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May 14, 2007

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I think it's a great idea. Driving people towards a community is one of the things Gary does best, so his involvement could only help corkd - provided it doesn't turn into a big WineLibrary billboard. However, I've been a CellarTracker user for a while, and after playing with corkd for a few hours, it is severly limited in it's function. It's community functions are great, but it's pure database functionality needs to be improved (and I of course emailed Gary my thoughts on that). I don't have the largest cellar, less than 50 bottles, but I find CT to be very useful in a variety of areas, from inventory, to seeing when others think the wine will drink well (definitely the most useful feature, to me), as well as others' tasting notes. Lately i've found that i've been going to the CellarTracker combined "community" rating more than any other rating out there. Also, the volume of folks using CellarTracker & the wines on it, compared with what's on corkd will be the biggest hurdle in people making the switch to corkd. If they have the ability to import a database of all the wines that WL has sold (as well as their labels), that would be a big step forward in that direction. That said, I absolutely wish GV & Team a ton of luck with it.

regardless of what comes of the site, a hearty congrats to Dan and Ben for their amazing work on cork'd and for NOT selling to the real Rupert (who probably wouldn't stay true to the core values of cork'd).

http://blog.shofr.com/2007/news/congratulations-corkd/

With all due respect, it's very unfair to mention cork'd and Cellar Tracker in the same breath. One is clearly a social network and the other is a cellar management system. Yes, CT has public tasting notes, but that is, by far, it's least useful tool. Inventory management is at its core and no one should go there to read tasting notes. Having the tasting notes, now that I have 1,000+ bottles in the system, is nice, but it's fluff.

Oh right - this was about Gary and his acquiring of cork'd! Well, on that, congrats. I hope he and others can make this a useful site, but I have my doubts about the concept of wine social networks. I think they have to find a very specific audience and cater to them properly. And I'm probably not in that audience.

Jared,

Unfair? I'm not sure I agree with that at all. Sure, the systems may have different basic uses, but there is a lot of overlap.

Maybe I don't think of CT as a real tracking system because my cellar isn't big enough to be tracked? :)

I think they do need to be spoken about in the same breath because, do people really use both? It'd take longer to do the data entry on your wines than it would to drink them! Also re: Tasting Notes on CT, I actually do find them useful. If one "professional" reviewer gives a bottle a 91, but 25 "real people" give it a combined 87, chances are, i'm not buying it - those 25 people drank the bottle, not a sip. Also, Long Island wines for example (bringin' it back to lenndevours!). They generally have zero ratings/press. Yet with CT, you have people that actually get into the bottle. Granted, I may not buy a $75 bottle based on CT ratings, but a $20 bottle? sure, why not?

Which sort of goes back to the larger argument of the 100-point scale to begin with. Whether or not the scoring system itself is justified, how in the world am I, Joe Consumer, to know that user "Jane Consumer" scores on the same "scale" that I do? Yes, I do read user reviews, but whether CT, Cork'd, Open Bottles or anywhere, unless I know the source, I have to ignore the score and just read the description.

And the opposite argument holds true for me as well... When I see Parker giving a wine a 95, I will probably avoid it. It seems that nearly everything he scores in the 85 range I like and 95 I don't. But since he's consistent, I can base a decision on that (albeit a REVERSE decision!)

So, OK, I'll budge on the CT vs. Cork'd comment and not call it unfair. But CT is still very, very different. I'll just leave it at that.

I use cork'd to keep track of my wine drinking because it's better looking and has a better interface than cellar tracker, but I always find myself going to cellar tracker for the tasting notes.

The audience on cork'd is just a little too variable, with a lot of people giving really bad wines really good scores (e.g., giving a beringer white zinfandel a 90+ score) I have no idea how you'd fix that other than try to attract more people with more experience with wine.

Corkd also needs some better way to see relationships between wines. Each vintage and each wine type is entered separately, with no relationship shown between the two. I should be able to view other wines by the same producer, or other vintages of the same wine, or other wines of the same country, varietal, etc from the page easily.

There also needs to be more quality control on the information entered. Sometimes it's just plain wrong, e.g., people claiming Bordeaux has Pinot Noir as its primary varietal.

Not that it has anything to do with this topic, I have no problem with someone giving Beringer White Zinfandel a 90 - if that's what they like. White Zinfandel's should be compared to White Zinfandel's, no? I can only assume that, given the amount that they sell, they make a decent White Zin :)

Now, back to the issue at hand...The "quality control" at CellarTracker/Corkd depends on the community, in theory -- however, the problem both of them has is, if I create a wine, and make an error, they both seem to rely on you to tell me, and me to fix it (cellartracker via database functions, corkd via email). The problem is, who says, 6 months later, I care anymore and I don't just delete the email. They both need to be a little more flexible in that regard - think wikipedia.

I've spent ALOT of time over the last few days playing with corkd after using cellartracker for the past 6 months or so. There are some things that corkd does really well (the social networking stuff, and frontend), and there are some things cellartracker does well (basic database functionality). I think, whichever one of them brings it all together first, will be the winner. The advantage Corkd now has is, they both (as far as I know) were basically community supported. Now, Corkd has a company behind it (WL) with a real incentive to put resources towards it.

I've used cork'd to compare my tasting notes with others and it's a tease -- NONE of my wines have ever come up. Have to admit that it ranks high in the search engines, which may be why Gary bought it. I do love Cellartracker but agree it's not as folksy. I think if Gary can improve the database it would be great. http://www.AWineStory.com

Gary is THE man who put my Monet's Palate 2004 Cab on the map..SPAGO is serving it at good old Wolfgang's Place but Wine Library is the ONLY wine store in the country to buy this wonderful Atlas Peak Napa valley crush..Thanks Gary..ps check out page 12 of The Wine Spectator this month they mention Monet's Palate my filmm with Meryl Streep, Daniel Boulud, Alice Waters, Steve Wynn and Michel Richard..as we would say in Monet's Palate country a Toast to Claude but in this case ( no pun implied) a toast to Gary V. thanks for all your support. Aileen Bordman

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