Scrugy, The 800 pound Gorilla of Wine 2.0 sites?

by Tim Elliott on November 3, 2006

One of the Wine 2.0 sites I’ve been checking out for a few weeks is the oddly named Scrugy (S-”cru”-gy, get it? Me neither). Naming aside, it is one of these new breed of sites that mashes up blog aggregation, wine search, tasting notes, winery directory and a bunch more stuff into an information portal devoted to all things vino. While others have taken one or two of these features and honed them, Scrugy attempts to pull together a range of elements in an attempt to be a one-stop destination. Are they the 800 pound Gorilla of this space? Well, right now I’d say a definite maybe.

On the plus side is an attractive design and logical navigation which helps users find what they are looking for. A wine-centric search is front and center which gives users more relevant data than in more general search engines (YMMV here depending upon how search savvy you are). There are a ton of other information resources in other parts of the site with directories of wineries and appellations. But what might be the most powerful part of Scrugy is the online store which currently only features the wines in the Yahoo! store; not too broad for those of us used to WineZap and Wine-Searcher selections.

Some users will be overwhelmed with the scope of the site, particularly with the main, “New Releases” page where streams of blog posts, podcasts, wine news, tasting notes and wine boards are housed aside multiple tag clouds. There’s a lot going on here that some of us wine geeks and information junkies only dream about. You can pick these items in the separate RSS feeds and organize in your aggregator to gain more control (this is what I do) but most users will just go to the site to consume content.

Overall I think Scrugy is a good attempt at a Wine 2.0 mashup but it has a ways to go before I think it will gain the critical mass needed for long-term success. The social aspects of sites like Cork’d, TastyDrop and Wine Life Today are missing, as an example of the types of things I’d like to see here. But with so much on Scrugy already will anything else be lost in the shuffle? Time will tell. In the meantime, check it out.

  • http://www.scrugy.com James

    Thanks for the review, Tim. We’ve been hard at work on Scrugy and our recent beta launch is just the beginning. We’ve got some great features in the pipeline that we hope will continue to make Scrugy the best place to start to find anything related to wine.

    Don’t read too much into the name, though. It’s just meant to be a fun take on the combination of the words “corkscrew” and “cru”, the French term for a vineyard of distinction.

    Regarding the wine shopping features on Scrugy, we’d love to integrate with WineZap or Wine-Searcher but unfortunately those sites do not offer APIs to support the tight integration we want on Scrugy. Just passing users over to WineZap or Wine-Searcher with a redirect or hyperlink that displays search results is not the user experience that we’re after. If this changes in the future, we’ll certainly take another look.

    And you’re right about the scope of Scrugy. Given the immense amount of wine information on the web it’s a huge task to bring it all together in one place. You can be sure, though, that we’ll continue to work on the user interface to make Scrugy approachable and easy to use.

  • http://winecast.net Tim

    You’ve made a great start, James, and I hope you keep going in the same direction. Your preference for API’s and microformats is a very good thing for Wine 2.0.

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  • http://www.spittoon.biz Andrew

    I am yet to be convinced that any of these sites have a future – I just dont think all this social networking malarky is going to catch on outside the geek community…

    I admire all the work tht has gone into them but.. well there is still a big but

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