Come spring, Napa Valley is overrun with visitors and if you’re planning a visit in the coming months, time to start planning now. If you're an app addict, you might be tempted by the iPhone and iPad app Wine Spectator’s Guide to Napa Valley 2012 edition.
Readers, I bought it and downloaded it, and there’s just not very much there for $6.99. It’s basically an address book with no particular critical voice to direct you toward this or another restaurant, this or another winery visit. Strange, because the long-running wine magazine (founded in 1976) has ample archives of articles on Napa Valley to draw on.
It does, however, allow you to browse 280 top-scoring Cabernets and filter the list by price, score or vintage, should you be tucking into a steak at Press restaurant in St. Helena. The valley's four other major grape varietals are folded into a 160 bottle list.
The map is useful, though, showing restaurants, hotels, wineries and attractions distributed over the valley as different colored pins. If you have an iPad, you’re in business.
There are some curious lapses, though. Picnic supplies lists just three places, for example. Restaurant listings include all the relevant info, including website and corkage fees, handy if you’re out visiting wineries and want to bring a bottle to dinner you’ve picked up along the way. P.S., it’s not obvious, but you have to touch the listing for the screen to open on a photo and map view of the restaurant with a few sentences of commentary.
Still, the app seems a bit thin. I’d save your money and keep searching. Then again, maybe the designers will realize WS Napa Valley needs some work and gift us with a marvelous update.
One can hope.