Posted on June 8, 2007 Under Food

It always surprises me how long certain industries take to adopt modern technologies that are not only relevant to their business, but can also serve to enhance it. When it comes to the internet and accessibility, the question is never if, but rather when and usually the answer is, the sooner the better. I like to say I am an intermediate wine enthusiast and up until this point have been frustrated at the lack of a single source where I can find a comprehensive list of wines and reviews, rather than just one or the other.

Andy Hund and John Kleven, two young entrepreneurs must have felt my pain too and in January 2006, they set out to remedy this problem; what resulted was Vinquire, which officially launched in April 2007. The site is, first and foremost, a wine search engine, a feat accomplished using a propietary crawler that traverses over 3,500 wine retailers so readers can be sure they get the best prices for their favorite bottle. In addition to an impressive and fast-expanding database, Vinquire’s presentation is equally appealing. The site uses a combination of Django, Javascript, and XHTML/CSS for that Web 2.0 feel. The muted colors are easy on the eyes and even though the speed can use a little help, it’s quite acceptable. My favorite part about the site is how detailed the filtering is: you can search by vendor (Albertsons, BevMo, Costco, Safeway, and my favorite, Trader Joe’s) and then even narrow it down more by price (under $10, under $20, etc).

If that’s not enough, you can add the human aspect into the equation by taking into account reviews. Using a system which they won’t divulge, Vinquire calculates a WineRank score which includes factors such as the average score by users and helpfulness scores of those reviews. I am told that professional reviews will be integrated in the next 3 months, and that’s something I am really looking forward to. I know I should really just make my own decisions when it comes to wine, but with over 550 wine reviews, user forums, a fun wine recommendation feature, and a light-hearted wine industry blog, it doesn’t hurt to get a little help from Vinquire.