The best smartphone apps for choosing wine
Whether or not smartphones actually make us smarter, they certainly make it easier for us to get the information we need, when we need it. And most of us—let’s not kid ourselves, all of us—could use more information when we’re trying to choose from a massive selection of wines in a shop or restaurant.
App store to the rescue! Now, a wide range of apps for the Android and iPhone demystify the process of selecting a wine. Gone are the days of having to believe whatever the commission-hungry salesperson or waiter tells you about your wine options. Gone are the days of carrying a tattered vintage chart around in your wallet.
With one of these cheap or free apps on your phone, you can count on drinking better wines and finding better values.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying Robert Parker and his Wine Advocate team have vast tasting experience and total access to the world’s wines. The “3 W’s” in the app’s title refer to what grapes are in each wine, where they were grown, and when they were harvested. You can search by any of these three parameters, as well as have total reference access to Parker’s vinta
ge charts and his list of over 2,000 affordable and easy-to-find wines.
Over 64,000 reviews and a comprehensive vintage chart from this respected wine magazine are at your fingertips with the Wine Enthusiast Guide app. You can also run highly customized searches using price, rating, style, varietal and appellation as criteria. A 1,400-term wine glossary and tutorials on food pairing, glassware, navigating restaurant wine lists and more make this app a great education for the price.
From the leader in social wine reviewing, Snooth’s iPhone app is a forward-thinking program with features like a map that pinpoints highly-rated wine stores near your location, and then allows you to search their inventories. It also allows offline access to your Snooth “virtual cellar” where you can keep records of the wines you’ve had. The “Pro” version takes search to the next level, enabling you to snap a photo of a wine label which the app will recognize and describe, complete with Snooth rating.
One of the most popular and highly-rated Android wine apps, Swirl Pro is designed to be equally helpful to the wine novice and the advanced collector. Its search function includes access to the Snooth database of reviews, and also provides a comprehensive tracking feature so you’ll never forget that wine you loved (or hated). “Reds under $20” and “Whites under $20” lists make finding values easy, and the app facilitates sharing wine discoveries with other Swirl users, as well as posting them directly to Facebook and Twitter.
Drync boasts a database of over 1.2 million wines, and the ability to make “smart” recommendations based on your personal taste. It includes a cellar tracker, and access to over 270,000 reviews, as well as 23,000 by wine celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk. Plans to integrate with Foursquare to let your network know what you’re drinking and where you’re drinking it are coming soon.
So download one of these apps to your phone today and enjoy the delicious benefits for years to come. And unlike a human sommelier, if this one gets too snooty you can just turn it into a game of Angry Birds.
Just remember, no matter how great your app is, the final decision about what goes in your glass is up to you.