LAST May I did a blog post for Wine Access magazine about the best wine apps for smartphones — predominantly for the iPhone. A lot can change in the app world in 17 months, so it’s a topic worth revisiting.
In that time, many apps have come and gone, but there are a few I’ve found consistently useful. What you find helpful will depend on what you’re looking for. From cellar management and shopping tips to general wine education, there’s likely an app that will suit your needs.
Here are five of what I consider the best wine apps on the market. Unless otherwise noted, they’re for the iPhone — search the app store and download away.
This app has dropped in price by a dollar since I first wrote about it, making it an even better value than it already was. The Cor.kz app is connected to the CellarTracker website, which is one of the largest user-generated wine review databases online. The most useful feature of this app is that the user can scan a wine label’s barcode and pull up any available reviews of the wine. (It also pulls up online prices, but they’re mainly from U.S. stores.) Signing up for a CellarTracker account enables you to input and track any wines you have tucked away at home via the app.
This wine-and-food pairing app is available for iPhone or Android, but users on any mobile phone can visit hellovino.com and be redirected to the mobile version of the site. Simply input your meal and the app will suggest appropriate wines. You can also get reverse suggestions, so if you already have a wine and you’re not sure what to pair it with, HelloVino’s got your back.
AG Wine ($2.99)
Looking to learn more about the world’s wine regions? This app is for you. It features extensive information about many of the globe’s top regions (although Canada isn’t yet among those covered), grapes grown in each region, vintage charts, maps and more. The maps look particularly good on the iPad version, which is $3.99.
Wine Access (free)
I know, I write for Wine Access, but I swear the app is a truly useful one, especially for those of us north of the border — it features reviews of wines that may actually be in our market.
Search for a wine by name or enter a grape, vintage, region, etc. to see reviews, or peruse the top wines from the International Value Wine Awards or Canadian Wine Awards.
Nat Decants (free)
Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones as well as everyone else via a mobile site, Canadian writer Natalie MacLean’s wine app lets you scan a wine’s barcode and read her review. There’s a wine-andfood pairing function as well as a number of recipes. Some functions, like the cellar builder, require a membership/ subscription, which costs around $25 a year.
APOTHIC 2011 WHITE
(California — $14.99, Liquor Marts and beyond) The Apothic Red is such a huge success, sales-wise, that it’s no surprise a white version is now available. A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato, it brings aromas of peach and green-apple candy, as well as light pear and floral notes. It’s medium-bodied and somewhat viscous, with confected peach and green apple flavours, a creamy vanilla note and a dollop of sweetness similar to the red blend. It tastes "manufactured," in that it doesn’t really display the true characteristics of any of the grapes. Not up my alley, but many will love it. 83/100 LA VUELTA 2011 TORRONTÉS
(Mendoza, Argentina — around $11, private wine stores) Pear, mineral, peach and light spice notes are fairly typical of this aromatic grape variety, and these characteristics show well here on the nose. Dry and light-bodied, the La Vuelta marries red apple skin and peach flavours with light spice and acidity, making this a beautifully fresh, crisp white — especially for the price. Tr y with lighter fish dishes, pasta in an alfredo sauce or mild cheeses. 87/100 PELEE ISLAND 2011 LUCKY STONES RED (Ontario — $12.99, Liquor Marts and beyond) The Lucky Stones red, a Baco Noir-Cabernet blend, is light cherry in colour, with aromas of ripe raspberry, cherry, blackcurrant, caramel and fresh black grapes.
This medium-bodied red packs loads of red berry, plum and blackberry flavours on the palate, with modest acidity that ramps up the juicy factor here. Try with marinara pizza or pasta in a simple red sauce, or chill this for 15 minutes to pair with salmon. 86/100