Monday, July 13, 2009

Cellar - your own wine cellar app

I read about this app a few weeks ago. One of the things I've often thought I'd want to use smartphones/PDA's for and never got round to it was track things like my wine cellar (LOL - my cellar consists of about 12 bottles in a rack under the stairs - but the turnover is fairly impressive!)

At the time it had been submitted to the App Store, but not yet approved, so I signed up to the Twitter feed (@cellarapp), and I've followed closely the run up to it's release today.

It costs 59p currently.

It doesn't have a database of wines, you've got to put your own stuff in here.

Graphically it's impressive. To keep track of your wines, you first choose the bottle shape and colour, foil colour and can take a picture of the label which is superimposed over the bottle. Then you add details of the wine. If you're a wine snob, this is a bit crude. The fields available are:
  • Brand
  • region
  • Vintage
  • Grape
  • Price
  • Notes
  • Rating
There are some default options - in grape for example start typing "Cha..." and it'll prompt "Chardonnay".

But that's it. One you click "Done" the bottle is added to your "cellar". You can show if you have multiple bottles of one wine.

The other thing you have is the "Garage" where you can put empty bottles you want to keep for reference.

It's not a bad little app for a first version, but there are some things that in my opinion need to be changed or added. These are:
  • It only works in landscape. I can see why, but certain aspects don't quite work well. For example:
  • The cellar view only provides for an info bar line at the bottom of the screen when you click a bottle for nfo. One line isn't enough in most cases to see all the info, so you have to click "Edit" which rather defeats the purpose of a quick info view.
  • It's got sound. When you open the app it prompts you to switch to landscape mode, and then the (presumably) "cellar" doors open with a noise reminiscent of the docking bay on the Death Star in Star Wars. There are also a few things and whistles as you add wine details. Ok in the comfort of your own home (though might annoy the wife), but if you want to add details of a wine whilst out dining in a fine restaurant (chance would be a good thing), you might get some odd looks from other diners or the sommelier!
  • There's no "summary" option. The iPhone just cries out to give database apps a quick summary or report screen. Nothing doing here yet. If you want to see all your wine you have to scroll in landscape mode and click each bottle for info. so no easy way to see how many reds or whites you have left.
Having said all that, it's clean and easy to use. I'm sure it'll get updates soon.

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