There are so many different wines out there, and while it’s nice to have options, it can make shopping for a bottle a little intimidating — even if you have some idea of what you’re shopping for. Having a local wine store with knowledgeable and honest employees certainly helps, but not everyone has access to educated professionals. Fortunately, there are tons of wine apps out there that are packed full of information and reviews to help you find the perfect bottle for any occasion. And to help you make the most of them, we’ve rounded up the best wine apps out there at the moment, below.
I’m still getting my sea legs when it comes to picking out wine, and the local package store tends to make my eyes cross. Armed with these excellent and (mostly) free wine apps, I have become a more confident wine buyer, finding better wine that’s in my wheelhouse and discovering new varietals. And since most of these apps let you compare wine prices both from online and local vendors, you’ll never overpay for a bottle again.
These are our three favorite wine apps for 2022.
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Screenshot by David Watsky/CNET
Why we like it: The most crowdsourced reviews and ratings along with tons of information in a user-friendly app. Plus, it lets you order wine for delivery.
I will never walk into a wine store without this app, and you shouldn’t either. There are a number of apps that let you scan a wine label to get information about the wine, but we found the Vivino app provides the most useful information. It also has more users than any other app (the website says more than 61 million), so you’re getting extremely valuable crowdsourced ratings and reviews, even on some pretty obscure bottles.
After you take a photo of a label, it gives you an average rating and price so you know if you are holding a good wine at a good price. You can also scan the text of a wine list should you find yourself clueless in a restaurant. In addition to rating and price, Vivino provides notes about the type of grape used in the wine, info about the winery that made the wine and a variety of additional rankings for that wine within its winery, region, country and world.
You can read reviews from other Vivino users and add your own, but what I find fun and interesting are the winemaker’s notes (as in, “hints of toffee, cherry, fig, chocolate”), vintage comparison (how it stacks up to other years’ wines), and food pairing suggestions (beef, lamb, spicy food). The wines you scan are saved to a My Wines list and will eventually build a taste profile, and the app will recommend other wines that fit your profile. You can also build a feed, where you can follow friends who use the app as well as wine enthusiasts and pros. It also recognizes the labels for beer and spirits but with less success than wine labels.
And since I last looked at the app, Vivino has added the ability to buy wine through the app or web platform and have it delivered to your door. Shipping generally costs between $12 and $15 per order but is free if you spend a certain amount. The free shipping benchmark varies based on the seller but is typically around $160.
Screenshot by David Watsky/CNET
Why we like it: No account sign-up required, and it’s skilled at scanning beer and spirits in addition to wine.
The free Wine-Searcher app lets you get to scanning right away. Some apps force you to pay for scanning privileges and most require you to create an account. With Wine-Searcher, you get free and immediate scanning capabilities. It shows you the average price for the bottle you scanned along with information about the grape, region and food suggestions.
It also shows you critic scores and will list any prizes the wine has won, but you’ll need to pay $8.99 a month via an in-app purchase for the Pro-level app if you want to scan more than 50 labels and get more critics notes and prices from more than just sponsored merchants. It also recognizes beer and spirits labels and was better at recognizing spirits than Vivino.
One of my favorite features is that this app directs you to both online sellers and local brick-and-mortar merchants that carry the wine you’re looking at and allows you to easily compare prices before you buy.
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET
Why we like it: Wine Spectator is the Bible of wine ratings. If I ever begin to amass a wine cellar’s worth of wine, the WineRatings Plus app from Wine Spectator magazine will prove useful. Signing up for the monthly subscription ($2.99, £2.29, AU$3.79) gets you Wine Spectator’s ratings and reviews, useful how-to articles and videos, as well as interesting vintage charts and a feed of wine-related news articles
I like perusing the vintage charts to see if the bottle I’m considering buying is from a good year for that particular region and grape. Since I’m a wine novice, I found a number of the how-to articles and videos to be illuminating, particularly those on how to pair wine and food.
Wine Spectator WineRatings Plus is available for iOS.
Editors’ note: This story was originally published on Feb. 9, 2015 and has been updated with new apps and information.