I've had this wine app on my iPhone ( for quite some time now. I think it's the first one I downloaded because of my interest in wine. But it wasn't until recently that I actually started really using it (and even then, there are so many features I've yet to try).
Natalie Maclean references her app as a suite of ten wine apps rolled into one. Like having a personal sommelier in your pocket. And you know what? It totally is.
- get pairings for particular dishes
- get dishes for particular wines (and the recipe)
- read reviews about the wines
- list and access to wineries around the world
- a glossary about just about everything wine
- even a virtual cellar to keep track of your wines
My first interaction with the app did not get me too excited. I found it a bit confusing to navigate between each area. But after downloading the most recent upgrade, all those challenges vanished. Where I really put it to the test though, was during a drive to Montreal for meetings. I had my wine tasting exam on the following Monday and spent the entire two hours getting my co-worker to list food dishes so that I could tell him which wine to pair it with, and vice versa. I also got him to read all the qualities that specific grapes have, as well as why they pair so well with particular foods. It was brilliant! I learned so much in that two hours. (thanks so much Scott!!) And so did he! The first thing he did when he got home was download the app for his iPad.
This woman, who tastes more than 10,000 wines a year, is totally casual in her approach. The majority of the wines she recommends are more than affordable. I even went to her top picks to look for a port for my dad's 60th.
Now, there's one thing I was a bit frustrated with – at first. This app is free, but there's a paid portion that you can go to to get even more information, more pairings, more details about the wines, the most recent reviews of current LCBO stock, and the ability to create a shopping list for yourself when in a particular LCBO (all the things you'd think the LCBO would have in their app but don't). Everything is free nowadays, so it seemed weird to me to have to pay for these additional features. But you know what? You get what you pay for, and from the reviews I've read, the level of detail in the information provided and the ease of use, it's worth every single penny ($25 for the year). Not only that, I kind of feel like I'm supporting something that's, well, totally awesome. Natalie has really done things right and made the user experience one to remember. The more I interact with her virtually, the more I just want to have a drink with her!