Technology: Check out the L.I. Wine Country smartphone app

SAMANTHA BRIX PHOTO | The Long Island Wine Council intrduced a Wine Country smartphone app late last year.

What’s better than a pairing of wine and cheese?  Try wine and 21st Century technology.

Wine lovers looking to plan a weekend getaway on the North Fork can now download a smartphone application, or “app,” to make sure they’re fully informed while making their way through wine country.

The Long Island Wine Council launched its own app in October, and already some 900 smartphone users have downloaded the free program.  The app, called Long Island Wine Country, is available on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones. It comes with listings of the 47 member wineries of the council, which promotes Long Island’s wines and vineyards, along with GPS technology that maps out driving routes. Under the “dining” and “accommodations” tabs are listings of nearby hotels, inns, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, pastry shops and wine bars.

Each winery listing comes with information about the winery, its wines, hours of operation, tasting and tour hours and indicates whether the winery has a wine club or holds weddings. Upcoming affairs are also listed in the “events” tab.

Users can create a list of their favorite wineries, dining spots and places to stay, and can easily connect with the wine council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The council’s executive director, Steven Bate, said the group decided to create the app to stay relevant with their technology-savvy customers, especially younger wine drinkers.

“A lot of folks are transitioning to smartphones, and this is an important resource for them,” he said.

The app took about two months to develop and cost $6,000, which was funded by the Long Island Wine Council, said Cro2 Design project manager Mark Cahill, who designed the software.

He said the app, which is rather simple compared with others, was made free to maximize the number of downloads.

“The idea now is just to get people to download it, use it and come visit the area,” Mr. Cahill said.

The app has been steadily downloaded by approximately 300 people per month since its launch date. While 95 percent of downloaders live in the United States, people in countries including Italy, Thailand, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Egypt have downloaded the Long Island Wine Council’s app as well.

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