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.