The world of smart phone apps can be incredibly valuable, but also stunningly overwhelming. With millions of apps to choose from, most of us probably rely on word-of-mouth recommendations or the latest hot thing to determine what we are going to download.
It’s no different in the world of wine apps. With hundreds of wine-related apps out there, which ones are the best? I have tried many wine apps, but there are only a handful that I come back to on a regular basis, and I wanted to share those with you.
Vivino is not only free to download, but it is the world’s largest and most popular wine app. There is a reason why millions of people use Vivino – it is a fantastic way to determine whether the bottle you are buying is any good. It is powered by a gigantic user community of people who enter ratings and reviews of the wines they drink. When you pick up a bottle, just take a photo of the label and the app will pull up that bottle in seconds with its user rating. The Vivino database has more than 10 million different wines, so there is a very good chance the bottle you are considering is in there. The app also provides shops that carry that wine, allowing you to immediately purchase it and have it shipped to you.
I also use Vivino as a way to track every bottle I drink. I can photograph the label and store that wine in my Vivino account, along with the date and location of where I had it. If I am ever trying to recall that amazing bottle my husband and I had at that little restaurant in New Orleans, it’s right at our fingertips.
2. Wine Searcher
It’s not always possible to find that unique or highly sought after bottle at your local wine shop. In my little rural town in central western New Jersey, it can be difficult to find a specific bottle I am looking for anywhere within reasonable driving distance. That’s when I turn to Wine-Searcher.
When you type a wine into Wine-Searcher it will return to you the shops that have that bottle in inventory along with the price. It becomes super easy to find and purchase your desired wine at the best price available. The app is free to download and use, but the free version will return to you a limited list of results. If you want to unlock the full list of results, you can upgrade to Wine-Searcher Pro for $65 per year.
If you have a growing wine collection that is becoming difficult to keep track of, you are probably considering downloading an app to help you organize your inventory. There are dozens of wine cellar tracking apps out there and I think I have tried just about all of them. The one I stuck with was Vinocell.
Vinocell costs $8.99 to download. What I really like about it is that it is very easy to enter a new wine into the system. Vinocell has about 1 million wines in its database, so when you want to enter a new wine, you can find it in the database and add it to your cellar, along with all of the accompanying data – wine, grape, region, price, maturity dates, etc. You don’t have to enter all of that information manually for each wine.
Vinocell has a ton of features including storing photos of wine labels, graphically laying out your wine cellar racks and identifying the location of each bottle, adding professional wine ratings, getting detailed statistics of your cellar, and being able to filter and sort on any piece of data in the system. I also love that my husband and I can sync our cellar data, so we both have the same up-to-date view of our cellar on our individual phones.
4. Wine Spectator
Many folks in the wine industry love to hate professional wine ratings. They hate how a good wine rating drives the purchase of a wine, when there are so many amazing bottles out there that go unrated and unappreciated. There is also the underlying specter of cheating in the wine rating system – can ratings really be trusted or is there favoritism occurring?
These are all valid concerns. However, from a consumer perspective, with so many bottles of wine out there, no one wants to spend their hard-earned money randomly selecting a wine that ends up tasting terrible. The best way to find a good wine is to ask your knowledgeable wine store employee. That said, wine ratings play an important role in helping people chose wines on their own that they will have a greater likelihood of enjoying.
There are dozens of professional wine rating systems out there, but my favorite is the ubiquitous Wine Spectator. The WS Wine Ratings app is free to download, and requires a $2.99/month subscription for the content. I prefer WS because after drinking many wines with different ratings, I feel that WS ratings are more in line with my taste preferences than some other rating systems. I also find them to be tougher in their ratings, so if a wine earns a high WS score I know it is very likely to be deserving of that score. The WS app allows me to pull up ratings in wine stores and at restaurants to help me narrow down my purchasing decisions.
5. Wine Events
As a wine blogger, I think I would go broke if I had to buy a full bottle of wine every time I wanted to try something new. Wine events are a wonderful way to taste new wines, varieties and producers without committing to full bottle costs. They are also a lot of fun!
Living out in the boonies, it can be challenging to find wine-related events. The Wine Events app has been a great resource to find wine events happening near me. The app is free to download and use. So get out there and start drinking!