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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.

VinoCellar

Widely considered the Cadillac of wine cellar apps, VinoCellar is an exhaustive and often exhausting system for managing everything there is to possibly manage about your wines.

Developed by a French company, there's a considerable learning curve — and some translational challenges — in just getting started with VinoCellar. Wines can be input manually or through keyword search. Using the search system is definitely the way to go, as even marginal pre-population of the dozen-plus information fields allotted to each wine is a huge time saver.

The database isn't nearly complete, with entries skewed toward Old World bottlings, but it's one of the better ones on the market. You'll just want to be careful, as some of the information in the VinoCellar database is quite garbled, such as a baffling listing for a wine by the name of "Oriel Wines $35."

Once you've created your wine list, it's time to slot the bottles into cellar position. The cellar and rack setup system is surprisingly more complex and quite difficult to work with than creating the wine list. First you must actually set up a visual representation of your cellar, which is initially tricky because the iconography of the app is garbled. For example, you can decide how to number your columns and rows, but the option for setting the legend on columns confusingly shows a picture of the rows, and vice versa. Then, once you've configured the cellar, it's time to slot your wines into their positions.

First, each bottle has to be dropped into a rack, then into a position on that rack on a second screen. This is a tedious process that involves double-tapping an unplaced bottle then double-tapping a spot on the rack. Mess up with a single-tap and you have to start all over.

VinoCellar syncs between various iOS devices (and your cellar can be viewed on the ViniApps website), but sync isn't automatic and must be manually pushed periodically. That said, the app is considerably tougher to interact with on the iPhone vs. the iPad and is more prone to crashing in its smaller version. (Quitting the app completely tends to help, especially with the buggy sync operation.)

VinoCellar's extreme depth of detail — you can specify everything about your bottle, right down to the color of the foil capsule covering the cork and the pH level of the wine inside — makes it the app of choice for extreme cork dorks. More casual collectors may want something simpler and easier to use.

Vinoteka Classic

Vinoteka is developed by a Czech company and is available in three flavors: Classic, reviewed here, is the most full featured. There's also a free version that lets you only keep 10 wine notes (called "references" in this app). And there's a Lite version in development.

 

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