Wine App Mini-Review

I’ve been looking for an app that allows me to capture the essence of wines that I’ve tasted, display the results of others for wines I haven’t tasted, view the label, the price and the wine maker’s description in a clean interface. Data input must be easy and, because of the nature of wine, must have access to an extensive database. I would also insist on the ability to back up the data.

In the journey to find such an application, I’ve come across a good number of wine apps. Indeed, there are over 100 free wine apps in the app store, though I haven’t tested nearly half of them. I thought it might be of interest to others, as well as a brief documentation for myself, to post the brief findings of wine apps that I’ve toyed with. This post is a work in progress and has incomplete data. It will be updated as time allows. One of the most disturbing lack of features is the ability to back up your database. Without that ability it’s impossible to reach a 5 star rating. Nobody wants to spend hours scanning labels, entering their taste experiences and typing in their inventory to get it erased.

App Properties Notes My Rating
Wine Events

by Local Wine Events.com

Wine Tasting Events Calendar Shows wine and beer tasting events in cities around your area.
 
NY Wine & Food Pairings

by New York Wine and Grape Foundation

General Wine Reference Guide


Food and Wine Pairings Guide
Shows grapes, wine flavors and food pairings. General wine information.
Wine Ph.D.

General Wine Reference Guide


Wine Restaurant/Winery Search


Food and Wine Pairings Guide


Wine News


Search and Browse by Winery, Varietal, Region and Pairing


Wine Ph.D. Ratings


Lists Average Cost of Wine


Displays Wine Label Images


Displays Winemaker Notes


Allows Personal Wine Inventory Database


Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Interface is attractive, but a bit touchy. Feels like it tries to be too much, which can complicate the flow, but handles the various jobs well.
Hello Vino

Food and Wine Pairings Guide


Occasion and Wine Pairings Guide


Wine Reviews


Search by Varietal, Price, Vintage, Region, Rating, State and Stock (based on wine.com)
Browse by Pairing


Wine Ratings


Wine Prices


Shopping (wine.com)


Displays Wine Label Images


Displays Winemaker Notes


Twitter and Facebook integration
Appears to be based off of the wine.com database. Browsing is very limited. Intended to help you find a wine by pairing or find a pairing by wine.
Noble Wine

General Wine Reference Guide Strictly a reference or learning app that teaches the basics of wine and its styles, types, making, laws and composition. No images.
Tesco Wine Finder

by Tesco.com

Wine search By Scanning Label (but very limited in its findings)


Shake for Random Wine


Provides Wine Prices and shopping (tesco.com)


Displays Wine Labels


Displays Winemaker Notes
Although you can search by scanning the label, it’s very limited in its findings. There’s a selector that allows you to pick characteristics of wine, then it searches for a random wine in its database that matches that criteria. It’s an interesting idea, but without a huge google-esque database of wine labels and without a faster image recognition algorithm, it’s pretty destined to fail. I.E. it’s a novelty app, but not very useful.
Corkbin

by Inmite

Requires an account


Food and Wine Pairings Guide


Wine Reviews and Ratings by other Corkbin Users


Browse Wine by Friend or Vicinity


Displays Wine Labels


Stores Personal Wine Tastings


Integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Blogs
This app is intended to make wine tasting into a social network product of its own. You taste wine, take a picture of the label and share your experience in a short sentence. People follow each other like twitter.
iWine Journal

Personal Wine Inventory DB


Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Very basic app that stores your typed in values for wines you have tasted.
Grape-It

Personal Wine Inventory DB


Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Like iWine Journal, this is a very basic app that stores your typed in values for wines you have tasted.
Wine Notes

by William Lindmeier

Searches and Browses wines you’ve entered


Personal Wine Inventory DB


Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Comprehensive Wine Inventory app. You can’t search the internet for a wine and copy it into your inventory, but it has some fantastic properties. For example, you can move sliders until the color on the screen mimics that of your wine. You also have some keen sliders in the profie. You also have nearly 60 flavors to build a combination from. I would almost call this one of the best wine inventory apps out there, but I have yet to try some of the competition.

What A Day Out Geocaching Is Like

Most people who would have interest in reading this blogpost are already geocachers. Some might be new to the activity, from which they’ll peer into it like a voyeur or a student. This is just a description of what a day out geocaching is like for me and my family.

First we prepare. It usually starts when I get up and my wife asks what I want to do today. I answer “Geocache” almost as instantly as a teen girl from the 80’s would say “Go to the Mall”. Then the scrambling begins.

