High-Tech Boozing: South Gate Restaurant Unveils iPad Wine Tablets

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When the iPad first came out back in April, the main question on the minds of consumers and critics was what, exactly, the thing was for. It could do most of the stuff a laptop could do, but not as well (no keyboard, multitasking, Adobe Flash). It could do everything a smartphone could do, except make calls. Finally, the posh South Gate restaurant in the Jumeriah Essex House has figured out a real use for this hot tech gizmo: custom-designed wine lists.

South Gate is the first restaurant in New York to make iPads a part of their fine dining experience. Providing diners with all they information they could ever need on the 650-bottle wine list, the restaurant’s shiny new fleet of iPads uses the SmartCellar app, which instantly beams information to drinkers about the major wine regions and varietals. Fancy something dry and red from southern Italy? No problem, here’s a list. Vaguely remember a great Bordeaux, but can’t recall the name? Every South Gate Bordeaux is literally at your fingertips.

Best of all, the app is automatically updated as bottles sell out, so you won’t have the crushing disappointment of getting your hopes up for a $368 Domaine des Comtes Lafon “Clos de la Barre” Burgundy only to have to substitute it with a wimpy $284 François et Antoine Jobard. The iPads will be available for diners to use, but if you’re, say, my dad, you can always have the sommelier handle your vino queries. Your second-cheapest bottle of red, if you please?