Tag Archives: iPhone

I Had An App In Ontario

This is a guest blog post from my friend John at linktrap – a site where he finds the best of the internet and technology and “traps” it for my enjoyment – yours too.

I was thinking about that famous line from the movie “Out of Africa” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

“I had a farm in Africa”

I would have been pleased to own a coffee plantation. However, pushed into a corner (in the vintages section), I really think I would choose a vineyard first!

Since I have neither a coffee plantation or a vineyard, I yearn for second best; apps for my iPhone. I have too many apps for photography, and NONE for wine. My first app of the drinking genre comes from our beloved LCBO as we are given to call it.

I was introduced to the app at a party, a surprise party for a friend. For gift giving, the husband had suggested bringing a bottle of red wine. While standing in the kitchen I watched a special unveiling of a bottle for the birthday girl. I recognized the name of the wine, and I assumed it was a nice bottle.

Not long after another bottle of wine was being looked over and suddenly an iPhone was whipped out – that’s how we roll. In a split second an app was opened and magically the bar code was scanned and we had the following intel:

  • The Name of the Wine
  • Store Inventory
  • More Details (aka tasting notes)
  • Price

iPhones were quickly pulled out and the new FREE app was being loaded up. I immediately went straight for the “special” bottle I had noted earlier. This is when it occurred to me that I was about to cross the line.

So what if this bottle wasn’t so special? I was potentially going to out this guy as a cheapskate! On the other hand, he might be fine, having chosen a decent wine (Travis will be the first to tell you that price is not an indication of a wine’s pedigree). It came in at a hefty $45, so price wise, a decent gift for the birthday girl.

So think of the possibilities:

  • using the app to immediately scan the bottle a guest has just handed you as a house warming present
  • scanning bottles at a wedding as the waiter gives you a choice of red or white
  • lurking in Travis’s wine cellar to see if he’s got anything decent

I’m sure you can come up with more ideas – let Travis know how you might use your new LCBO app! And yes, if you must know it’s available for Blackberry users too.

Editor’s Note – My wine apps include Billys Best Bottles (my favorite), the LCBO app, Natalie MacLean’s (great for food pairings), and the Wine Spectator Vintage Chart (since I can’t memorize those on my own).

Wowed by Billy’s App

I am a big fan of Billy’s Best Bottles and the genius behind the brand – Billy Munnelly. I first became a fan of Billy while reading about a wine tasting in the Toronto Star.  The author of the article was listing the people at the tasting  and remarked that while the “experts” were waiting for the wine to be poured Billy Munnelly was in the corner trying to figure out how to get the hotel’s espresso machine started. I felt an instant connection with that man in the corner.

Now Billy, and his partner Kato, have come up with a BRILLIANT (yes, I meant to yell that) app for the iPhone – and happily, I own an iPhone (thank you Steve Jobs). I could play with this app all day.  I let my wife open the app to look at – she was won over instantly by the cork that spins when the app opens.  She’s easily amused by things like that. So am I.

I love the content. Billy is the champion of wines that are affordable and unpretentious. Each of Billy’s recommendations comes with a bottle shot (can be enlarged to full screen) and the product code, which is applicable Canada-wide.  “I’ve kept this app as simple as my books – thirty years of drinking experience scaled down to what is essential. No strange wine lingo, no challenging gourmet food pairings, and no silly scores for the wines. Wine geeks will probably hate it, but if your focus is the drinking experience, my app will get you there quickly with the wine best suited for your situation.” Billy

The App is as easy to use as the Billy’s Best Bottles book and more convenient because it’s also on my telephone.  Albert Einstein, you would have been so happy to live in these crazy times.

Recently I guest blogged at  Linktrap.com and praised Billy’s web site as one of my places of inspiration on the internet. Now it’s on my phone.

Screen Shot Rustic Reds

Screen Shot House Reds


Einstein would have loved an iPhone

I found myself staring at a great bottle of wine last week.  A 2004 single vineyard wine from Bodegas LAN –  I love LAN – then I remembered that I forgot to memorize the Rioja vintages chart. Was it 2004 that was a crappy vintage or 2003?  Who memorizes those things?

What I did remember was that  I own an iPhone – that means that with the proper app  I never have to remember anything – not even my phone number – AE would have loved that.

EINSTEIN, who was never able to recall his own phone number, was famous for not memorizing anything that could be quickly and easily looked up in a standard reference volume. “Never memorize what you can look up in books,” he said. In fact, EINSTEIN claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.

Furthermore, EINSTEIN once declared that his second greatest idea after the theory of relativity was to add an egg while cooking soup in order to produce a soft-boiled egg without having an extra pot to wash. This was clearly a man who would have loved the idea of using his “telephone” to help him purchase a bottle of wine.

Neither Albert or I can memorize this and hey, 2004 was a good year!

Road Trip? The Geography of French Wine

Reims to Rhone - the perfect iTrip

I am planning early for retirement.  Champagne to Chateauneuf – that’s my first road trip!  And I do believe that despite what my iPhone says, it will take more than 6 hours and 25 minutes. Here are the details …

The only thing I’ll need is a convertible as I already have a good-looking wife for the passenger seat (an essential part of retirement).

From the bubbles of Champagne to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy I promise only to take country roads. 

On to Beaujolais (which although technically part of Burgundy serves up Gamay grapes) where I can track down Georges Dubœuf and ask him why he connects his “o” and “e”. 

Lyon is the most northern point of the Rhone and the gastronomic capital of the world. I am a gastronimic fan.  We will stop for dinner. 

The Northern Rhone Syrah wines inspired the Shiraz movement all over the world.  It’s a good stopover before I get to my favorite French wine region – the Southern Rhone –   where wines are made with a blend of as many as 13 grapes.

This trip needs some careful planning.  Some further research is forthcoming as there is much to look forward to.