Do Handheld Scanners Really Work?

Scan wine labels with Vivino

Vivino is a bit different; it only recognizes wine labels. That’s not as easy as it sounds; wine labels use unusual fonts and unusual words, there’s often a complicated design around the name of the wine itself, they’re on a curved surface, the vintage matters but that’s usually in small type. Vivino uses image recognition to try and extract the name of the wine, the winery it comes from and the vintage from a photo you snap in the Vivino app (on your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone) to match it to a database of 500,000 wines. Impressively, it does it in about 20 seconds.

Snap a photo and Vivino recognizes the text on the label and names the wine.

Vivino doesn’t always get it right; the creators of the app expect to recognize about a third of wines people photograph and that’s what it did with a mix of bottles from various Californian wineries (both well-known and obscure). If it gets the wine wrong you can correct it; twice Vivino got the winery right but suggested the wrong wine and we were able to pick the correct wine from a list that included the full range of bottles from that winery.

Vivino got the winery, didn’t recognize the italic text of the wine name but has it in the database to choose.

If it doesn’t recognize it at all, an actual human at Vivino will look up the wine and add it to the database, with your photo.

Mostly the idea is to help you remember that great wine you had at dinner (or stop you buying the awful one again); you can like wines or give them star ratings), and there’s Facebook and Twitter integration so you can share tips on your social network as well as with other Vivino users. It’s a little specialized but if you like wine, you’ll love it.

Mary Branscombe is an experienced freelance journalist, editor and author, who has been writing for more than three decades. Her work has appeared in The Financial Times, The Guardian, Tom's Guide, and many more. She has also written several novels — including the Cassidy At Large technomysteries — and two IT guides alongside her writing partner, Simon Bisson.

  • blackmagnum
    They work... but not well.
  • Instead if trying to use weird apps that gives you crappy results you can use document scanning services like Kirtas at or .

  • CTRL + F ... click "Replace".
    Find "EverNote"
    Replace with "Evernote"
    THEN submit article. Even your screenshots show the application - which clearly says "Evernote".
  • The company and product names are "Evernote" not "EverNote"
  • Patrick Benesch
    A new app that creates high quality scans is Scandock