Here are the 4 Best Free Wine Apps for Tasting Notes in 2022.
This is an updated post about the 3 Best Wine Apps for Tasting Notes 2021. You can read the previous review here.
In this post, I include a new app, Preferabli which has just arrived on the scene. This post also contains the original 3 of Vivino, Delectable and Cellar Tracker.
Thanks to all of the many people who left comments in the last review! They helped to provide content for this updated post.
The 4 Best Free Wine Apps for Tasting Notes in 2022
Wine apps are designed to make it easier for the consumer to purchase wine. Wine that they know they’ll love. But apps have their specific niches. Here SommWine shares what each app specializes in and the pros and cons of each one.
Cost: Free iphone and Android, free
Vivino in a nutshell
- best interface design for beauty and usability making it the best free wine apps for tasting notes overall
- wines rated out of 5 points. Decimals used so numbers such as 3.7 or 4.2 seen frequently.
- has social component where you can follow other users’ tasting notes
- most popular app out there with 50 million users
Best Free Wine App Overall!
- (new!) weekly updated ‘top wines’ now sits across the top bar of the homepage with wine recommendations in the price range you want to view
- you can follow and read other people’s tasting notes
- image detection- scans with a photo and because there’s such a huge database, recognition features work really well.
- best interface and design – by far
- even photos of wine bottles are all professional shots
- constantly improving
- you can order wine straight through the app
- now has educated staff writing tasting notes as well
- access to reads about wineries, their heritage and regions
- this app almost does everything making it one of the best free wine apps for tasting notes
- it’s not able to keep track of the wines in your cellar
- food pairing section is brutally simplistic and not useful at all
- can’t ‘hide’ your posts and keep them private. Anyone who wants to follow you can see your wine notes
- doesn’t do a great job recommending new wines; it only recommends other producers of the same wines you’ve been drinking
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Vivino has a lot going for it: beautiful design, great wine entries...
Vivino was the first app to have photo recognition; you can take a photo of a label and Vivino will scan it and show you tasting notes of that wine.
Vivino was designed to help normal people write tasting notes.
Yet, when the app first came out, I felt that it wasn’t great for true wine professionals as the notes were not useful to understand the style of wine inside the bottle. Since then, they’ve added professional wine tasting notes to compliment the notes from their users.
Vivino is Still Ahead in the Game
Today, Vivino is still on top. Over the years, it has vastly developed their platform and the interface is beautiful. I mean, it’s super foofy.
Vivino has managed to stay true to their niche of being an everyman’s app while at the same time becoming more inclusive to wine folk like me.
By that I mean, it includes many wine descriptions that also make sense to trained palates.
For regular wine consumers, the app avoids terms such as rs (short for residual sugar) in g/l (short for grams per litre) or tartaric acid amounts.
Instead, Vivino uses simple language that’s easy to understand. This app is effective in its delivery – meaning all consumers should understand what style of wine is in the bottle at hand.
Vivino's visual way to describe a wine...
For in order for wine description to be useful, it must contain both 1) the aromas and flavours and 2) the structure of the wine (whether the wine is dry, off-dry or sweet, the acidity level, tannin level, body, and alcohol level of the wine).
To this point, Vivino represents wine structure in a visually splendid way. See how they’ve presented the structure of the wine (pictured on the right).
You can also see collections of thousands of reviews on each wine that are camped together in ‘winespeak’ groupings. This is why Vivino is one of the best free wine apps for tasting notes out there.
So under the wine you’ll see, ‘What people talk about‘. Here they have ‘1478 mentions of blackberry, plum, dark fruit’, ‘1000 mentions of oak, vanilla and tobacco’ and ‘498 mentions of leather, smoke and earthy’ to describe the wine.
In fact, the only graph I don’t find useful is the ‘This wine is in the top ___% of wines in the world.’ I don’t know what the point of that is. For me, the purpose of exploring wine is to adventure to unknown regions or varieties. It’s not to confirm that I’m drinking the same wines as everybody else.
Dull point and that’s just me being picky.
What's new with Vivino
There is only one small new feature in Vivino since my last review. That’s fine because there isn’t much it has to improve on.
