iPhone App Idea: WineSnap

Don’t let the beautiful bottle fool you… this is terrible wine.

If you’re an iPhone developer, you probably struggle a lot with the issue of effort vs. revenue. In other words, you think you’ve thought of something cool and you don’t mind investing the time to produce it, but you just aren’t sure if anyone will actually pay for it.

Here’s an app that — if well done — I would pay $20 or more for:

Whenever I’m having a glass of wine, allow me to snap a picture of the bottle (or the barcode from the bottle) and within 30 seconds enter some very basic information about it:

  1. Grade — A through F
  2. Characteristics — Mild, Strong, Oaky, Fruity
  3. Optional freeform text comments

Once I hit submit, save this to my wine library database, accessible via iPhone or web browser.

Are there other wine rating apps and services available right now? Definitely. But unfortunately none of them pass the 30 second test. They don’t even pass the 5 minute test. Usually when you’re in the middle of drinking wine — whether at a wedding, a party, at dinner, or in a dark alley — spending 5 minutes typing notes into your iPhone is just not something you’d ever consider doing… and this is the critical void that no one has filled yet.

It should be “snap, select, select, done”. By reducing the effort required to create a personal wine note library to this simple 30 second routine, you’d be enabling thousands of recreational wine drinkers to do something they’ve never been able to do before: actually remember what wines they try and which ones they like. That level of detail, in most cases, is all people really need, and it’s something I am 100% sure many would gladly pay for.

Ok then, who’s going to step up? I’ll be your first sale.

28 comments on “iPhone App Idea: WineSnap”. Leave your own?
  1. Mike D. says:

    Jed: Really nice looking interface, but it seems to be more about organizing your cellar, no? Also, I haven’t downloaded it but it looks like it doesn’t do the whole “capture label/barcode and recognize it” thing. “Drync” looks interesting too and has a nice post on the challenges of this sort of thing here:


    At least people are thinking about it. That in mind, I suppose we may see a nice solution within a year or so. Again, to me it comes down to the 30 second test. I don’t care how many features it has… if it takes longer than 30 seconds to store a record, I can’t see myself using it.

  2. Kevin OKeefe says:

    I like it Mike. I was just using my iPhone to look up wines while out to eat last week. I also have a ton of pics of wine labels of wines I like, but there’s nothing social about that.

  3. The Jim Ray says:

    You ain’t got no problem Mike. Google’s on the motherfucker. Go back in there, chill them wines out and wait for the Google Goggles, which should be coming directly.

  4. The Jim Ray says:

    Hm, on re-read I don’t think my Google goggles link solves your problem. But it *does* look cool, amirite?

  5. Chris says:

    hi Mike,
    Do you mean like a wine connoisseur describing/rating every bottle but with the additional facility to add your own personal notes?


  6. Ian Oxley says:

    The folks over at http://corkd.com/ seem to be on to something like this – no idea if it’ll beat your 30 seconds test but might be worth a look once it’s released :-)

  7. Mike D. says:

    JimRay: Yep, cool indeed.

    Chris: Not exactly. I just mean a super quick way to classify wine as “yes, I’ll buy this again” or “nope, I’ll stay away from this in the future”.

    Ian: At least back when the Dans were running Cork’d, I would expect them to make something like this. The site’s plans seem to have gotten a little more “ambitious” under new management though (which is perfectly fine), and I worry they were try to throw too much into the app, thus making it fail the 30 second test.

    Way2Poppy: Holy crap, same name and everything! That has got to be the worst website pitching an iPhone app ever though. Gives me no graphical rundown of what I will be purchasing. Then you go to the AppStore and out of the 13 people who have rated the app, 7 of them give it the lowest rating possible: one star. I should probably download it anyway, just to check, but this is where the “well done” thing comes in. If over half of the people who have reviewed it give it an F, it’s probably not very well done. Anyway, thanks for the tip! I feel a little sheepish that I coincidentally picked “WineSnap” as a dummy title for this post :).

  8. Dave Selden says:

    Not an iPhone app, and not for wine, but BS Brewing just developed a similar hard copy thing for beer, and we’ve been talking about doing a wine version. Agree that an app would be hot, though.


  9. Mike D. says:

    Dave: Nice, I love it.

    I think I’m going to do a follow-up post to this one and buy every iPhone wine app out there. Will do a comparison test to see which allows the quickest entering…

  10. Totally agree, Mike. It’d be the wine app I’d actually use regularly :)

  11. Scott C says:

    I’d love to see something like this for beer. And I agree on the simplicity/30 second test.

  12. Elke Oberg says:

    Wow, Mike, my husband and I had this discussion (almost the exact words of your post) about a week ago. Would buy this app right away!

  13. Alex says:

    Mike, would you require the app to recongnise the wine by barcode or picture and add the details itself? Or would you think that the picture is enough to recognise the wine yourself without having name and year?

    The big deal is the missing database for all the barcode labels, I guess.

  14. Mike D. says:

    Alex: Recognition based on barcode or label graphic would really put the “killer” in “killer app”, but honestly, I could probably even just live with a collection of label photos that were attached to the rudimentary rating system.

  15. Bruno Figueiredo says:

    Why not take a look at http://www.adegga.com? They have a mobile site and a great code system like ISBN for wine.

  16. Geoff says:

    There some links to wine-related iPhone/touch apps and associated reviews on my site. Hope this helps http://winefeeds.wordpress.com/

    Some of the ones mentioned above appear but none that seem to do what you’re looking for.

  17. […] Discussion of the ideal iPhone app <link> Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)1855 Bordeaux meets iPhoneBBR iPhone App.Wine […]

  18. You might be interested in Tesco’s wine app: photograph the label, and it lets you rate the wine (and share it with others). Oh, and let’s you order some more.

    Tesco is, kind of, the Walmart of the UK, in case you’re unfamiliar; and I guess it only works on wine available from Tesco’s wine service; which makes it close to what you wanted, but not quite right.


  19. […] it is enough to prevent the task from getting done. The latest example, a couple of weeks ago, was wine journaling. Sure it only takes a few minutes to pull out a laptop, log into your wine-dot-whatever account and […]

  20. Mike D. says:

    meks: Damn! That looks pretty good! Unfortunately it requires iPhone software 3.1, which I’ve been avoiding because it disables tethering. Might have to finally buck up and upgrade though. Hrrumph.

    Bruno and James: Likewise. Damn… tethering might be coming to an end for me since a lot of these new apps aren’t going to be available to me until I upgrade.

  21. Hi Mike, I designed Cellar with quick data entry in mind and our 2.0 update includes a plethera of other new stuff including more quick auto-completion options when entering bottles. If you’d like to try it out let me know and I’ll give you a promo code.

  22. Way2Poppy says:

    Confession – I’m the developer of WineSnap (and BeerSnap) and this post has been tremendously inspirational. The 30 second rule is what we’re going to use for version 2.0 of both apps. Free promo codes when they’re complete.

  23. Mike D. says:

    Way2Poppy: Excellent! Let me know when it’s done. Can’t wait to check it out.

  24. Btmtbd says:

    I’ve been searching for a wine app too, exciting to a developer take these ideas on board.

  25. Eric Weise says:

    Just saw this old blog post. I am currently building an app (android) that pretty much does exactly this. The code is open source https://github.com/eweise/WineTastingLog if you feel like running your own. I plan to complete it around march 2012. Feel free to leave a message at my github account if you have ideas around it.

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