Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 in Review – Possibly useful for sommeliers, useless for everyone else…

Those sommeliers have one of the best jobs in the world, don’t they? Drinking good wine and getting paid for doing it and even more for writing about it… Well, one of the best-selling wine writers, Hugh Johnson, has decided to jump on the iOS bandwagon and release his own wine guide on the App Store. Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 is now available to help us, common folk, decide what bottle we’ll be drinking this evening.

Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 (though it seems to be a bit early to release a 2011 version just yet) is deemed by its own author to be more of an encouragement than a specific charter. With this in mind let’s examine it in more detail.

Wine Guide has 2 main features – Wine-speak and browsing/searching for various wines with comments from Hugh Johnson himself. The former is meant for the aspiring sommeliers to learn the ins and outs of the terminology and is a comprehensive dictionary of all-things wine related. The dictionary is also equipped with a handy search option, as well as marking the grape varieties with a special icon for easy distinction.

The catalogue is what it’s all about though. You can browse it by region or by country to get to the producer list. However you won’t be able to find specific wine brands with most entries; they’re are just a few general words about where the producer’s vineries are and what grapes they use. Some are more detailed, some even have a bit of information on the actual vintages, but those are few and far between and still don’t contain anything on the specific brands of wine they offer.

On the upside a nice feature is the overview information on the region complete with a map and some general vintage information, usually split by region. You can also search the catalogue by country, region, grape variety and/or minimum rating, including a filter to limit the results to Hugh’s current selection only.

The interface of the Wine Guide is more or less ok, though for some reason it doesn’t support the Retina display, providing for pixilated text and blurry images on the iPhone 4. Also the intro video with Hugh Johnson himself is stuck in portrait mode for some strange reason. The ability to favourite producers for quick access later is a plus though.

Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 is in many ways a disappointment, especially with such a big name behind it. The information provided is not nearly enough to help make a choice in the wine aisle and the general overview, while quite interesting, is mostly of use for (aspiring) sommeliers, looking to broaden their knowledge of the regions. But if you’re one of those just looking for a helpful guide to select a nice bottle of Cabernet, this app is definitely not for you.

With this I declare Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011Developer: Hachette UK
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$7.99App Size:9.98MB
  • Region overviews with maps and general vintage information
  • Nice Wine-Speak dictionary
  • Almost no information on individual producers
  • No wine brand information or vintages

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