At the top of the home page, it gives me a ‘Top Charts in Canada’ which is updated weekly. A floating bar of $$, $$$, $$$$ allows you to click on the price range of the week’s best wines you want to view.
Nice touch, Vivino!
Vivino Images are what makes it the Best Free Wine App for Tasting Notes
There are just 3 feedback points I’d like to share with the developers.
First, there is a 510 letter limit for tasting notes. A few of my verbose wine aficionado friends didn’t like that. But truthfully, it’s enough for me.
Second, Vivino is only useful for wines that you are opening right now. Namely, you can’t keep track of what’s in your cellar and when to drink it. That job is for Cellar Tracker (see below).
Furthermore, the food pairing section is simplistic. If you want wines to go with beef, here they are. If you want wines to go with chicken, here they are. There’s no mention of different sauces, rubs, marinades or what the cooking method used is.
As a certified wine pairing guru, it’s the sauces and cooking method that determines the wine pairing over what protein is. Saying that red wine goes with beef is not enough.
However, given how far Vivino has come since I first rated the app, I feel it’s likely that the app will develop the food and wine pairing section as time goes on.
Cost: Both iphone and Android, free
Delectable in a nutshell
- wines rated out of 10 points. Decimals used so numbers such as 9.6 or 8.8 seen frequently.
- has a social component where you can follow what others are drinking
- blogs in the ‘Featured’ section are the best. This makes Delectable one of the best free apps for tasting notes
- tasting notes in the ‘Featured’ section under ‘Tasting Notes: Weekly Roundup’ are the most useful
- interface is easy to use and pleasant on the eye
- meant for more serious wine drinkers, wine influencers and people in the trade
Most Improved Since Last Review, Great Wine Writing!
- it’s free
- (new!) Delectable has made the most improvements over the last year and seems to be headed back to being the best app for wine professionals – let’s see how this goes
- it’s a fairly simple design which makes it easy to use; you can find what you are looking for easily
- you can order wine through the site which is what pays for the app
- the ‘Featured’ section has some really good reads both by paid writers (see more below) and the ‘Tasting Notes: Weekly Roundup’ where staff pick their favourite consumer tasting notes and photos from the week
- users have access to a couple of weekly posts from wine magazine Vinous (although the link doesn’t always work)
- (new!) the app will find your followers on Twitter and connect you with them
- not able to keep track of your cellar
- Delectable came onto the scene way ahead of Vivino, but then lagged behind. But… since my last review, improvements have been made!
- not a great app if the cost of the wine is important to you. However, it looks as though they are working to implement this feature (notice the ‘check price’ in pink letters at the bottom of the wine description – it doesn’t work yet, but I’m thinking this must be where Delectable is headed)
Users of Delectable originally could follow famous sommeliers which made it the best free wine apps for tasting notes...
When Delectable first entered the market with their app, I was ecstatic! Finally a wine app with reviews from professionals who know proper wine and tasting note structure.
The fact that users could follow the tasting notes written by famous sommeliers made it one of the best apps for tasting notes. It targeted the intermediate to experienced wine lover while overlapping its use towards new wine consumers.
[Here’s Your One-Stop Guide to Wine Courses where I review all of the major wine schools out there .]
My last review...
But the Delectable app should stand on its own; you shouldn’t have to purchase a subscription to Vinous to see useful descriptions of wines.
What's new and good since my last review of Delectable
Did Delectable read my last review?
I doubt it. But they seem to have heeded my advice anyhow.
And this is great; there are many new entries of really useful wine tasting notes by staff!
It seems Vinous now has many staff contributing great tasting notes. You can tell which ones are paid by the red circle and checkmark (see below). I haven’t figured out what the yellow circle with a crown means (see below). Perhaps these are the most experienced tasters?!
Some of the tasters have both symbols beside their names.
This symbol shows up besides the tasting notes of paid wine writers, I believe
I believe this symbol shows up beside the most experienced wine aficionados, but I’m not sure.
Do you know what the yellow and white crown symbol means in Delectable?
Tell us in the comments below!
Somm Interesting Takeaways from Delectable that Make it One of the
Best Free Wine Apps for Tasting Notes
Last year, when there weren’t updated wine notes, my favourite part of the Delectable app was the ‘Featured’ section. This is the blog section of the app and it still makes it one of the best free wine apps for tasting notes.
