It's a good time to get into wine.
Thanks to advances in mapping and social media technology, there are more resources at the tip of your finger than ever before to discover new wine, find where to buy it and have it shipped right to you.
"There's definitely room for a lot of different business models," said former amNewYork publisher Christopher Barnes, who launched the website Grape Collective late last year. "It's a very different category from spirits, where you have these major brands. Wine's about small producers, different regions and diversity."
Devaraj Southworth is just one wine lover who saw room in this growing market when he launched Thirstie in February. Through the app, you can purchase wine from nearby merchants and have it delivered within the hour.
"It really came down to personal experience," said the Upper West Side resident. "There were a couple of situations where I was sitting in my apartment having company over, I didn't have any wine and it was snowing outside. It would have been more convenient for me to pull out a mobile app, click three times and have something come in a reasonable time."
Whether you're looking to bone up on your vino trivia, build your collection or just don't want to be stuck in a wine-less bind at your next party, here are five ways to discover and share bottles right from your phone -- and, in most cases, even have it delivered straight to your doorstep.
Platform: Free mobile app
Requires: iOS 7.0 or later
Shipping: $12 for 1 bottle going down to 1 cent for 12
Rating system: Emoticons
Defining feature: Access to engaged wine professionals and what they are drinking
Delectable is like Instagram for wine -- you can easily take a picture of what you're drinking (minus the filters), rate it and followers can like and comment. You can find friends, as well as follow notable sommeliers, such as Michael Madrigale, the wine director for Bar Boulud, Epicerie Boulud and Boulud Sud, and Thomas Pastuszak, wine director at The NoMad, to see what they're recommending. For some bang for your buck, Delectable also features great wines for under $25 (recent choices include a 2012 Turley Napa Valley White Zinfandel and a 2012 La Clarine Farm Blend Nr. 1 White Blend.). When you're ready to buy, you can check the price in your area and purchase up to 12 bottles.
Platform: Free mobile app
Requires: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
Shipping: $10.99 for 2 bottles; free for 12 bottles and more
Rating system: Hearts
Defining feature: Wine lists to discover new bottles
In a wine shop and want to see what people think about a vintage, or reading a magazine article and want to purchase a featured wine? With Drync, just scan the label and see how it's rated and potentially buy it through the app (among its 2 million-plus wine database, 30,000 wines are available for purchase). You can share your own favorites, too, while bottles other users review and rate show up in a constant live feed. If you need some direction, peruse one of the app's many lists, such as Fireside Wines, Rich Oaky Whites and Most Popular Wines of 2013 (at the top of that list -- Elk Cove's 2012 Pinot Gris). When you're ready to buy, bottles are sold in increments of two, so get ready to stock up.
Platform: Free online publication
Rating system: Stars; critic score out of 100
Shipping: $6.99 UPS Ground
Defining feature: Multimedia wine content
Grape Collective was born, in part, to make the wine-hunting process a little easier. If a writer is gushing about a 2011 Dierberg Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, you don't have to look very far to find it -- like every wine mentioned on the site, it is sold through Grape Collective's online store. Writers include the likes of Dorothy J. Gaiter, who wrote The Wall Street Journal's wine column "Tastings" for 12 years with her husband, John Brecher, so the wine selection is fairly vetted. You can explore vineyards and meet winemakers through profiles and videos, too. Not sure what you want? You can search by price (wines top out at $165), region and varietal.
Platform: Free mobile app and website
Requires: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 2.0 and up
Rating system: n/a
Defining feature: On-demand delivery within an hour
There aren't any fun lists, scanning capabilities or cute rating systems here. The whole point of Thirstie is to get wine in your hand in three clicks and within the hour. Enter your location into the app or website and you can search for both wine and spirits, see what's nearby and order it for delivery. The merchants front the fee so you don't have to, and the items are guaranteed in stock. Right now, most of Manhattan and some of Williamsburg are served through the app, which launched last month, but there are plans to expand across the city.
Platform: Free mobile app
Requires: iOS 6.0 and later; Android 2.3.3 and up
Rating system: Stars
Defining feature: Location-based map to find nearby wine merchants
If shipping or delivery isn't a priority, Vivino can help you find wine stores in your area and tell you what they have on the shelves. At a store already? You can scan a label and see if it's cheaper somewhere else. When you're not on the hunt, you can explore Vivino's database of more than 3 million wines from more than 100,000 wineries, see what friends and wine professionals are drinking and find recommendations such as food pairings for a particular bottle.