iPhone Wine App Review – Hospice du Rhone Event app

Today the Hospice du Rhone team launched a very cool iPhone app for its upcoming,  globally attended wine event in Paso Robles, April 29th – to May 1st.

Apps for wine events seem to be coming into vogue, and less expensive to do. Last month Sonoma County launched its iVisit Sonoma County App, which had a feature on the Northern Sonoma Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting.

I am a bit of a closet geek, after many years as an Exec in the Tech sector, before geek was chic. I buy lots of tech toys and gadgets, and won’t give up my iPhone, despite lack of a keyboard, because of my 8 pages of apps, one for Wine apps alone. Fortunately I like wine more than being a geek, so this Wine blog, not a gadget blog!

I have played with a lot of regular apps, travel apps, and wine apps, and use most 1-2x and toss them. Obviously an app for an event maybe one you just use for that event (although I intend to use this after) so it really needs to be useful.

This is a very cool, useful app with 5 sections. I will do a walk thru of each.

Producer:

This is a well organized sub-app that sorts all the Producers pouring. Its familiar as it functions like Contacts on an iPhone, with the Same A-Z quick find on the right.

Clicking a Producer shows their address website, email address, and most importantly what the winery is pouring, at the Friday and Saturday events.  e.g If I click on Denner Vineyards, I see Friday they are pouring their 2009 Viognier, 2008 Ditch Digger, and 2005 (!) Grenache, and then what they are pouring at the Saturday Grand Tasting. (5 Wines…just reviewing this app is making my mouth water…!)

Well done, very useful, my only suggestion would be to add a  search section at the top, as the iPhone contacts does.

Variety

Next on the sub app is a list of Wineries by Varietal, in Alphabetical order.

Looking for Cinsault, a Rhone red, and you can see only 4 wineries are pouring.  I see Frick is one of the four, I can then click on Frick and see what else they are pouring, which day.
This app is great. My only suggestion: It’s a very long list; I’d recommend putting a alphabetical sort key on right like the Producer, and/or a search tool, for quicker navigation.

Region

Not really appellation sorting, more geography clusters. Arizona stands by itself with one Winery, Dos Cabezas. Clicking on that brings up the same data as the others sub apps do; a handy list of what the winery is pouring, which day.

Regions consist of: AZ, Australia, CA-Central, (the largest), CA-Northern (wineries like Arnot-Roberts a few miles from me never been to!, CA-Southern (2 entries), France, OR (one entry), South Africa (wow – 7), Spain, and WA state.

Fun Stuff

  • HdR2010 Twitter Feed: (In case you don’t know how to make a # tag list in Tweetdeck.) Don’t plan on Me tweeting 20x a hour like some wine event attendees; with so many Rhone wines, and so few days, my hands will be on a glass, not an iPhone!
  • Rhone Grape Variety Quiz: Fun quiz where you try and match a picture of a grape with what it is. Enthusiast mode offers flavor profile descriptors to help, Expert mode just a picture of the varietal. (Good luck on that one.)
  • Hospice du Rhone trivia quiz: Match up artwork from previous HdR to the Year it was held.

Fun sub apps, would be nice if they offered up the answers at the end.

Settings Tab

A great way to make the app more focused; if say for the next hour you just want to focus on certain varietals, or the ‘regions.’ You can click on each varietal and region to have it excluded/included from your search. You can also chose whether to show just the Fri or the Sat tasting. It also shows totals for each varietal, and Region.

This is where you also setup your Twitter account. Twitter Integration with this app is excellent. When you click on a Winery, there is a red ‘t’ icon, and you can see the Twitter feed for that winery, and Tweet to it. You can also view the main #HdR2010 Twitter feed, and Post to it.

Summary

A GREAT app, that in my opinion sets the bar for Wine events, and jumps passed the rest. It’s fast, functions very well in off line mode (use it on the plane to plan your tasting!) easy to navigate, and useful for quickly looking up data I want for the event.

This will be much more useful, that flipping through a paper guide 25x a day. I may even have to get one of those around your neck wine glass holders I chuckle at so I can keep my hands free when using the app!
Kudos Team HdR2010 – Well Done!

p.s. Don’t forget your chances to win free Grand Tasting Tickets, a $100 Value, first drawing this Wed night!



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