I don’t know about the best things in life, but the best wine apps in life are free. From pairing vino with food to finding the perfect Valentine’s Day red, here are 10 free wine apps worth uncorking.
When I asked for feedback on this story from friends and folks in the industry, Delectable was the number one recommendation I received. Most notable: the snap-and-seek tool, which gives you the lowdown on a wine based on a simple snapshot from your phone. More than a resource, it’s also a community where you can voice your opinions, connect with fellow oenophiles and see what the pros (winemakers, sommeliers and wine editors) are sipping. Plus, there’s a Wine Journal feature where you can track what you taste. It’s like an Instagram feed for what you drink.
This app also has the snapshot feature — a pic on your phone will help you find out a wine’s average rating, price, and show comments from other Vivino peeps. Once you rate/wish list three wines, the app will start recommending bottles for you to try (the more wines you rate, the more on the nose the recommendations become). Techy winos will appreciate its accessibility, available for the Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Gear smart watch. NOTE: There is a paid Pro version that offers more bells and whistles, but for $4.99, I stuck with the freebie and was quite pleased.
If you want to know which wine to pair with pepperoni pizza (zinfandel) or huevos rancheros (rioja), this is the app for you. Hello Vino helps you find the right bottle to go with the right food in a format that’s easy to follow but not dumbed down. Novice wine enthusiast Meghan Spork of Chicago loves being able to save the wines that she’s tried and liked. “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone which wine I liked the last time I came to this particular restaurant. This helps me keep track of it all,” Spork says. It works with any smartphone, and even Blackberry (for the tens of people out there who still have one of those).
Crushed is a socially driven wine app where users can track, search and share their favorite wines across social networks. On Facebook, you “Like” someone’s post… on Crushed, you “Cheers.” Perfect for those who get status-happy with their wine buzz, Crushed helps you find answers to questions like: “What was the name of the wine we had with dinner last night?” Or, “What wines are my friends drinking?” and “What does my network have to say about this bottle?”
A “taste interview” helps to hone in on your personal flavor preferences with questions about your salt, coffee, beer and cocktail whims. WineQuest claims they can then predict how well anyone will like any wine in the world. They take the palette profiling a step further and can compare your tastes side-by-side to that of a friend or your better half.
Wine Quick Picks
This one comes from the minds of Nirvino, who created the spectacular Wine Ratings Guide (if I were to buy a wine app, this would be it). Quick Picks offers straight-ahead more curated recs than its socially driven counterparts. Updated periodically, you can scan through lists like the “Top 100 Widely Available Store WInes Under $35” and “Top 25 Widely Available Wines Under $10.”
The Wine Coach
Created by wine expert Laurie Forster, this app offers up Wine 101 with personality. Perfect for those looking to learn more about wine in an approachable way, via Laurie’s wine picks, podcasts and videos. She “demystifies wine one glass at a time” with the same wit she demonstrates in her bestselling book, The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine.
Taking the cake for prettiest design, Blush also has a clever survey to help you find the best wine for any occasion or meal. Looking for a good red under $10 to bring to a BBQ? If you like spicy food and take a lot of cream and sugar in your coffee, then try Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Savignon. Like most apps, this one could stand an update. On a few searches, I selected white, and still received matches for a few reds. But Blush makes up for this with an extensive database including small production, limited release wines.
While many wine apps were created by people with more tech experience than wine experience, everyone at team Guurgle hails from the wine industry. Their mantra is “three clicks,” which means that a user should be able to find what they are looking for in three simple key strokes. Users can search wineries, wines, grape varietals, wine events and reviews. Currently a region-specific app, their focus is on California wineries, but they plan to add Oregon and Washington State wineries soon.
Rather than show you which wines pair best with which foods, this app pairs wines with you. A fancy algorithm helps to determine your taste profile and then Wine-Simple recommends bottles taking into account things such as your favorite ice cream flavor and how you take your coffee. While I recommend this app for its fun factor, don’t expect it to be too practical. Their Store Location filter needs some love—the closest stores they have to Asheville, N.C., are in Florida. Also, I do hope they come up with some sort of screening process for their database (I cringe at the suggestion of Barefoot Cab).
WineSimple from The WineSimple Team on Vimeo.