First I’ll get the Apple-related part of this post out of the way so I can get on with the whining.

Wine Ratings Guide

I’m a wine aficionado, somewhere towards the middle of the scale


and I find the iPhone app Wine Ratings Guide very helpful in shopping for wine, ordering wine in restaurants (there are suggested food pairings) and finding new wines to try. There are dozens of wine rating apps in the iTunes App Store. I’ve tried a few and this is the one that I like the best. I use it on the iPhone, but there is an iPad version as well. It has a huge database of wines, too big to fit on the iPhone, which means you do have to have WiFi or cellular data access to look things up. Ratings are the average of ratings by users of the app, rather than the ratings of experts like those at Wine Spectator. I think most medium priced wines are over-rated by this method. Probably because that’s what most people drink and they are comparing it to other medium priced wines rather than to the really great, really expensive wines of the same variety that the experts can use as a standard. Nevertheless, I haven’t yet been steered wrong by this app.


Recently I was in an anonymous supermarket whose name begins with A and spotted a shelf tag “Wine Spectator 94 points, 2007 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel”. I am a fan of old vine Zins (partly because some of the vines are older than I am and still going strong) and a 94 point Zin for $11 is a really good buy. However, what was on the shelf behind the sign was the 2008 vintage of this wine. As most of you wine drinkers know, there can be a big difference. The 2007 Gargleblaster Grenache might be near ambrosia, while the 2008 vintage might be closer to turpentine. It turned out the 2008 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel had a Wine Spectator rating of 87 points, pretty ordinary compared to the 94 point 2007 vintage they were trying to pass it off as.

Here are a couple of other wine marketing deceptions I’ve run across:

● Right vintage and vintner but different wine. For example, a tag with the rating for the excellent 2008 Elk Cove Windhill Pinot Noir in front of the lower rated 2008 Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

● Ratings by obscure publications. The big reputable names are Wine Spectator and a rather distant second, Wine Enthusiast , and there are some good regional and local review sources as well. There are also bogus wine review sources that are really advertising rather than advice. “Wine Club” reviews are especially suspect – some are legitimate, but some are only interested in getting you to buy at a big price what they have purchased at a bargain price.

● Gold and Silver Medals and other Awards. Make sure it’s an important Wine competition, not the 2008 Podunk County Fair.


OK. Whine finished. Lets go have a glass of wine. The 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs are the best in years. Some of them are world-class. I presume you are buying :-).