App Review: Pocket Wine

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PocketWine1In this week’s app review, I’m taking a closer look at Pocket Wine, an app that, in the words of the developer, “unlocks the complex world of wine” and “enables you to easily navigate, explore and gain a clear understanding of all the major grape varieties and blends”. Pocket Wine’s main features are a wine Style guide, a listing of Grape varieties, a Food section that allows you to find a suitable wine match for whatever you’re looking at making for din-din, and My Taste (a taste profile feature that’s seriously fun).

The design is warm and inviting. The text pops out well, and the icons are distinguishable and memorable, so they’re doing their job. The navigation is traditionally iOS’sy and as such intuitive for anyone familiar with the platform.

The Style feature is a great access point into finding wines that suit my style (or what I think is my style – more on this below), and going into reading about a wine variety that I find interesting opens up so much information about everything from the variety’s origins, regions where it can be found, potential food pairings, and even a place to put my notes. The one thing that could open it up even more is a link from a proposed food pairing back to that food’s page in the Food section, so that maybe if I don’t like, say, Pinot Grigio with that fish, I can go to the fish’s Goof section page and find other potential wine matches.

The Grapes feature is a more direct link to what I just talked about above, and its inclusion on the menu is a great choice on the part of the developer as its an oft-needed reference not only for beginners but for more seasoned wine lovers wanting to venture into that more unfamiliar territory manned by the Arintos and Assyrtikos of the vine world.

PocketWine2My Taste, a feature that allows you to create a taste profile, is interesting and fun especially when comparing with friends while sharing a bottle and a few laughs. But more than that, it’s truthful. It doesn’t give you a Facebook game-like result of “You are a Cab Man!” but instead sliding-scale results for how you could potentially like multiple wine styles. And you know what? It was pretty spot on with my tastes – I do like smooth reds even if I’ve got a thing for powerhouse Cabs on occasion. What this feature may be missing is a direct link out of My Taste to a wine style. When I saw 80% compatibility to Smooth, I tapped on “Smooth” but nothing happened. Having said that, it’s not a long jaunt back to the Style view, but in this world of multiple access points, that direct access is something that would be a nice-to-have feature.

Pocket Wine is designed for both the iPad and iPhone, which – although almost being a must for most apps these days – is convenient as I like to have this kind of information with me on the go on my iPhone, but when settling down for some lengthier reading on grape varieties or that food-wine match for this Saturday’s dinner, the iPad is easier on the eyes.

All in all, this is a great wine app for both newbies and as a reference tool for veteran wine geeks, and definitely a step up from the various competing free apps that are out there.  It’s available on the US App Store at Pocket Wine – USA and on the Canadian App Store at Pocket Wine – Canada.

Rating: 4 stars