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Pocket vino: We review 5 apps for managing your wine cellar

Christopher Null | March 6, 2015
We've come a long way since the era of the cellar book, when wine bottles had to be logged by hand in paperbound tomes and tracked by little tags hanging from their necks. The wine world is actively embracing technology, and home enthusiasts can get in on the action as well, using mobile apps to help keep their stash tabulated and organized.

We've come a long way since the era of the cellar book, when wine bottles had to be logged by hand in paperbound tomes and tracked by little tags hanging from their necks. The wine world is actively embracing technology, and home enthusiasts can get in on the action as well, using mobile apps to help keep their stash tabulated and organized.

Numerous wine cellar management apps are now available, but this is a market that's still emerging and in flux. Growing pains abound, and many of these apps are still finding their feet. In fact, some of the veterans in this space have yet to build a reliable, worthwhile app for what ought to be a pretty simple task.

Which app should you trust with managing some of your most prized possessions? We put five of the most noteworthy wine cellar management apps to the test to separate the gems from the plonk.

Cellar

With the simplistically named Cellar, you know what you're getting right from the start. This extremely basic app is free to download, but it's a 60-day trial. After that, you must pay $10 per month or $100 per year to continue using the app.

The app honestly could not be simpler to use, as all it does is track basic inventory information. Tap the + icon to add a bottle and type in the name of the producer (Cellar offers some suggested wine names as you type, but it's knowledgebase is deathly shallow.)

Afterwards, you are required to add a wine name (whether it has one or not), so you'll need to get used to tapping out "Cabernet Sauvignon" on your tablet or phone. Add a vintage and you're finished with the basics. You can then add information to a few additional, optional fields — but the one that matters most, the price of the wine, isn't an option here. There's not even room for notes, ratings, or much of anything else.

When you've added your wines and indicated how many bottles you own of each one... well, you're done. Cellar doesn't manage racks, bins, or handle any other location information, although a timeline feature does at least let you see when you added wines and when you removed them.

Cellar is easy to use, and anyone with a basic grasp of iOS should have no trouble adding information to the system. That said, it's a slow slog with almost no automation, and when you're done, the data isn't very useful. Frustratingly, the app doesn't even automatically capitalize each word in a winery's name as you type it, slowing you down during data entry considerably. However, the app does at least sync automatically and quickly among multiple devices.

 

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