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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.

CellarTracker syncs everything on all devices, automatically and quickly, and — perhaps best of all, considering this lackluster field — it's a rock-solid stable app that never crashed on me once.

Snooth Wine Pro

You would think a service that's been around as long as Snooth (which launched way back in 2007) would have a more robust mobile app, but sadly that's not the case here.

To be fair, Snooth is mainly designed for searching for new wines to buy and tracking the wines you've already consumed. Managing your wine collection in between those two points is not the service's strong point.

The biggest problem with this app is that, by and large, it just doesn't work as advertised. Wines can theoretically be added to your database through two methods: by manually searching for a wine (which mostly works), or by adding a "note." Notes are designed for wines you've already consumed, so this is a little backwards, but it's the only way to add a wine to your cellar by using the camera.

Snooth Wine Pro's visual recognition engine is supposed to be its great selling point, and it's widely touted online: Just take a photo of a bottle of wine and the app will figure out what it is, prepopulating all the informational fields with the bottle's specifics.

Sadly, in my testing (using two different devices on countless bottles of wine), this system did not work at all, not once, not for a single wine. Making matters worse, the note-taking system would not save wines I entered through it at all, even after adding the relevant information by hand. (An email to Snooth's support account asking for help went unanswered.)

Fortunately, the other wine-entry system — reachable by tapping "Search for a wine" on the main menu — works better, saves the information you input, and gives you (very) limited cellar management options. The app only tracks the number of bottles of each wine you have, and not their location. (Location information can, however, can be added on the Snooth website.) Most of your data syncs among multiple devices — albeit slowly — and with the website.

Even for its intended purposes, Snooth Pro just doesn't bring much to the table. For example, tapping the "stores" icon is meant to lead you to nearby wine shops. In my case, two of my neighbors' homes, both of whom operate small wineries, were suggested destinations.

Given Snooth's functionality limitations, poor programming, and overall bad design (with issues like windows overlapping active data entry fields, as you can see in the screenshot), this is an app that seems to have promise, but which is in terrific need of a from-the-ground-up overhaul.

 

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