The scene: The local wine warehouse. Aisles upon aisles, pallets on pallets of things you can’t pronounce. The nicely labeled bottle is only $9.99, but that hideous one is $35.99, and all my usual approaches have rendered useless.
Characters: Me and one overwhelmed friend, nervously texting (or based on that awkward thing she just did with her elbows, SnapChatting).
Situation: I’m on wine duty for the supper club, and Sarah raved about Dave’s pick last week, but I like Sarah, so that’s not going to fly.
“Help me, please!”
“Literally just get something that has alcohol.”
“That’s how every bad night ever in college began, and wine duty is kind of a place of
She picks up a bottle of something pinkish.
“This looks pretty,” she offers. “You might just want to get something now, or else you’re going to be unfashionably late, and that’s not going to make a good impression with— “
“Hush. It looks like fruit punch,” I retort.
She bobs her head back and forth suggesting that, in fact, it is definitely fruit punch.
Then, like a mid-2000s flashback, it hits me: there must be an app for that.
To spare you similar anxiety, I’ve done the legwork of checking out three solid wine apps that deserve a folder on your smartphone. These pocket sommeliers will help you navigate the choice overload with just a few quick taps, saving you time and embarrassment.
Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide (iPhone & Android)
I’m still a die-hard Roger Federer fan, not because he’s the most exciting new thing in tennis, but because he knows the game and plays with finesse.
I’m the same way about food and wine reviews—I like the old guard, the trusted name, which is why Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Guide app tops my list. I give it high marks for user friendliness and I’m relatively impressed with its repertoire of reviews from an industry leader in connecting wine lovers with anything and everything to enhance their experience.
From flavor notes and overall ratings to a well-developed suggestion tool, you have the flexibility to check out a wine that meets your price point for professional reviews, or put in some criteria for a list of wines that might be what you’re looking for.
My one suggestion: Check vintages—Wine Enthusiast has a robust set of reviews, but that 2010 Zin might have a totally different profile than the 2011 or 2012.
Drync (iPhone & Android)
Drync is for those a little more interested in having an all-in-one wine lifestyle app, and with it’s dynamic capabilities, requires slightly more mobile-savvy with location.
Branded as “the better way to buy wine,” users can think of it as the one-stop resource to learn about, browse, buy, journal and connect over wine. With a sleek and modern interface, Drync says, “I’m the one with the good taste.”
My favorite feature about this app is the integrated social networking component. If you really want to connect with a wine-loving community, this is the app for you. The user ratings and comments provide a more accessible vocabulary for reviewing what a wine tastes like in layman’s terms.
It’s also a great pairing resource, allowing you to search by cuisine to ensure you get it right (and make Sarah forget about Dave). Today, for instance, I opened the app and was greeted with Argentine BBQ wines. Chimichurri anyone?
You’ll be hard pressed (pun-intended) to find a wine app that doesn’t feature ajournal, a label log and a handful of other staples for the aspiring sommelier. Hello Vino has it all and then some.
The curb appeal with this app is the branding: “no snobs allowed,” they say. So, as the Planet Fitness of wine apps, Hello Vino speaks your language and provides you with all the search functions one could imagine with intuitive usability.
The cool factor here, albeit a slightly intimidating one, is the option to call and actually talk to an advisor based in wine country. You can get that instant feedback from those who are purported to be “in-the-know” about what’s up in the wine world.
So how did it end for me? I employed my technological wiles to match the chicken piccata with a buttery white. I splurged and showed up with a more expensive Chardonnay, one that Sarah happened to love, and one that got me a date away from supper club.