Wow, how times have changed. It wasn't that long ago when 'wine and apps' meant a glass of dry rose and brie before dinner. Now there are over 450 wine applications to check out for the iPhone. That's six times as many wine apps as were available for the iPhone last year. There are apps for wine reviews, food pairing, wine journaling, games, interacting with other vinophiles, apps to buy a drink for a friend or to find a winery. There are a lot of choices unless you have an Android or a Blackberry, then you already know you are much more limited.
My first download was Hello Vino, a good choice for the wine app newbie. This very popular, free application, is available for the iPhone and Android. Hello Vino bills itself as an app for the wine aisle, offering pairings, reviews and more.
The next thing I knew, I had downloaded a dozen apps but my excitement fizzled fast. Some of the apps got buggy on me and I often couldn't find the information I wanted. For example, I searched for a dry, zingy Verdicchio that I had recently at a nearby restaurant. Drync could tell me the price but not where I could get the wine. Snooth's free version came back with four stores, including one in New York and one in Amsterdam. Thinking I might be missing something I called on a guy who knows a lot about wine apps -- Paul Mabray, founder of Vintank. Vintank is a digital think tank for the wine industry. I asked Mabray why am I having such a hard time searching for a bottle of wine?
"The best app for finding wine accurately is Wine-Locator. Unfortunately, they don't have a large amount of brands supporting their platform. The problem is very simple, imagine synchronizing all the inventory of all the stores that carry wine with their myriad of different inventory systems as well as how they enter wine into those systems (calling it everything from RMCS2008 to Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008). The problem has too much inertia."
If you are trying to navigate your way through the dizzying array of wine apps, you should know, Vintank has done the hard work for us. They have tested, rated, and even categorized, 452 wine apps for the iPhone. Check out this super cool wheel chart with Vintank's top 26 apps. If 26 is still too much, then maybe it's enough to just know what's on Mabray's phone. I pinned him down to his top picks.