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Top drinks apps

A concise selection of drinks apps that really do deliver

As with the internet as a whole, there’s a minefield of products offering enthusiastic information about wine out there in the app store. The challenge comes in filtering through this bewildering array to work out which ones actually work, and more importantly, have something useful to offer.

With so many apps struggling to cater for wine lovers outside the US or cope with the hugely fragmented array of wine styles on the market, we bring you a concise selection that really do deliver. And we couldn’t resist adding one for cocktail fans…

1. For food matching: Hello Vino (free)

So many of these food matching apps are either far too generic or specific to the point where they become equally useless. Hello Vino manages to get the balance just right. What’s more, this app neatly balances its appeal, offering accessible advice for non-experts without patronising more engaged users.

For example, the search function allows you to find recommendations not just for Chardonnay, but also Meursault and there’s often a surprisingly detailed amount of information available on producer, appellation and vintages if you want it. Sommelier Elizabeth Schneider will even talk you through the wine via audio review.

Alternatively you can search by dish, or occasion, although recommending Pinot Noir as the perfect match for a football game seems to be stretching the wine pairing concept a touch too far. For a small fee, the app also offers access to its label recognition software. It also allows you to store reminders of the wines you loved or disliked for future reference.

Download Hello Vino for iPhone

2. For the drinks trade: WSTA Trade Diary (free)

New for the drinks industry in 2012 is an app version of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association diary. Listing dates and locations for all the UK’s main wine and spirits trade activities, from tastings, seminars, exam dates and awards ceremonies, the app allows users to add their own events, as well as synchronising the diary with their phone calendar.

Available on both Android and iPhone.

Download WSTA Trade Diary for iPhone

Download WSTA Trade Diary for Android

3. For all round consumer-friendly guidance: Wine Angel (£1.99)

From grape variety and wine terminology guides to regional maps, food matching tips, advice on how to taste wine, blog posts, videos and a personal record of your own tasting notes, this app created by UK-based Tracy Lee offers an approachable but useful one stop shop for anyone looking to explore the world of wine.

Download Wine Angel for iPhone

4. For fine wine: Berry Brothers & Rudd (free)

It’s no surprise to learn that this on-line savvy merchant has come up with an app that puts many more “modern” wine retailers to shame.

So much more than just a shop window, although you can buy through the app, this is also the place to come for information on a huge variety of regions, producers, vintages and prices in various currencies. Link through to the Berry’s Virtual Wine School for advice on tasting technique, food matches and how to serve wine.

Download BB&R App for iPhone

5. For cocktails: Mixology (free)

A free spirits app (although you can pay for the upgraded version) which manages to be comprehensive, easy to navigate and genuinely useful. The search function not only offers guidance on how to make an enormous range of cocktails, but also comes up with ideas to fit whatever ingredients you have in your drinks cabinet.

You can hunt for inspiration by category, mixer or specific brands, while the regularly refreshed top rated section, based on user ratings is useful for anyone looking to keep track of cocktail trends. As well as recipe suggestions, users can also access bartender tips, information on glassware, mixology kit and even video tutorials.

Despite being a US app, measures are available in both metric and imperial, while the directory of local retailers and bars in other locations was impressively thorough and specialist.

Download Mixology for iPhone


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