Wine and space

In Palo Alto, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is rolling out the upgrades -- tech and otherwise.

First up is the WinePad, a new custom app that simplifies the ordering of wine at Fleming's, which boasts a whopping 100 wines by the glass. Tap on your menu choices -- maybe a pork belly with cheese grits appetizer, then broiled Pacific swordfish with fennel cream, followed by walnut turtle pie -- and you'll get three recommendations for each dish from Fleming's National Wine Director Maeve Pesquera and her team.

"With the WinePad, we want to meet you where you are," she says -- whether you're a drinker of 90-plus points wines only, a traditionalist, a price-conscious sipper or someone entirely new to wine.

The app also allows you to match wines to your mood (looking for an elegant chardonnay or a powerful pinot?) or to play "spin the bottle" to get some intriguing suggestions.

It's been fun, Pesquera said, to see this new technology in the hands of the wait staff. "Servers are already creating tasting notes for the WinePad," she said.

So don't be surprised if a wine-savvy server goes all sommelier on you and suggests a fourth pairing that's also spot-on.

Fleming's other upgrade is taking form in the front parking lot of the Stanford Shopping Center. The restaurant is expanding in a big way, with a free-standing building and a patio. Look for an August opening.

Details: Open daily for dinner, from 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, from 4 p.m. Sunday. 180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. 650-329-8457; www.flemingssteakhouse.com.

A glass of hope

Winemakers and Santa Cruz Mountains residents are hosting a June 15 benefit with food, wine and live music for one of their own. The event will raise funds for winemaker Katy Lovell of Poetic Cellars, who is fighting late-stage pancreatic cancer, wine group spokeswoman Laura Ness reports. Lovell is a single mother of three college-age children. Details: noon-5 p.m. June 15 at Poetic Cellars, 5000 N. Rodeo Gulch Drive, Soquel (Vine Hill exit off Highway 17). www.poeticcellars.com.

Send South Bay, Peninsula dining tips to Linda Zavoral, lzavoral@mercurynews.com.