Food Apps Review of the Week: Wine

By on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011


I have put off doing a wine roundup for a long time, mainly because I’ve been waiting for the quintessential app to blow my mind.  I’m not certain what app I downloaded when I first unwrapped my smartphone, but I’m certain a wine app was one of them. I’ve got four apps that look very promising below–let’s see if any of them are worth aging with.

Natalie MacLean Wine Picks & Pairings
Developer: Fluid Trends
Cost: Free
Runs on: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nexus, Nokia, Palm Pre and more
Website: www.nataliemaclean.com/mobileapp

This was the very first app I reviewed for Toque. At the time, I gave version 1.0 a 4/5 rating. As I had hoped, a year and some months older and version 2.0 has aged quite nicely.

This version seems to include everything that the first did, but has greatly expanded. For example, the number of food and wine pairing reviews has gone from 380,000 to over 700,000. Also, in my previous review I knocked this app for not including any California wineries in its directory. Natalie, the app’s creator, e-mailed me to say they were adding over 2,000—after looking at the list it seems like they’re all there.

The big new feature for this app is a bar code scanner. Point your camera at a wine bottle and “beep”…you can get review information, write your own review, rate it, date it, add it to your virtual cellar and more. A great new feature! For now, there are 150,000 wines in the scanable database. Unfortunately, only two out of the 10 bottles I scanned were in there. I know this will improve over time and is already the best scanner I’ve used.

Toque Rating: 4.5/5

WineStein
Developer: WineWineWine Holding BV
Cost: Free
Runs on: iPhone
Website: www.winewinewine.com

This app is slick. It’s a wine pairing app that uses a coverflow interface (think of flipping through your iTunes album covers) to create the dish you’d like to pair your wine with. There are over 2,000 ingredients to choose from, dozens of preparations, and hundreds of sauces.

What makes this app special is how it pairs the wine. Put your ingredients together then click the pair button. What you get is a breakdown of the best wine match according to the wine’s DNA, which has 19 points of reference, which includes: residual sugar, alcohol, umami, floral, mineral, earthy, spicy and 12 more. It gives the wine a rating on how best it matches.

There are over 600 wine varieties that it can match, but the free version provides only two with the option to subscribe to receive more. An annual subscription is priced at $2.99 and a 3-month subscription is $0.99.

Toque Rating: 4/5

WineSay – Wine Pronunciation
Developer: Mobile Venture Partners, LLC
Cost: $0.99
Runs on: iPhone
Website: www.winesay.com

I’ll admit, I feel like a complete idiot sometimes when reading a wine label. How am I, of single dialect, supposed to pronounce all those foreign words, sometimes requiring a bit of an accent or emphasis? With this app, simply scroll to the wine name, click on it, and listen to how it’s supposed to be pronounced. There are over 200 of the most common wine words, varietals, regions and terms listed in alphabetical order. There are many voices that provide the audio sound bites and some of the accents are pretty thick.

This app works just as advertised, but it would be even more helpful if you could slow down the pronunciation and also see a definition and/or written phonetic description. These are minor gripes that might just make this app more cumbersome than it needs to be. Click, listen and order with confidence.

Toque Rating: 4/5


Daily Grape
Developer: Gary Vaynerchuck
Cost: Free
Runs on: iPhone
Website: http://dailygrape.com

Finally, an app from Gary Vaynerchuck, the multimedia Bacchus. (If you don’t know who Gary is, you probably don’t spend much time on the internet—the explanation is for another review.) Daily Grape brings his video wine reviews to the palm of your hand.

The videos are great. At least, I think they’re great—Gary’s an acquired taste for many. If you watch a video and like what he has to say about a wine, you can add it to your wine list. It also allows you to give a star rating and add your own tasting notes.

But the app needs more content. A search for wines in California under $20 yielded just 13 choices. If you’re looking for an app guide, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a companion to Gary’s videos so you can track the wines he talks about, this app is a worthy download—and free at that.

Toque Rating: 3.5/5

 

Written by Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Hitched, a service and lifestyle online magazine for married couples. When Steve is not not researching or dispensing relationship information, he's reading, eating or marrying flavors together in the kitchen.

4 Comments

  1. Steve Cooper says:

    Food Apps Review of the Week: Wine http://bit.ly/kauQdz Four wine apps reviewed. Are any of them are worth aging with?

  2. Scan wine label 4 pairing ideas; help w those hard French words; @garyvee video wine reviews. Wine apps on Toque http://tinyurl.com/3erudup

  3. Is there an app you would recommend for keeping track of what you’ve tasted? It seems that most of them are focused on finding food matches, and/or places to buy wine. Thanks!

  4. Steve Cooper says:

    Hi Anne:

    Of the above apps, Natalie MacLean Wine Picks & Pairings is probably the best one for that. It allows you to rate and review with your own tasting notes. You can indicated how many bottles you have, drank, or desire. Daily Grape also allows you to add your own notes, but as an overall app, it’s more limited.

    I’ve tried other wine apps that tout themselves as virtual cellars where you can keep your tasting notes, etc. From my experience, Natalie’s app is the best because of the new barcode scanner, which makes inputing the wine information much easier. The other app I used to use was Drync Wine. It’s a straightforward app to keep track of your wines, but I found it glitchy.

    Hope this helps. —Steve

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