For those of us of legal age and discerning taste, there’s nothing better than a decent glass of wine. We’re also big fans of social networking and can often be found enjoying a tipple with Twitter of an evening. If you’re following this train of thought so far, why not take it to the next level by combining the two disciplines with one iPhone app? That’s what you get when you download the free GrapeVine app, a social network for wine lovers.

Whether you know your Pinot from your plonk or not, GrapeVine aims to bring the world’s wine drinkers together to share new flavors and find out more about the drink they love.

Friends can quickly be found within the app and categorized by the types of wine they drink. Comments can be added to wine picks and networks created as well as friend lists. As one reviewer says, GrapeVine is “like Twitter for us wine folks”.

The app itself is neatly designed and offers a range of customization options including skinning and profile creation. You can even add friends from your iPhone’s Address Book to begin sharing their tastes on “The Vine” which is where most of the grape-based banter flows. Each wine suggestion comes complete with information on the wine type, country and year and also includes a short description of how the wine was discovered by the user, along with pictures. Fortunately, Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t apply here.

The Wine Geek section of the app provides a regularly updated mini blog covering all of the latest wine news and accessories as well as opinion on the latest wine trends.

Among the networking flavours found in this full-bodied app, hints of commerce also mingle, with a clever shopping list feature that helps you track down suggested wines at your local store. Not only that, but GrapeVine is open to the wine industry so sellers can promote their upcoming wines and promotions directly to the consumer via the app.

“We’re democratizing wine”, says GrapeVine co-founder Helena Mitchell. “Every wine drinker is now a respected tastemaker and potential trendsetter on GrapeVine. Every wine business can contribute to GrapeVine’s consumer conversation and discovery experience, regardless of size, location or budget.”

After a quick play with this app we were excited by its potential and look forward to seeing how this new type of social network develops. Of course, those who prefer a cold Bud and a burrito (and believe us we do too) may not be quite as entertained by this app, but if you’re even a little bit curious about the world of wine, we’d recommend giving GrapeVine a try.

An iPad app is also in the works according to GrapeVine’s managing director, Kim Alexander:
“iPad is definitely in the plan. The multimedia aspects of wine shares on The Vine and content we provide in Wine Geek are perfect for iPad and will look even more beautiful there. As a distributor of people’s proprietary content, our job is to offer platforms like iPad, to make the content its best. You’ll see us move more and more into celebrity, lifestyle and entertainment wine content, also making it critical to provide a beautiful aesthetic. We have some very exciting and new ways to talk about wine in the works, including a bit of a makeover ourselves.”

GrapeVine is available for free on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch users. Free registration is also required to begin using the app.

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