Everyone’s a critic. Or at least everyone can be a wine critic, with either of two smartphone apps that help you rate the wines you enjoy and share your recommendations with friends.
The apps, Vivino and Delectable, use the same model: You take a photo of a wine bottle (or upload one from your photo album), the app scans the label, and within a few seconds it gives you basic information about the wine. You then rate it — up to five stars on Vivino or 10 points with appropriate smiley faces on Delectable — and type in a personal tasting note. Both apps will let you post your photos and reviews on Facebook or Twitter, or keep them private as a personal tasting journal.
Earlier versions gave Vivino a clear edge in label recognition, but Delectable has greatly improved in speed and accuracy, so they are now essentially equal in this most important task. Each will occasionally get something wrong: confusing a winery’s chardonnay with its merlot, or the 2012 for the 2013, for example. Vivino allows you to correct that information with just a few taps of a finger. Delectable, however, does not accommodate manual changes, and it often requires you to enter the vintage in your comments.
Both apps will try to sell you the wine, to be shipped to your door. Vivino also tries to tell you what stores nearby sell wine, but this feature is unreliable. It insists, for example, that the Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market in Silver Spring carry more than 200 labels, though neither sells wine at all.
While both apps are easy to use, Vivino seems to attract casual wine drinkers who are looking to keep a simple wine log, while Delectable is favored by winemakers, sommeliers and avid collectors. (Vivino offers premium features at $5 a month aimed at serious wine nerds, such as point scores by critic Robert M. Parker Jr. and the ability to track wines in your collection.) If you want to know what winemakers Steve Matthiasson and Cathy Corison are drinking, sip vicariously with famed sommelier Rajat Parr, or learn which obscure Jura is lighting up the Manhattan wine bar scene, then Delectable is for you.
This being wine we’re talking about, there’s room for snobbery. The social media aspects of Vivino and Delectable reinforce the wine geek tendency to brag about the rare and expensive wines we’re drinking. As I write this, the “trending” feature on Delectable is a sommelier’s rave review of Pierre Peters Les Chétillons 2007 Champagne, listed at $133 per bottle.
Still, when I’m trying to remember the name of the wine with the blue label that I enjoyed last week, looking through a list on Vivino or Delectable is easier than tracking down a notebook or combing store shelves hoping for a flash of recognition. And more fun, too.
Dave McIntyre is the wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com.
For stories, features such as Date Lab, Gene Weingarten and more, visit WP Magazine.
Follow the Magazine on Twitter.
Like us on Facebook.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: Free for iOS and Android (premium version available) Ratings: Apple, (1,600 ratings);Google Play, (38,000 ratings)
Cost: Free for iOS
Ratings: Apple, (1,900 ratings)