If you rely on technology to help you further your wine education, you probably have a wine app or two downloaded to your mobile device. Last week The Wall Street Journal wine columnist Will Lyons chose what he considers the best wine apps.

Plonk was one of the apps he recommended, and I decided to download it and check it out. It bills itself as “your secret weapon for finding the wine styles you like, wherever you are.”

The app works like a dictionary of grape varieties, introducing users to the grape’s flavors and characteristics. You can search varieties from an A-Z list or by country. It also has an audio pronunciation of each variety, so you can hear the correct way to pronounce varieties like Assyrtiko as you learn about them.

If you're completely unfamiliar with a variety, the app also lets you know that “if you liked Assyrtiko, you might like pinot grigio/gris.” I find this feature of the app particularly useful for ordering wine in a restaurant. When I’m looking at a wine list, and I see a glass in my price range with an unfamiliar varietal, this app is a great resource for some quick research. I like pinot grigio, so I’d be willing to try an Assyrtiko.

The final useful feature of this app is the wine and food pairing suggestions. The suggestions are loose, and there are several varieties recommended in each category. For example, under pizza, there are suggestions for meat-free pizzas and meaty pizzas. Food pairing suggestions are always just that — suggestions, not hard and fast rules. But, if you have no idea where to start when choosing a wine for a particular dish, this app can help you.

The app is simple. It doesn’t mention specific bottles, only specific grapes. It was created in the U.K., but the only way that makes a difference for U.S. users is in the pronunciation; the audio is recorded in a British accent. If U.S. users try to copy it exactly, they may sound a bit pretentious. But I have faith in my readers to have the good sense to say things in their natural voices. 

Related on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Plonk app helps wine novices make informed choices
If you’re unfamiliar with grape varieties like Assyrtiko, this app will teach you the basics, including pronunciations.