Wine Apps – Do I Need One?

7 Apr

Over the years of smart phone use (is it smartphone or smart phone? I will ask Siri), I’ve fooled around with wine apps that help me organize my cellar, pick a wine at a restaurant or retail, and provide me with tasting notes from ‘experts’ or slobs just like me.

I’ve put them on my phone in a moment of whimsy when I think that I’ll use them. Only to take them off when I’m worried that I’m using up all my data storage for an app I haven’t really used enough. They have been of very limited use and in very specific situations, is what I’m saying.

A few months ago, I received an invitation from the Natalie MacLean’s peeps to try their new app and write about it. I thought that it might be cool to do just that. But, in fairness to the other hard working developers and entrepreneurs, I thought that I should try as many as I could to see what they bring and if I can make a recommendation. Yes, you are right. I have lots of time on my hands and Siri says it’s OK. Siriously, I asked her.

Wine apps seem to fall into 4 non-mutually exclusive categories:

Retail Apps – inventories, availabilities, etc. at a particular chain – my example would be the LCBO app but I see one for the SAQ as well as other large retailers;

Recommendation Apps – these generally provide pairing tips, tasting notes, etc. for specific labels or general guidelines. Some are word based but most allow label scans to identify the wine;

Cellar Management – These apps allow you to keep a categorized inventory of your cellar, add your tasting notes, and, in some cases participate in a community of like-minded souls

Search – These apps provide a search tool that accesses retail inventories and pricing. Sometimes they are matched to accepted review and winery data.

Many apps are tied to other media. Such as magazines, zines, blogs, and/or subscription series.

But how to test drive and against what criteria? Criteria? That would a bit too scientific for this blog. So, I’m going to just use them and tell you what I think. Wish me luck.

Apps, that I’ve loaded are:

LCBO, Natalie McLean, Vivino, Pocket Wine Pairing, Corkz, Winepop, Wine Cellar Database, Vinocell. Some are free and others either you pay up front or there are in-use enhancements that cost. BTW, they are all “the number 1 app.”

I realize this has been done before, most recently in my world by Richard Hemming at http://www.jancisrobinson.com (subscription needed). But I think I’ll give it a try. If there are other apps that I should try, let me know. I’ll report back in awhile.

Cheers

Bill

 

11 Responses to “Wine Apps – Do I Need One?”

  1. talkavino April 8, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    Don’t use any apps, sorry. Okay, well, I’m lying – have Wine-Searcher app installed on my phone, use it from time to time.
    Your list looks good – can I suggest that you will also look at https://app.winetracker.co/#!/ ?

  2. Krystle van Hoof April 8, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    I’ve been using Vivino since I moved to Quebec because I wasn’t really familiar with the wines at the SAQ. It’s been helpful. We basically made a rule that, if we were buying something new, we don’t go below a 3.8 rating on Vivino and aim for 4.0 and above. It’s not always a grand slam but we’ve never had a total disappointment either. The annoying thing is, the SAQ employees seem to be living in fear of being replaced by apps; so, as soon as they see you snapping a picture of a bottle, they’re on you like a dirty shirt, asking if you need help or recommendations. Maybe I do but I don’t like talking to salespeople so I’ll stick with my app.

    • Convivial Supper April 13, 2017 at 7:11 am #

      Tried Vivino – used for about 2 months, then I gave up. I thought it was a very pushy app, too. I was using it to help with my collection, not so much to find new wines.

      • Duff's Wines April 13, 2017 at 8:41 am #

        I’ve just started with Vivino and not a big help. I think it might be good for people who don’t know too much about wine or do no research outside of the store. Or, maybe people that just enjoy putting in tasting notes.

  3. Dracaena Wines April 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    No Delectable? That is what we use most. It is for our own real tasting notes. It’s kind of like Facebook for wine. for our collection, we use cellar tracker.

    • Duff's Wines April 9, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      I used CellarTracker for years but I felt it required too much discipline – something that have a short supply of. I have my own hand written tasting notes on a cheat sheet i developed cribbing a bit from Wine Spectator’s ones. I will check Delectable and maybe test drive it as well. Thanks.

  4. Wine With Friends April 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Who are you on Vivino? I have been on and off and only recently am I giving them a try properly. Where does Natalie McLean fit in relative to your buckets, because I am only now remembering to go to Vivino (eventually) and don’t want to add another app for the sake of it

    • Duff's Wines April 9, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      Natalie tries to be all things to all people. Notes, availability, etc. I wouldn’t add her yet. I’m hoping to just boil it down top one app if any at all. I’m starting the test runs on Monday so don’t have a Vivino profile yet. Will let you know.

  5. Michelle Williams April 9, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    I use wine-searcher to read articles & sometimes for research. I use cellar tracker to keep track of my inventory. I do not use wine apps for tasting notes.

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