Wine by the App
Nowadays, more than 100,000 different wines await corkscrews or, increasingly, hand twists. How to deal with this embarrassment of riches? Free smartphone apps can help, though here, too, choices abound. Here are four of the best:
Vivino. This app responds to smartphone snapshots of wine labels (though far from always) with one-to-five-star ratings based on reviews from 15 million users; it also provides information such as average retail price. A monthly charge buys extra features, including a “manage your cellar” function.
Delectable. This app does a great job of recognizing wine labels and offers one-to-10-point reviews from rank-and-file members plus sommeliers, wine writers, and industry folks. Become a follower of someone whose tastes seem to align with yours and you can fast-track your education and better target your purchases. Another plus: the app also covers beer, sake, and spirits.
CellarTracker. Created by a wine lover while on sabbatical from Microsoft, CellarTracker is to a spreadsheet (his former tool) what runway models are to mannequins. Enriching its capabilities, which include alerts when a vintage has reached peak drinkability, are more than five million tasting notes from the app’s 400,000-plus users. Budding wine enthusiasts can learn from one another and from the experienced aficionados who post and engage in online conversations. An annual fee brings more features.
Wine Ring. This app does for wine what Pandora does for music. After you enter basic assessments of a dozen or so wines—love it, like it, so-so, don’t like it—Wine Ring’s paradigms click in, predicting what you’ll think of a new wine according to your ever-evolving preference profile. There’s guidance on food/wine pairings and, if your dining companions are among your Wine Ring followers, you can optimize the night’s wine selection by including them in your query.