Digital wine lists are quickly replacing the unwieldy paper lists at some restaurants. When the waiter drops the iPad wine list on the table, you can’t resist looking at it. It invokes an adventure that’s much less intimidating than a printed list, and can enhance the dining experience. Using a technology that most are savvy with, the list can be scanned easily and quickly. It’s like having a personal sommelier at your side—one that doesn’t unnerve you.
There are multiple iPad apps for wine lists and digital menus available in the marketplace. Some offer options beyond a listing of wines and prices, including a full description of the wine and a picture of the label. Some programs, like Tastevin from Labrador OmniMedia, allow diners to watch a video of the winemaker or chef, and read full reviews from top wine critics.
At Marché Moderne in Costa Mesa, the wine and liquor list is 14 pages long, a size that would make a printed list intimidating and potentially challenge a diner’s patience. This popular restaurant has offered its list in a convenient iPad format for more than a year, and the sophisticated clientele seems to treasure it.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach launched an iPad wine list tableside and at the bar in May. Its WiNEPAD™ app allows guests to sort wines in progressive order from lightest to fullest by region, varietal, Fleming’s available selections, wines rated 90-plus by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast, and the restaurant’s local wine manager’s picks. Guests can also review wine and food pairings, and, if undecided, can use the “spin the bottle” function that selects for them.
Other Orange County restaurants with iPad wine lists include Hanna’s Prime Steak in Rancho Santa Margarita, one of Open Table’s top 100 U.S. restaurants, and 6ix Park Grill and 6ix Bar at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.