Children and adults get dressed and help others get dressed, then eat breakfast.

I usually grab a flashlight, pocket knife, iPhone and wallet. Then we get our swag box. It’s a child’s toy fishing tackle box filled with trinkets we swap for those we like in caches we find. I usually stuff a few trinkets in my pockets because we inevitably come across a tough terrain where nobody wants to carry around a tackle box.

Usually without much planning we decide on an area of town to try as we gather in the family minivan. There are no printed maps. There are no goals other than finding a few caches with trinkets for the kids to trade and having fun. So the iPhone is pulled out since it’s our only GPS and we travel around to an area and start hunting for caches.

My ratio of finds, with or without my family, is about four out of five. When we hit those 80%, the kids are excited and having fun. Usually my wife or I find them first and we encourage the kids to look for signs… “do you see something that doesn’t look like it belongs?” we usually say. Then when the kids find it they’re cheering and shouting even if it’s a microcache. My wife and I feed off the energy and can’t help but smile. Some caches are cleverly hidden and disguised, but most are not. We then sign the log and leave talking about it, peaked enough by the excitement to motivate us to the next cache no matter how tired and hungry we are.

When we hit upon that 20% that is usually not found, I search it out hard. If I’m with others (namely children), they find their patience pushed to the limit while I stumble through juniper bushes (I hate juniper bushes – nasty bushessessess), wade through mud and get my face poked by tree branches. If someone posted a note or comment that the cache was easy to find that only adds to everyone’s frustration and my deliberation of dragging them through the junipers (nasty busshessessess), mud and trees with me.

It’s usually at this point that I realize it’s past noon, the family is tired, hungry and irritated and I reluctantly herd them home, leaving the DNF behind.

We log our finds and non-finds (DNFs) along the way. Sometimes if the network is sketchy we keep them in queue and sync up our logs when we get into a location with WiFi. On that note, we’re pretty good about logging DNFs. It’s embarrassing at times, but on that same 80/20 rule, 20% of our DNFs occur because the cache was removed (taken/destroyed/muggled/etc) and our part in logging the DNF helps the cache owner make that determination.

Only once were we the first to find a cache and it was our youngest, the four-year-old, who pointed out where it was. Finding a cache for the first time is like exploring through virgin territory. You don’t know what you’ll find there but you know it will be great. Nicer swag, bragging rights, but more importantly, an unadulterated theme that the cache owner wanted to present. Some caches are filled with theme based swag. Over time that personality becomes erased with the homogenization of cachers’ individual interests as they trade swag.

Eventually only the happier memories remain. I spent time with my kids. They learned something new. My wife and I had some bonding time. But late at night … in the buzzing stillness that sometimes tickles the mind and keeps me awake … that DNF in the junipers continues to haunt me back to restless sleep.

Daddies Have Them, Too (but we’re not supposed to talk about it)

Lindsey from “A Design So Vast” wrote a very succinct post on the early years of parenting after reading another inspiring post from Amy at “Never True Tales”.

In a strange way this echos for me as well. I say “strange” because the posts epitomize womanhood, yet I’m a man.

There were long nights that felt like those that fall on the arctic where I would hover over the crib to soothe the baby, swaying like a drunk man from the lack of sleep. From her post I remember the same sand burnt eyes, the same smells and how that baby smell is like no other. I even recall the same confidence and fear that somehow intermingle at that time in life.

There was a tenderness both in me and in others that eroded over time. People seemed kinder and gentler then, and even euphonised their snide and hurtful remarks about our already large family (if you call two children a large family) if not withheld them altogether.

A little older, there’s already a longing for those times. I play with thoughts and memories like a young boy’s wish to travel back in time or to another world altogether, but unlike that boy I know each moment is different and there’s no return. My children are a little older now, so there’s still some magic left in my house, but at my age – at their ages – the end of that tunnel is blinding; it strikes me with a disquieted remorse that only comes out in deep quivering sighs.

As a man there’s supposed to be a hardened-steel strength that masks these emotions in some supernatural science-fiction Spock-like manner… but it still shows. Our wrinkled and melancholy eyes from the years of laughter and tears betray us to those who look deeply. Other men, thinking they were wild and free, were blindly shackled to a hard loneliness that comes from being childless, or shirking their children, and hardens even more with age until all that’s left is bitterness or, if they’re fortunate enough to possess a kind heart, remorse.