Most of us who are into wine tasting, wine collecting or wine travel will have moved away from writing our tasting notes and tried a variety of apps for our iPhones or iPads to record and remember a specific wine. They all come in different “guises and sizes”, some to monitor your cellar/collection, some to search a massive database on the web to highlight prices and what others think, some to record your own tasting notes. A few try to do all three but in my opinion they fail because of over-complexity. I believe it is better to have 3 different apps, the best in each category, to do the job.
For quite some time now I have failed miserably at recording my wine tasting when travelling and visiting vineyards and producers around the world, mostly because I get so engrossed in chatting to the winemaker and can’t focus on writing out some notes in a notebook or even on my iPhone. So, now I’m about to embark on my bucket list of Wines 101 visiting vineyards initially across Europe I just HAD to find an app that would do two things simply and conveniently:
- Store a wishlist of up to 100 wines, with details, that I didn’t own and hadn’t yet tasted.
- Record my thoughts on each wine as I tasted it, chatting to the winemaker, and where all I had to do was “tap” a word or number on a sliding scale without typing sentences etc.
The tapping without typing had to be via preset scales for general terms such as colour, aroma, taste, each broken down into the detail of dry-sweet, acidity, tannin, minerality, fruit, finish/complexity for example. A tall order!
I must admit I tried this app some time back when it was first created and gave bits of feedback about the scales and group tasting features to its developer Tony Jacobson. Tony is responsive, listens, adapts his app, and genuinely cares about providing the best product and best experience. At the time I was trying to find the all-singing-and-dancing wine app and I belatedly realised that this was never going to happen. So recently I went back to Winetracker.co and started to enter my Wines 101 wishlist into the app, prior to trotting off to Chablis and Alsace next month to meet with half a dozen producers at their vineyard. I even wrote to Tony, the app developer, again and got a couple of tweaks I needed. Surely this is the way to interact with app developers rather than writing negative reviews on the Apple App Store?
So how does Winetracker.co perform?
Once you have entered a wine to be tasted with a photo of the bottle or label, you can first select to use the “Touch Tags” to describe what you see, smell and taste without typing. Work your way through the tags guided by the sequence. Here’s a few screenshots as an example.
Next you score the wine against some obvious categories of aroma, taste, finish which then gives you an overall score of your wine. So, without actually typing anything you can focus on the major elements of wine tasting, assess and score each one, and still hold a conversation with the vineyard manager or owner. Later you can look back over your scores and type out a few additional notes if you want them. But the REAL beauty of this app is that it lets you concentrate on the wine itself and the people who you are with; taking notes is no longer a distraction. Maybe a few wine writing professionals should use it too so as to keep away from the Fruit Salad Bingo that predominates in too many wine notes and articles!