The ‘Cocktail Series’ is refreshing (pun intended). These are quick reads about the history of a cocktail and its ingredients.
Once you click into an article, the interface is a bit bland, but the content is fabulous. Check it out!
I also highlighted one writer’s tasting notes in particular, those of Ellen Clifford. If you’d like to see some highlights from her writings, you can check out what I wrote in my last review here.
Ellen’s tasting notes are F.U.N. fun! From a marketing perspective, I’d say she is writing for Millennials although any generation can experience a wine journey through her notes.
And since last year, Ellen has moved on from just the Featured Section. You can access her library of wine notes by ‘Following’ her on the app. Ellen has both the red checkmark symbol and the yellow crown symbol beside her name.
Cost: Both iphone and Android, free
Cellar Tracker in a nutshell
- the only free app out there that keeps track of the bottles in your cellar and helps you identify their drinking windows which is why it is one of the best apps for writing tasting notes
- ability to view your collection as wine lists (super cool)
- has a social component that is slightly more developed than the other 3 apps
- links you to many online wine magazines which will pull in published wine scores
- option for you to link your other paid subscriptions to the app
Best (and only free) wine app for Keeping Track of the Bottles in Your Wine Cellar and allowing you to view them
- it’s free
- the only app that allows you to keep track of the bottles you drink from your cellar making this one of the best apps for writing tasting notes
- app can be viewed from your computer or your phone; the computer is useful for typing in your wines when they’re not recognized by the label photo
- lets you know the recommended drinking windows of each wine
- lets you view what’s in your cellar as a restaurant wine list!
- although ‘fans’ can see your tasting notes, only accepted ‘friends’ can communicate with you
- you can connect the app to any other magazines you subscribe to and see the scores given to the wines in your cellar (the Purple Pages, Decanter, Vinous, and many others)
- other magazines you can connect to for free. Some are already connected, others you just have to register for access
- the worst interface design possible
- the recommended drinking window part is difficult to understand
More on Cellar Tracker...
My review here risks sounding negative as this app frustrates me due to its ancient design. The fonts, the look, is all awkward.
However, this is the app that I use the most!
That’s because Cellar Tracker keeps track of wines in my cellar that are tucked away into boxes. I would have no idea where they were there if I hadn’t taken the time to input them in Cellar Tracker (work is still ongoing).
Another feature that makes Cellar Tracker one of the best free wine apps for tasting notes is that it allows you to view your wines as a restaurant wine list!
The wine menu begins with your Sparkling wines, then moves through your whites, then rosés and finally reds and then your dessert wines.
You also get to choose the ‘style’ of the menu. For example, if you want to select an old world wine, you can view your cellar under ‘Restaurant Style Wine List’ and select ‘Traditional (old-world appellations as headings).
Otherwise, you can view your wines ‘Grouped by Varietals’ or ‘Grouped by location and bin’ and many others.
After choosing a wine, you can then locate its hidden spot in your wine cellar.
This is truly the best feature of this app and of any app out there!
Images of your wines placed in a Restaurant Wine List in Cellar Tracker...
Slightly more advanced social component is in Cellar Tracker.
Cellar Tracker has both a ‘friend’ and ‘fan’ option.
Fans can see your tasting notes. However, only accepted friends can communicate with you. But look out! Both Delectable and Vivino seem to be updating the social component part of their apps. Let’s see how far they all get next year.
How Cellar Tracker App Looks
Cellar Tracker includes automatic subscriptions to many online wine magazines...
One great aspect of the app is that Cellar Tracker offers you links to many online wine magazines. This is especially useful with searching for wines from regions mostly known to residents within. Therefore, links to ‘Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report’, or the ‘New York Cork Report’ offer updates on wines in those regions.
So far, my favourite online wine publication through Cellar Tracker is the ‘Sommelier Journal‘. Check it out for great news on changes in the wine industry.
And for those true wine nerds who have subscriptions to the top journals in the world such as Decanter, the Purple Pages, Vinous, Wine Companion, Inside Burgundy and the like, you can link your paid subscriptions to Cellar Tracker. The app will then display tasting scores from these publications to wines in your cellar. (Although, I have not tested this part of the app out).
