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May 12

My Virtual Wine

I received an email today from Logabottle.com suggesting that my readers and I might be interested in joining. I’d already read about Logabottle on Fermentation, so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar. I have to say I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusions as Tom.

I’m a devoted user of CellarTracker. I discovered it at the perfect moment in time, when I was feeling frustrated over my books of random tasting notes. CellarTracker put my wine at my keyboard, which is one of my comfort spots. Not only that, I could access my cellar, and update it, from anywhere I could use a computer. My favorite thing about CellarTracker is the user community. I love seeing how other people feel about a wine and why. It’s so interesting. If you view two tasting notes for a Tempranillo, you’ll see two totally different perspectives. I also love the ability to backup my cellar off-line and create a myriad of reports. CellarTracker is a $20 shareware donation. I assume you could use it for free as well, but once I’d entered over 50 bottles, I sort of felt obligated to send in my donation. CellarTracker has been around the longest, and is therefore the most fleshed out and robust of the affordable choices out there. It’s also a labor of love for its creator, and I respect that.
More virtual cellars after the jump –>

My loyalty to CellarTracker established, I also want to say that if WineFetch.com develops more community, they could quite possibly steal me away. WineFetch.com is a neat concept. It’s main purpose seems to be to grow your cellar, as opposed to simply tracking. Typing "Lafon-Rochet" into the search engine brought up several places, and prices, where I could order a Chateau Lafon-Rochet Bordeaux. The vintages went all the way back to 1960. WineFetch has good import and report utilities as well. The community aspect is what is missing. However, they have a pleasant user interface and user interface is a place where CellarTracker is lacking. WineFetch also has a nifty tool where you can get an RSS feed to track entries (Wine stores) for a bottle in which you’re interested. WineFetch, by the way, is free.

That brings me to Logabottle. Logabottle has a beautiful user interface and a growing wine community. By definition, they are aggressively performing what I call underground marketing. It’s marketing via blog and user community and tagging. (I’m currently working on a campaign for an instructional design workshop in the same way. It’s cheap and effective.) Logabottle is also free. The site only launched in February, so despite the nice UI and ease of use, it isn’t very robust yet. Some of the features are overkill. For instance, I think the Google Maps addition is cool, but not necessary. Some of the features are great, such as a strong mobile version. CellarTracker also has a failing in that it has mobile access that is not very mobile. My access to CellarTracker via Blackberry has yet to help me while standing in the local wine shop, whereas I might be able to more feasibly use the mobile access from Logabottle. Logabottle, however, is missing some key things, such as the ability to generate reports and an extensive help file. God, I’d love to document the application for them. That would be a project that would retain my interest. What a great mix of career and hobby that would be!

In the end, Logabottle has great potential, but isn’t at a point where I can be torn away from CellarTracker. Once Logabottle strengthens its features and establishes itself, and a community, it will definitely become a contender in the virtual wine cellar area. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye on it. As a techie, I enjoy watching the innovation in this area. As each of these virtual cellars keeps developing, it should start encouraging all of them to really push the envelope. Isn’t innovation grand?

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Posted by Michelle at 8:45 am in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “My Virtual Wine”

  1. It’s too bad that Logabottle breaches user’s privacy by revealing the email address of every user TO every user!
    See this:

  2. Jon says:

    First off, I want to apologize personally for the mistake that we at logabottle.com made sending out an e-mail which made approximately 30% of our user e-mails visible to each of the recipients. As you mentioned, it was unprofessional, and we’re very sorry it was sent as it was.
    We do value our user’s privacy, and that is why we do not e-mail them frequently. In this case, we simply made a mistake.
    We’re a small team at logabottle.com, and we were excited that we had completed some new site features we thought people would really like. In our haste to tell everyone about them we made a mistake sending the e-mail.
    So once again, we sincerely apologize for sending the e-mail as we did. However, we still stand by our website, as one of the best user interfaces available on the Internet to store and share your wine experiences. Never forget a great bottle of wine.

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