Wine Forward: iPhone Wine Applications

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iphone_app.jpegBy Courtney Cochran

Made from scores of regions, hundreds of varieties, thousands of producers and newly released each vintage year, wine is one of the most data-challenged consumer goods we enjoy. But now, thanks to a host of fancy new iPhone and iPod Touch-compatible applications, sorting through the dizzying array of wine selections in stores, restaurants and even in your own cellar is getting a whole lot easier. Read on for our picks for top applications to fuel your Wine Country lifestyle; they make researching, scoring, sharing and even buying wine a snap - and they let you do it all from the palm of your hand.
Nat Decants Food & Wine Matcher
With its refreshingly simple interface, Canadian wine guru Natalie MacLean's Food & Wine Matcher ($2.99) makes it easy to decide what to pair with the exotic-sounding (read: unnervingly complex) dish you spy on the menu.  Search by single ingredients (e.g. almonds) or fully realized dishes (hello, coq au vin), or start with your wine and find a dish that suits.  Would be improved by a "click to buy" or "click to score" feature, but perhaps we'll see those in version 2.0.

Snooth
Fueled by an impressive wine database (Snooth says it aims to become "the IMDB of wine"), Snooth.com's popular wine application (free) packs lots of functionality into an appealingly simple interface.  Enter the name of a wine you'd like to buy and let Snooth's location-based search find the wine at a store nearby; with an additional click, call the merchant and arrange to put the bottle on hold.  You can also review, rate and add the wine to your Wishlist.  See, easy.  

Clinks 2.0
A brand newbie, Clinks 2.0 ($4.99) boasts a strikingly streamlined interface (see a theme here?) and robust Facebook- and Twitter-sharing capabilities.  Touted as a "tasting journal" that enables enthusiasts to log and share the wines and beers they're tasting - and compare notes with friends - Clinks does well with its robust note-taking form, which lets users capture nuances such as color, clarity, aroma intensity and more with a single click.  Also available in Clinks Lite (free).

Wine Snob
Silly name aside, Wine Snob ($3.99) makes keeping track of the wines you drink easy, though it loses points for failing to provide links to external reviews and recommendations.  Still, Wine Snob's smart note-taking interface allows users to search their entries both by wine names and tags, which is helpful when you can't remember a selection's name but do recall you found it "robust."  Simple definitions and food pairing guidelines round out this app's offerings.  

Wine Enthusiast
At $4.99, the Wine Enthusiast Guide is one of the pricier apps, but it delivers big on reviews - more than 65,000 to be precise - and wine buying tips.  Still, its info-packed interface can seem like a bit of an information dump (search results can return up to 500 selections), and users aren't able to add their own notes or share selections with friends.  Savvy users may choose to use this app in tandem with others that allow journaling, sharing and click-to-buy features.    

Mr. Picky's Santa Barbara Wine Tasting

Who wouldn't spend $1 to gain location-based winery tips, restaurant suggestions and other useful info about Santa Barbara wine country before their next trip?  Mr. Picky's (we too laughed at the name) Santa Barbara Wine Tasting app ($0.99) packages all this and more - most scenic picnic areas! wineries that sell food! - for traveling eonophiles who appreciate the ease of features like the Near Me button, which finds wineries nearby and guides you right to their door.  

Wisconsin Cheese Cupid
We can thank the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for this delightful free cheese and beverage planner (pair with white or red wine, beer or spirits).  And while the app offers pairings for only a handful of grape varieties, it makes up for its brevity with a handy pronunciation tool, attractive layout and easy-to-use interface.  Oh, and the cheese descriptions - which include pics and flavor profiles - are clear, fun to read and include helpful "goes well with" food pairing tips.  Cheese, please!

MacGourmet Touch
Attention, foodies!  The mobile version of the popular recipe program MacGourmet, MacGourmet Touch ($4.99) lets users take their recipes and notes wherever they go.  Synch shopping lists with a touch, build and modify lists on the go and consult a pre-loaded database of some 200 recipes from your iPhone or iPod Touch.  Wine selections, however, are meager, and users must also download the original MacGourmet program ($24.95) to make use of all features.  

Hello Vino
Billed as an app created with the "beginner wine consumer" in mind, Hello Vino (free) is essentially a search tool that enables users to track down wines by food pairing, occasion, taste and region.  The interface is attractive and easy to use, and details such as wine ratings, prices and descriptions are delightfully uncluttered.  And while functionality is limited, it's worth downloading the app just for the amusing "occasions" pairings - date wines, anyone?  Search powered by Snooth.

Drync Wine Pro
Rated the number one wine app by MacWorld, Drync Wine Pro ($4.99; basic Drync Wine with limited features is available for free) combines a suite of useful features - including journaling, cellaring, researching, rating, comparing, sharing and click-to-buy - in a single robust application.  Also appealing is Drync's handy sorting tool, which allows you to view separately wines that you want, drank and/or own in your virtual cellar.  Gets our vote for the best of the bunch.  

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4 Comments

There is a new app called "Wine Notes" that's worth checking out. You can actually see videos of it at http://winenotesapp.com

There is also an app called "Wine Trip" and for 99cents you can plan your tasting trips for just about any winery in Washington, Oregon and California.

Thanks for the mention, Courtney - great write-up!

We're glad you like the design of the free Hello Vino app, along with the wine suggestions for occasions such as date night.   :)   We've got a big update coming out very soon that we hope you'll love.

Cheers!
The Hello Vino Team
http://www.HelloVino.com

This is awesome - thanks everyone for the comments! Sounds like a follow up piece is in order in a bit with updates and new apps on the market. ;)

Cheers, CC

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