If I could offer some advice to Cellar Tracker it would be to update their design and make it more visually splendid. I’d also like to see some changes in the way the drinking windows are presented in the app. It took me a few minutes to figure that part out.
Finally, perhaps Cellar Tracker (or any of the other apps) could make an option for users to make their notes private. This was one of the feedback points I received in my last past.
You know, it’s wine. Most consumers are not confident enough in their wine descriptions to have them displayed. Just saying.
Still, this is the only app I use all the time so, clearly these points are not deal breakers. Cellar Tracker’s functions more than make up for its design. Indeed, Cellar Tracker has the best features for serious wine drinkers and professionals making it one of the best free wine apps for tasting notes.
(formerly Wine Ring)
Cost: Both iphone and Android, free
Preferabli in a nutshell
- new app on the market that uses Artificial Intelligence to find a wine that fits your tastes
Best New Free Wine App on the Market !
- it’s free
- new app on the market
- I see huge potential with this app which is why I mention it here
- after you enter in wines and rate them, it gives you recommendations for your next purchase
- has the option of selecting the price range that you want your purchase to come from
- also has the option to choose the food to go with the wine or the merchant you want to buy from
- has photo recognition and manual entry
- if you don’t have enough wines on hand to rate for the app, head over to ‘Jumpstart’ where you can rate the wines in their database
- Great interface!
- hasn’t been around long enough so the database of wines is still limited
- takes some time investment on your part because you must rate a lot of wines for it to understand your style
- still a bit glitchy – I got kicked out 3 times when trying to get to ‘Jumpstart’, but after entering wines with photo recognition, I could use Jumpstart
- Jumpstart should shuffle labels so the user is exposed to new ones they haven’t rated before
Features of Preferabli
Preferabli takes an investment in time (and many wine entries) to figure out your style. Furthermore, the database of wines still isn’t up to the size of the other wine apps mentioned above.
Still, I’m adding this to the list because I see a great future for this app.
Previously, I understand the app would take even longer as you had to personally add enough wines for it to reach a conclusion about your style. Not so anymore (see the section subtitled Jumpstart).
How you rate the wines
In Preferabli, you rate wines as Love, Like, So So or Dislike (see below).
This part I LOVE!!! I’m not alone. In fact, many wine professionals really disagree with numerical rating systems because wines are not one-dimensional (unless, of course it’s not a very good wine).
So I assume most people who have studied wine will agree with me here.
On the other hand, most wine consumers will likely prefer the numeral rating systems of Vivino, Delectable and Cellar Tracker. I’m excited to see how well Preferabli does with this.
Now, they have a ‘Jumpstart’ feature that fast-tracks the app to getting you wine recommendations.
Now, you can rate wines without entering them first.
Jumpstart shows you images of wine labels. After rating them, a new ‘Personal Taste Preferences pops up on the home page.
Again, the list of wine labels Preferabli shows you is limited, especially if you are someone like me who is into eclectic stuff.
In its current state, however, it’s still fine for most consumers. You know, if you love California Cabernet Sauvignon or Champagne (who doesn’t?), the app can make some recommendations for you.
Overall though, Preferabli needs time to collect some more users and more wines for its database. I can’t fault them for that. All apps start out somewhere and continue to change and grow.
Which is great -it’s why I’ve been able to update this post 3 times now!
But even if you don’t have any wines rated, you can use the Search to narrow down some recommendations whether it be for you or a friend (see image below left).
- after rating a bunch of wines, you must close out the app before it will adjust to your new entries. That doesn’t mean you simply leave the app. You must close all apps and then go back into the app to see what Preferabli got right
But where I can fault the app is in the Jumpstart feature.
I rated a ton of wines in Jumpstart. After checking the results of what it could reccomend, I decided to go back, rate some more and see if it would give me more select wine options.
Returning to Jumpstart unfortunately, brought me back the exact same labels that I had rated before. I thought for sure, it would shuffle the labels and expose me to others. Boohoo.
Preferabli: the good stuff
Conclusions about the Best Free Wine Apps for Tasing Notes
Vivino is still #1 for most wine consumers
Delectable is catching up in the race once again
But the app that is racing and catching up now is Delectable. I really gave Delectable a hard time in my last post because it had literally crapped the bed from where it used to be.