My post the other day started a discussion in the comments with Joel from Wine Life Today and Vivi’s Wine Journal. We both agreed that the current Web 2.0 wine sites (I’m calling them now “Wine 2.0”) don’t have enough benefits to reach critical mass and that a “mashup” of these sites is most likely the only sensible strategy. But what features should these new sites have and who will use them? First, let’s look at the current offerings:
Wine ratings, tasting notes and tagging
Wine recommendations and online store
Blog aggregator and tagging
So lots of wine tasting notes, ratings and tagging is going on with a few other specialty sites aimed, I think, at different types of customers. If you are a wine newbie, for example, you might be looking for wine education, tasting recommendations and an easy way to sample different types of wine. A wine enthusiast has already developed preferences to wine styles and some brands and might be more interested in a place to keep, organize and share their tasting notes. The wine collector is looking primarily for cellar management and valuation data for their collections. And finally, the wine geek is probably looking for ways to read wine blogs, capture tasting notes and find new wines that might fit their palate. Of course, some of these groups overlap somewhat, so Wine 2.0 sites can’t just define individual customer groups and make sites specifically for them.
I guess all this is uncovering the complexities facing the companies and individuals developing these sites. As I stated when I began this post, I don’t think any of the sites here will prosper without some additional features with the possible exception of the cellar management sites. So what would I do if I was given the opportunity to lead one of these sites?
Let’s start with the plethora of wine ratings and tasting note sharing sites. I would mashup an Amazon-like recommendation engine that would present a list of wines to try based upon the ratings I have input into the system. I’d also make it super easy to order these wines in either a WineZap-like system or an online store. I also like what TastyDrop has done in this space with their rating system. For the wine recommendation sites, I’d add the rating, tasting note and social features found in sites like Cork’d and TastyDrop. For the cellar management sites, I would focus on user interface and accessibility to mobile devices like mobile phones. And finally for the blog aggregators, I would group common information together like memeorandum does for politics. Perhaps using existing Technorati tags or imposing some wine specific tagging system would automate this process (for example, if I tag a post “tasting note” it would be aggregated in a special page devoted to all tasting notes and filtered by varietal and/or region).
These are just my first thoughts on these issues and hope that others in the wine blogosphere (vinosphere?) will add to the discussion. Perhaps through this conversation we will arrive at some Wine 2.0 sites that reach critical mass and become indispensable for wine lovers.