The world of wine can seem mysterious, intimidating and impenetrable, but it doesn't have to be. Multiple mobile apps can help you make sense of the most arcane terms and find the right wine and food pairings for every occasion, all without requiring you to cram for a sommelier exam.
Whether you're looking for the right wine to serve with a holiday meal, trying to decide whether a particular red or white will make a thoughtful gift or searching for a review of an obscure vintage, here are 15 of the best wine apps for amateurs and oenophiles alike, available on Android and iOS. (Photo Credit: Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)
Delectable (Android, iOS: Free)
Delectable (Android, iOS) has some of the best wine label recognition in the field, allowing users to easily pull up ratings, reviews and tasting notes for a particular vintage all from a photograph of a wine's label. In addition to the label-scanning features, users can keep a personal wine journal of their favorite wines with tasting notes. The app also functions as a discovery tool, with users able to follow newsfeeds of top sommeliers, winemakers and wine pros, as well as explore curated lists of vintages.
Banquet (Android, iOS: Free)
Delectable isn't content to just be a powerful wine label scanner and recognition tool. It's also pushing into online wine sales with its dedicated Banquet app (Android, iOS), which allows users to buy any of the more than 22,000 different wines from boutique and independent wine dealers throughout the US, with easy payment through Google Pay or Apple Pay. Wines are shipped to your door in 43 states or available for pickup in-store. The selection runs the full gamut from bargain bottles to collectable vintages, with wine ratings and curated lists taken from Delectable's rich community of wine enthusiasts.
Vivino (Android, iOS: Free)
Another wine companion app, Vivino (Android, iOS) boasts a photo label recognition system that can quickly bring up information for a given wine, complete with reviews, ratings and tasting notes. If the app can't automatically identify a particular vintage, Vivino's own team of wine experts can manually identify it for you with time. In addition to label scanning, users can browse the app's database of wine reviews, save their favorite wines, get recommendations for wines from within the app and find out where to buy wines nearby. You now can order wines within the app in supported countries, with a premium tier offering its members free shipping.
Hello Vino (Android, iOS: Free)
Hello Vino (Android, iOS) aims to be a wine companion app for the everyday shopper, with a label scanner, personal wine journal and food pairing recommendations. Simply tell Hello Vino what you'll be eating or some general taste preferences, and the app will recommend wine varieties to go with the meal or occasion. In addition to the label scanner and wine recommendation engine, users can read up about various wine varieties and popular food combinations. Premium users can also call and consult a live California-based wine expert for buying recommendations. That said, wine label scans aren't free and unlimited on Hello Vino as they are with other apps, so that might be an issue for some users.
Decanter Know Your Wine (iOS: Free)
Decanter's Know Your Wine app is designed to help teach you the fundamentals of wine, a learning app designed to aid oenophiles and budding sommeliers alike. Using the spaced repetition teaching method, Know Your Wine provides short informational modules about a variety of wine topics, from definitions to grape and regional varieties and more. Rather than a cramming tool and quiz app, Know Your Wine is designed to be used in short bursts over a period of time to help information sink into your long-term memory. The app has 10 free modules, with others available as in-app purchases or through a premium subscription.
Drizly (Android, iOS: Free)
Want your wine on demand? Check out online market Drizly (Android, iOS), which allows users to order wine, beer and other spirits for delivery the same day in 70 different US cities, with options for pre-paid store pickups or 2-to-3 day shipping in select states. A zipcode tool lets you check if Drizly can provide delivery service to you; from there, you can use Drizly to shop for liquor through Drizly's local partner stores. The Android version supports a number of OK Google voice commands for quick searches based on your address.
Wine-Searcher (Android, iOS: Free)
As the name implies, Wine-Searcher (Android, iOS) keeps the focus squarely on the search, with wine label recognition pulling up a wealth of information such as vintage ratings, grape varieties and critical ratings. Wine-Searcher's standout feature is its rich pricing and availability database, making it easy for users to find out where to get a particular vintage and how much it's likely to cost them. Extra features include a personal wine journal, a GPS-based store finder, and pricing and tasting notes for a variety of other liquors like Scotch whiskey, bourbon and rum. The free tier brings up the first 50 search results, while a premium search tier removes search limits and adds filters and other features.
