Avid wine drinkers toast some great apps 

How we ever navigated the world without our smart phones is a mystery to anyone under the age of 20, such as my teenage daughter who can’t imagine how I survived high school without Instagram, Snapchat or WhatsApp. Horrified was the look on her face when I told her that when I wanted to talk to my friends and boyfriends, I had to do it on a phone that hung on our kitchen wall, and for privacy I had to stretch the curly cord around the corner and whisper. Music downloading? Records and cassette tapes, baby girl. Her mind? Blown.

According to a mobile statistics website, there were nearly 100 million app downloads in 2013, with the trend steadily rising. But regardless of our occasional yearning for the good old days, apps and instant info at our fingertips is the way of the modern world and is here to stay.

For those of us familiar with and new to the digital world, apps can be extremely helpful, especially when it comes to our favorite pastimes — wine tasting, drinking and purchasing. From finding the best deals at tasting rooms in Napa to knowing which bottle to serve with your pepperoni pizza (zinfandel), there’s an app that will hold your hand every sip of the way. Best of all, they’re free.

And for our teenagers who, like mine, roll their eyes when we post our wine picks to Instagram or Shazam our favorite old-time tunes, I can only hope there will soon be an app that makes them realize we are cooler than they think we are. Here are a few wine-themed apps to try out:

Vivino Wine Scanner

This is the favorite among the wino-techies I polled for myriad reasons, from checking to see how much restaurants are over charging, to finding out prices at nearby stores, to browsing the ratings and reviews of over 4 million other Vivino users. There is a photo feature that lets you snap a picture of the wine label and find its pertinent information (price, rating, sales points).

Winery Finder

For those in my polling group who love to head up to the Napa and Sonoma wine countries on a regular basis, this app was the bomb for one simple reason — money savings at nearly 140 wineries. From finding free wine tasting rooms to 2-for-1 deals and other discounts, Winery Finder saves time and cash, which can be spent on more important things.


Recommended by the Today Show and USA Today, this app also stood toe-to-toe with Vivino among my wino-techie pals. For ease of shopping, search Drync’s 30,000-bottle wine cellar and have your favorite delivered to your door with the click of a keypad. If they don’t have your most recent find, a Drync representative can likely track it down for you.

Hello Vino

If it’s important to know which wine pairs best with the food on your plate, or you need help picking a wine for an occasion, then this is the match-maker of all apps. Store your favorites and access them next time you are stumped when asked what you’d like with you’re your pasta carbonara (pinot grigio) and boeuf bourguignon (pinot noir), or you need to BYOB to a Fourth of July barbecue (merlot with your burger).

Pair Savvy

For some, wine and cheese go together like drunk and disorderly, and this app from the California Milk Advisory Board lets you pick your favorite California cheese, then find a suitable drinkable partner in creamery crime.

The Wine Coach

This is the official app of Laurie Forster, a sommelier, speaker and one of the country’s top wine experts. For amateur winos, I love the grape guide feature of this app, but I do wish it included some lesser-known varieties that are becoming extremely popular such as malbec, viognier and tempranillo, which are not referenced. This app also has informative cooking videos and a podcast of her weekly radio show, “The Sipping Point,” which offers tips on anything from food pairing to wines of Austria. Forster also includes personal picks, and there’s a photo option that lets you snap and send an image to Forster with your questions.

Kimberley Lovato has been writing about travel, food and drink for the last 20 years and has never met a happy hour she didn’t like. She writes at www.kimberleylovato.com.

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