If you’re a wine buff, then Vivino is worth checking out. By using your phone’s camera to take a picture of the label, the app matches it against a database of known wines. Once a match is made, you not only get the name and year, but vintage notes and other interesting information if it’s available.
The caveat here is that the app and site are both relatively new, and while the wine database is always growing as more people use it, it can be a bit slow at times to match. The app claims that, if it’s not in the database, a real person will find and input the information, which is great but it also means that, for me at least, it usually took more than the advertised 24 hours to match a new wine. This isn’t a big deal if you’re just taking pictures to archive what you had and make a few notes about if you liked it or not, but for someone who wants to use it for more robust tracking or comparing purposes, this might be a problem.
What’s nice though, is that because it grows as users submit new wines, is that the process of waiting for something to be identified will be dramatically reduced over time. I did find that, occasionally, it tried to pair my wine with the wrong information, but it was very easy to go in and say “no”, it wasn’t that particular wine. I usually found that this happened when the brand was in the database, but not that particular wine type, such as the app trying to call a Merlot a Chardonnay, because they are both from the same vineyard, and the Merlot is in the database, but the Chardonnay isn’t, yet. I just submitted it as a new wine, and the problem was fixed.
I also like that you can sign on to the website with the same account information, and there you can see the wines you’ve submitted, make notes, share on Facebook, and even see what friends are drinking. There are some nice social features on the site that are worth checking out if you like wines. They recently added badges, giving the process yet another social aspect to keep an eye on.
If you like wine, and want an easy way to track what you’ve tried and what you thought about it, this is a very useful app. It keeps everything in one place, and the account syncing with the website which means if you lose your phone, or change phones, all your information won’t be lost.
The app is very easy to use, to find a wine, just take a picture of the label. It will attempt to match the label with that of a known wine, and if you don’t see it in the list, you can submit it to be added to the database. When the information is available, you’ll get a notification.
The interface was very simple and easy to use, and since it was first released, there have been several tweaks and upgrades to try and keep improving it. It’s still fairly simple, especially compared to all the more robust tools available online, but it is evolving and is in active development, so it’s something that will continue to change over time.
If you, like me, live in an area where there are a lot of vineyards that do regular wine tasting events, this is an invaluable tool to keep track of what you’ve tried, and what you liked, so you can go back later and stock up. However, if you’re only having the occasional glass of wine, and you don’t care if you can ever find it again, this might not be something you’ll use all that often.
I would say if you’re a wine person, then yes, give this app a try. It’s still in it’s early stages, relatively speaking, so it’s even worth giving it another look if you’ve tried it in the past and decided to uninstall. This is one I’m watching, because I think it has the potential to be the go-to app for any wine lover out there.