Wines of Worth: There’s an App for That

You’re shopping in a wine store, rounding the aisles and scanning the shelves for the perfect wine. The problem is, you don’t know what the perfect wine is. You want something from that small region you read about – where was it now? The indigenous grape was very special and memorable – if only you could remember its name. You’re making pizza with white sauce, mushrooms and arugula for dinner and have no idea what to pair. Very few of us pack around Food and Wine Pairing for Dummies (get it, if you don’t have it, and peruse at home) and even fewer roll with a personal somm buddy. So where do you turn for the answer? Your aptly named smart phone. A quick search today for “Wine” on the iTunes app store turned up 2,270 options.

The web, and accessibility of apps and smart phones,  has revolutionized the way consumers learn, discuss and purchase wine. In fall 2012, an ABLE Media Marketing survey showed that nearly 95% of American wineries surveyed are on Facebook and 75% are on Twitter. Wineries are not just using those sites to share their events, but to interact with trade and connect with potential customers. Social media sites are also used to show the personal side of wineries and winemakers, ofen in real time, through twitter feeds, blogs and video clips. It’s somewhat ironic how technology and the web can make a wine experience more human.

Read Jeannette Montgomery’s take on the new wine social media movement here.

It was recently announced that Drync, a Boston-based mobile wine-data app has raised $900,000 from angel investors. Drync has been a top wine app in the States for more than 4 years, having been featured on Apple’s top free and paid Lifiestyle lists, appeared in several Apple TV commercials and chosen as a top wine app by the New York Times. Drync subscribers can find the details on a wine by scanning the wine label with their smartphone camera, or by choosing a location or event using the phone’s GPS and selecting their wine from the list. Their 1.7 million bottle database is growing by the day, and users can then order the wine right then and there (giving rise to a whole new pricey layer to drunk dialling. Drunk surfing?). The shopping function of the app is rolling out across the States, so I’m sure it won’t be long until it crosses the border or a Canadian-specific app is released. Though Drync notes that their app has approximately an 80% success rate with the label imagery at present, you can always search the list of producers and wines to find the wine in question.

One of my favourite wine apps is The mobile portal for the excellent cellar-management program CellarTracker, allows you to import your cellar data from Cellar Tracker, update on the go (read drinking and shopping), and sort wines, viewing what in your collection is ready to drink tonight. Started as a small hobby site for his personal cellar, Eric LeVine created CellarTracker in 2003. Now a decade on, it has grown and expanded greatly, with hundreds of thousands of collectors tracking tens of millions of bottles and sharing 3 million or so tasting notes. I’ve been using Cellar Tracker on my laptop for years to track my meagre wine collection, but having a mobile version on my phone that I can update when I’m actually drinking the wine leaves much less room for wine-fogged forgetfulness.

From cellar management to tasting notes to wine clubs and nearly every possible thing in-between, there is little that you can’t do wine-wise on the go. Save for enjoying the wine, that is. After all your hard work typing and surfing and clicking and scrolling, you deserve that drink.

Some of my top online Canadian wine links:

What started in Ontario as an online critic review site and in-depth wine searching tool has spread across Canada in 2013, starting with grounding in BC. Users can upload their own tasting notes, compare notes with other like-minded people, or align themselves with a certain critic. Original content by some of Canada’s well known wine writers is posted almost daily.  Much useful free content, plus some advanced subscription-required information. *Note – I am a contributing wine critic for this site, so am obviously biased, but I was following it long before it reached BC and I came on board in spring 2013.
TW @winealign
FB winealign
App Store – WineAlign


Free My Grapes
Rising from the ashes of Canada’s broken down wine laws is the Free My Grapes movement, propelled by the internet. This volunteer based, non-profit campaigns the public and public office to change provincial and federal laws so Canadians can purchase and ship wine for their personal use directly from wineries in other provinces. To date, their campaign has produced needed changes in federal law with Manitoba, British Columbia and Nova Scotia stepping up to the intent of federal Bill C-311.
TW @freemygrapes
Hashtag #freemygrapes
FB  freemygrapes


British Columbia Wine Institute
The BCWI aims to build and market the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA) wine brand, but all of the BC wine industry benefits from their strong marketing and media relations. The site is a clean overview of BC wine regions and grapes, including many useful and current stats and figures.
TW @winebcdotcom
FB winebcdotcom


Wine Country Ontario
Part travel guide, part educational resource, this is the key site for all that is Ontario wine. The site is designed around the wine country visitor, so expect more interactive features and travel links than industry stats.
TW @winecountryont
FB winecountryontario


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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