Foodie Tuesday: VNTG Tells You What to Drink Now

Do you collect wine? Maybe you’re just getting started, stocking a wine cabinet of a few bottles to make sure there’s something on hand for every occasion. Or are you a serious collector with a vast wine cellar and a penchant for older vintages? You might be interested in a new wine app focused on answering the question, “What should I drink now?”

Each wine in your cellar will peak at a certain window of time, and then begin to deteriorate in taste. VNTG helps users keep track of their bottles and filter their inventory by that wine window, as well as several other criteria like grape varietal or style. But is the VNTG app ready to pop the cork, or does it need a little more time to age and mature? Keep reading to find out.

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Getting Started

Launch VNTG and you’re greeted by an artistic “painting” by Caleb Kozlowski. It feels sleek, modern — even a touch sexy. They’ve done a great job with the branding of this app, and the name says it all: VNTG. The promise, that you’ll “Know the wines in your cellar and what’s ready to drink,” solves a common problem for wine collectors. The creators of VNTG understand that keeping it simple doesn’t mean boring, and they’ve honed their app down to be razor sharp in focus: no reviews, no extraneous features, no ads.

The home screen is sleek, modern and beautifully designed, left. Swipe and you land on My Cellar, the future home of your wine inventory, right.

The home screen is sleek, modern and beautifully designed, left. Swipe and you land on My Cellar, the future home of your wine inventory, right.

Swipe the screen and you land on My Cellar, the home of your wine inventory. Here the creators provide a short and sweet intro to help you get started, along with an optional tutorial. Using a selection of screenshots, the app guides you through the process of adding wines to your cellar. They keep it simple and brief, rather than bogging you down with wordy descriptions. The tutorial is smartly designed to engage you in the app and get you up and running quickly.

Adding Wines

Doing inventory is never fun. Universally tedious, this slow task involves entering facts and figures, and VNTG is no different. Tap the + button to add a wine to My Cellar and you’re presented with a fill in the blank form with 11 fields: Style, Vintage, Producer, Country, Appellation, Vineyard, Varietals, Price, Quantity, Alcohol percentage and Bottle Size. Getting started can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not an expert on deciphering foreign wine labels.

Tap the + button to add a wine to My Cellar and you’re presented with a fill in the blank form with 11 fields, from wine Style to grape Varietal to Appellation, Price, Quantity on hand and Bottle Size.

Tap the + button to add a wine to My Cellar and you’re presented with a fill in the blank form with 11 fields, from wine Style to grape Varietal to Appellation, Price, Quantity on hand and Bottle Size.

The folks at VNTG try to ease the data-entry burden on users in several ways. First, they have pre-filled certain fields with the most common entries, like 750mL Bottle Size and 13% Alcohol. Second, fields like Style and Vintage require you simply select the information from a list of choices. Third, if you enter an Old-World Appellation, the app auto-fills the most common grape varietals into the form to speed things up.

The app allows you to customize by adding producers to the searchable list, speeding up the data entry process, left. Once you’ve filled in the Country, the app presents you with a searchable list of wine appellations specific to that area, right.

The app allows you to customize by adding producers to the searchable list, speeding up the data entry process, left. Once you’ve filled in the Country, the app presents you with a searchable list of wine appellations specific to that area, right.

One thing that can be kind of tricky is entering in the Producer and the Appellation. The screen prompts you to type a producer name and searches actively while you type. The problem is it’s not clear what’s being searched — a database of common producers or the list of producers you’ve already added to the app. I entered several well-known wine producers, only to see “No Results,” which was confusing. Once you’ve entered in the Country, tap the Appellation category and it presents you with a searchable list of wine appellations specific to that region, which is nice. The list takes a few seconds to load though, long enough to leave you wondering if something is wrong with the app. Once the choices load, however, it’s quick to respond to search as you type.

Fill in all the required fields and upload a photo of the label if you like, then tap the check button to save the wine to your cellar.

Fill in all the required fields and upload a photo of the label if you like, then tap the check button to save the wine to your cellar.

Organizing your wine cellar to function more efficiently is just like anything else in life — it takes time and commitment to doing things right. The founders of VNTG admit that it would be nice if the process was faster, but they believe the most important thing is accuracy so the app functions perfectly. You might be asking, “What about bar code scanning to make this easier?” Their answer is that many wines don’t have a barcode and the ones that do yield inconsistent readings that would cause problems for the app. It’s good to see the developers are constantly improving on VNTG, watching out for new developments in technology. Hopefully, the data-entry process will continue to improve with every new vintage app updates.

My Cellar

Once you’ve added a few wines, the My Cellar section starts to fill up. Initially it’s organized by country. At a quick glance it’s easy to see the label photo, wine name, grape, vintage and how many bottles you’ve got on hand. Notice the three options at the bottom of the screen: Filter, Sort and Reset. They’ve made it quick and simple to view your inventory in many different ways.

My Cellar is full of the wines in your collection, initially organized by country. Notice the three buttons at the bottom of the screen which allow you to view the inventory in many different ways.

My Cellar is full of the wines in your collection, initially organized by country. Notice the three buttons at the bottom of the screen which allow you to view the inventory in many different ways.

Tap on a wine and find all the information you painstakingly entered displayed beautifully on the screen. The app takes that information and comes up with a Drinking Window to let you know when the wine will be ready to drink. You can customize this Drinking Window yourself by selecting Edit. Notice the options at the bottom of the screen: Favorite, Drank It and Delete.

Tap on a wine and find all the information you painstakingly entered displayed beautifully on the screen.

Tap on a wine and find all the information you painstakingly entered displayed beautifully on the screen.

Back in My Cellar you can explore the Filters, organizing your wines by Style, Country, Varietal Family, Varietal Type or Drinking Window. Since a major function of the app is to let you know what’s ready to drink, you would think Drinking Window should be first on the list. Tap Drinking Window and the app asks you to chose a year. Wouldn’t it be more efficient if the app just responded by displaying wines in order of which ones are ready to drink?

Wine geeks will appreciate the ability to set multiple filters at once, left. After you’ve set the filters, tap the Sort button to arrange wines by Country, Vintage or Price, right.

Wine geeks will appreciate the ability to set multiple filters at once, left. After you’ve set the filters, tap the Sort button to arrange wines by Country, Vintage or Price, right.

Wine geeks will appreciate the ability to set multiple filters at once. After you’ve set the filters, tap the Sort button to arrange wines by Country, Vintage or Price. The Reset button is handy for quickly starting over. It seems the more wines you have in your cellar, the more fun you’ll have with VNTG.

Conclusion

VNTG is a modern, beautifully designed approach to organizing your wine cellar. Wine collectors will find this app very handy when looking through a vast inventory of bottles on a daily basis. The filtering and sorting functions turn the daunting into a fun and easy task, for instance, if you’re deciding what wine to have with supper tonight or what case to open for the party this weekend. VNTG is missing one thing, though — the ability to search your wine inventory by keyword or name. The team at VNTG is committed to continuous improvement, and it will be interesting to watch this app evolve over time.


Summary

VNTG is a tool for organizing your wine inventory by filters, so you know which wines are peaking and best to drink now.

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