Wine Ring (Android, iOS: Free)
Wine Ring (Android, iOS) takes a learning- and predictive-algorithms approach to its wine recommendations. The app takes into account your ratings for particular wines (Love It, Like It, So-So, or Dislike) and uses those ratings to generate recommendations based on your personalized tastes. In addition to the personalized recommendations, users can look up wines by pairings, keep a journal of wines that they've tried out and even look up recommendations for groups based on preference profiles for your friends, who might also be using Wine Ring.
Wine Picker (Android, iOS: Free)
Of course, if you're already sitting at your favorite restaurant and wondering what kind of wine to order with your meal, then maybe Wine Picker (Android, iOS) might be more your speed. Within the app, users can select a restaurant, set their budget and food pairing, and the app will recommend five wines from the restaurant's menu. You can also reverse search, picking wines from the menu, with the app recommending food pairings. In addition to searching for the right food pairing, users can also search for nearby restaurants that have a particular wine, as well as log their own tasting notes, reviews, and personal wine collection.
Vinous (Android, iOS: Free)
Noted wine publication Vinous (Android, iOS) goes mobile with its wine expertise. The app offers wine reviews and an extensive global database of tasting notes as well as the latest articles and a range of other resources such as a detailed glossary of wine terms. Free users can sign in with their Google or Facebook account to access the free vintage chart and other features, though the real meat of the app is unlocked with a premium subscription to the app, starting at $7.99 per month and free to Vinous' subscribers.
Cellar Tracker (Android, iOS: Free)
While CellarTracker (Android, iOS) isn't going to win any awards for its interface, it is an effective tool for organizing and keeping track of your wine collection, with additional features available for premium subscribers. Users can log their wine bottles, complete with label recognition and barcode scanning features to make sure you get the entries just right. Additionally, users can refer to a database of more than 2.1 million wines and 5.9 million tasting notes from community and professional contributors. Premium subscribers gain access to extras like automatic collection valuation, as well as access to professional reviews.
VinoCell (iOS: $8.99)
VinoCell is a neat-looking cellar tracking app for users who want a premium iOS app to keep tabs on their bottles. Each bottle entry comes with more than 40 different data fields for parameters such as name, vintage and location, varietals, maturity and up to three images per wine. A search tool lets you search among your collection by parameter, and your wines can be displayed in sorted lists or in a visual representation of your cellar racks, with the app highlighting exactly the bottles you're searching for. VinoCell also includes tasting notes management, pro ratings and pairing recommendations, and a database for quickly filling in fields in your bottle details.
CorkageFee (Android, iOS: Free)
Not every restaurant has a great wine selection: sometimes, if you want some good wine to go with the perfect meal, you'll need to bring your own bottle. Enter CorkageFee (Android, iOS), an app that allows you to look up nearby BYOB-friendly restaurants and their corkage fees, as well as user-submitted reviews about each restaurant's wine experience. In addition to the map or text search for restaurants, you can look up nearby wineries and wine stores.
Wine Events (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're looking out for wine tastings and other events geared toward oenophiles, check out the Wine Events app (Android, iOS), powered by LocalWineEvents.com and The Juice. Users can find wine and food events nearby or in other cities, as well as wine-and-food getaways and trips. You can filter events by location or check out upcoming events for the weekend. You can also find ticket discounts, as well as easily add events to your calendar or share details through email or social media.
Winery Passport (Android, iOS: Free)
Winery Passport is designed to help you discover local wineries and set up tasting visits, with the app "stamping" a passport to help you record your visit, with photos, ratings, and tasting notes for the wines you tried out. In addition to helping discover local wineries, you can book tastings, buy wines, and join a winery's wine club, as well as learn about upcoming wine events in your area. Users can search for wineries by state, region, name, and more, with entries across the US and Canada.