by Cat on April 6, 2012

Paul Mabray has been writing about wine iPhone apps for Palate Press and VinTank for the last three years. This year, despite many new apps, the news is not good.

Mabray blames the fact that few wine apps are experiencing a great success on several things. For one, wine is a niche market–only about 2.25 million possible customers. That sounds like a lot, but there’s a lot of competition for those folks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and more that take up their tech-time.

Data on wineries and wines is hard to gather and harder to depend on. I find contradictions every day in figures, costs, availabilities and other areas. Very few wine apps solve a real problem or need. Most of us just want to remember the wines we like so we can buy them again, and the ones we hate so we can avoid them.

Those few–around 250,000 according to Mabray–who want to keep much more detailed notes don’t make a very big target for the $15,000 to $250,000 it costs to build an app. If you got all those real devotees with an expensive app, you’d be betting $1 per person with no real promise of return.

Mabray has a lot more interesting things to say, so be sure to read his entire article. He DOES have some recommendations for apps to try. Here are my favorites of his favorites:

Vivino – One of the best image recognition apps, and as more pictures of wines are taken, the matching gets better and better. A great way to remember your wines. Plus it’s free.

Social Grapes – The best app for seeing what wines your friends are drinking. Not much has changed in the app in the last year but it was so ahead of the curve last year that it has earned a place in this year’s best list. It is also free.

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