About the only thing in life that I love more than wine is my iPhone. For those of you who are similarly gadget-obsessed, there are now 100-plus iPhone apps serving up everything from wine education to straight-up silliness (why is there an app that does nothing besides display a glass of wine, for example?) But for all of you iPhone holdouts, the lure of having mobile wine reviews, cellar tracking and pairing suggestions just might bring you over to the dark side. Here are seven iPhone wine apps that are worth a swirl:
1. Wine Enthusiast ($4.99): Brought to you by the people behind Wine Enthusiast magazine, the best thing about this app is the fact that it's loaded with professional wine reviews. Although I'm no slave to highly-rated wines, if you're thinking of scooping up a wine you've never heard of or tasted, having some info to guide your decision is pretty darned helpful. In the mood for a dry Austrian riesling from the Pfalz region, but you've only got $20 bucks to spend? Use the app's excellent search feature to find an editor's top pick.
2. Entaste Food & Wine Pairing ($1.99): This app is all about one thing: food and wine pairing. You can search for pairings based on the dish you're eating or the wine you're drinking (they've got about 100 different types loaded), which is particularly handy if there's a bottle of Barbaresco you've been dying to open, but aren't sure what to serve with it. Don't sleep on the dessert wine pairing recommendations, which are spot on.
3. Wine Snob ($2.99): This app lets you search for a wine you're drinking and captures your own personal rating (using pre-defined standard wine descriptors), while simultaneously pinpointing the exact coordinates of that dimly lit wine bar you were sitting in with its built-in GPS feature. Sommelier-developed content ensures the varietal details and industry terms are spot-on. Bonus cool factor: Share your insightful reviews with all your friends real-time via Facebook or Twitter!
4. NatDecants (Free): Internationally renowned wine writer Natalie MacLean has turned her popular "Nat Decants" newsletter into the number one iPhone wine app by adding an extensive library of her reviews, pairing recommendations, a virtual cellar tracker and as if that wasn't enough, a fully searchable recipe database. Only caveat: I still can't seem to figure out how this is a free app.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
5. UnCork'd ($.99): While this app emphasizes its ability to allow you to rate and track up to 100 bottles in your virtual cellar, its best feature is the randomly selected wine-related YouTube video clips from everyone like wine personality Gary Vaynerchuk to Wine Spectator magazine editors. Also cool: the ability to upload wine label photos you've snapped and a built-in GPS locator for when you need to find a bottle of bubbly no matter where you are.
6. Wine.com (Free): The palm-sized version of the Internet site allows you to place that urgent wine order the next time you're waiting in line at the DMV. Love, love, love the feature, which finds wines that are rated 90+ and cost less than $20 with a single tap. You can also keep track of your order history with notes to remind you of which wines rocked vs. sucked.
7. VelvetVine Lite (Free): If you're hopelessly addicted to social media, this app's for you. Imagine participating in an interactive dialogue with tens of thousands of wine lovers just like you, exchanging personal wine experiences with other members of the global VelvetVine community (although beware, that nifty "global" thing also means that those users' reviews and journals are likely to be penned in a foreign tongue, a minor issue if you are not multi-lingual). Be sure to check out the app's Tip Categories, offering kernels of wine wisdom like classic serving guidelines and how to avoid a wine hangover.