How to Choose the Right Smartphone Wine App

find smartphone wine appsA search for “wine” in the iTunes app store will net you 2,232 results. Similarly, you’ll find “at least 1000” wine apps for your smartphone listed for the Google Android system. And no wonder! More and more people are coming to love good wine, and smartphones make it easier than ever to record, track and learn about your favorite vintages. The only hard part is trying to decide which smartphone wine app you want to use.

Yes, thanks to your smartphone, it’s possible to carry a wine expert in your pocket. With all the app choices available, it might be hard to decide which ones you should use. Here’s a tip: start by deciding what functions are the most important to you. Are you looking for wine recommendations, or do you want to record your personal wine tasting experiences? What about connecting with other wine lovers online? There is no one app that does it all perfectly, so you will have to prioritize your needs to find the best fit.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of many of the functions you might be looking for in your smartphone wine app – and some you may not have thought of!

Personal Wine Diary 

Keep track of the wines you have tried by keeping a wine diary on your smartphone.  Features might include:

  • Photo album – Take a picture of the bottle with your smartphone. Many wine lovers already use Instagram for this purpose, and tag the image with the vintage and tasting notes.
  • Wine database – Select the vintage from an online database. This keeps you from having to enter information manually.
  • Wine label recognition – Snap a picture of a wine label, and the app will compare it against their database and provide you additional information about the vintage. This feature only works well when the service has a large library of wine labels for comparison.
  • Barcode or QR code recognition – Not all wines carry barcodes or QR codes, but when they do scan them for quick results.
  • Personal tasting notes – Record vintages you have sampled along with your own personal rating and tasting notes.
  • Web connectivity – Access your wine notes from your smartphone or through a web interface on your computer.

pouring red wineWine Recommendations

There are many apps out there to help you find the perfect bottle of wine for any occasion.

  • Critics Reviews & Ratings – Get opinions on wine from professional critics and sommeliers.  Since wine preferences are so variable, you’ll want to choose an app that pulls these ratings from critics with whom you generally agree.  
  • Community Ratings – Find out how other uses of the app (or a connected online community) have rated a particular vintage.
  • Food & Wine Pairings – Get recommendations for what wine to drink with your meal.
  • Wine suggestions – Provide information on vintages you like and get automated recommendations for wines to try.

Connect with Wine Lovers

In our increasingly-connected world, it’s easier than ever to find other wine-lovers who share your passion. Some wine apps make it easy to connect and share what wines you love with friends and followers.

  • Social Networking – Link your account with social network accounts (most commonly Facebook or Twitter, but also Google Maps and Foursquare) to share your wine discoveries with friends, and track their wine adventures similarly.
  • Wine Communities – Discover new wine-loving friends in a community of other app users.
  • Wish list – Create a wish list of wines you’d like to try and share it with friends and followers.

Shop for Wine

People who love wine have one thing in common – they want more wine! Many wine apps make it easy to track down and purchase your favorite vintages.

  • Purchase Online – Once a particular wine has been identified, these apps can locate online sellers, quote prices, and a allow you to purchase for delivery to your home. Typically they are partnered with Internet wine merchants for the most efficient service.
  • Local retailers – Find and connect wine shops in your area who carry the vintages you are seeking.
  • Restaurant finders – Locate restaurants that specialize in fine wines for spectacular dining-out occasions.

two glasses of red wineAdditional Features

  • Wine Reference or Glossary – Provide resources for learning more about wine. These can be static resources, or regularly updated multimedia features presented through your app.
  • Cellar trackers – Keep tabs on the wines that are in your cellar already.
  • Wine events – Access listings for local and regional wine tasting events.
  • Wine travel – Plan trips with apps that help you find wineries and tasting venues.

Other Considerations

Aside from the features a wine app offers, there are a few other details you should consider, such as:

  • Region – Some apps are localized by country or region, so if you live in Kansas, be sure not to select an app that is optimized for Australia!
  • Price – Many wine apps are free of charge, but offer additional functionality for a fee (one time or a monthly charge). If you’re not willing to pay, make sure the features you want to use are included with the free version.
  • Expertise – Are you an expert oenophile or a novice just getting started? Different apps cater to different levels of knowledge. Don’t choose one that is too simple or too complex for your your needs.

There are other elements, of course, to take into consideration, but most of these are a matter of personal preference. How does the user interface look? Does it appeal to you on an aesthetic level? Is it easy to use? Once you’ve figured out what it is you want from a wine app, it’s time to dive in and start trying the out. With so man options, you’re sure to find one (or two, or three) that you can’t live without!

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