickly find flavor details; optional paid features include the ability to access that information by taking a photo of the wine label. As you sample new types, it’s easy to rate them and keep track of favorites within the app. A convenient guide lists all of the major wine varieties alphabetically, from albarino to zinfandel, for a description, pronunciation help, food pairing suggestions and more. Hello Vino claims to have the largest food and wine database in Apple’s App Store; note what you’re eating, and it will suggest a perfect pairing.
Vivino Wine Scanner
Great for: Discovering details
While Vivino isn’t the only app that allows users to photograph wine bottles to get information, it’s mastered the feature and made it an essential, and fun, part of the experience. More than 250 million labels have been scanned with the app, with an average of about 300,000 scanned each day. With just a photo, the app provides the wine’s average price, rating and reviews (sourced from Vivino’s approximately 20 million users), winemaker’s notes, vintage comparison, recommendations of similar varietals and more. You can even purchase wine for home delivery. Upgrading to a paid account unlocks features such as cellar management, a personal buying guide, wine ratings from experts and more.
Android, iOS, Windows
Great for: Managing collections
A companion app to the popular site cellartracker.com, CellarTracker allows you to scan barcodes on wine bottles to easily log and track what’s stored in your cellar. Users are currently managing more than 70 million bottles via the app, which is known for its reliability and ease of use when it comes to searching and updating a collection. (Optional paid accounts open up additional functionality, like automatic valuation.) While the app is renowned as a cellar management tool, it also has a social component: a community of nearly 450,000 wine lovers—including some industry professionals—share their reviews, tasting notes and stories. Users can search about 6 million tasting notes and more than 2 million wines via the app.
Great for: Following experts
Many wine apps have a social component for sharing and reading reviews. Delectable takes it a step further, connecting amateur sippers with sommeliers, critics, winemakers and other experts. Simply snap a photo of the wine label to instantly receive a description along with a list of reviews and tasting notes from both acclaimed connoisseurs and and casual drinkers. The experience is similar to that of many social media platforms—but made for vino enthusiasts. When you encounter an industry celebrity, or perhaps just another average wine fan with similar tastes, you can follow them to keep up with what they’re drinking and what they think about it. Beyond gathering insight from others, the app also allows you track your own preferences to discover new labels to love.
SWE Wine & Spirits Trivia
Great for: Learning more
As expected, wine apps generally fall into the Food & Drink category in the App Store. This one from the nonprofit Society of Wine Educators, however, is classified as game. It tests users’ knowledge of different varietals, regions, producers and more through fun quizzes tailored for 10 different levels of expertise. As you master the “geek” ones, unlock “nerd” and eventually “mastermind.” Results are listed after each question, rather than having to wait for a final score at the end, along with an explanation and sometimes a link to even more information. Study guides, maps and other educational resources are available to help users succeed.