To the average eye, the wine industry appears to be a slow-moving beast, shy of technological innovation and fond of tradition. The past decade, though, has given way to a number of innovations in winemaking, wine distribution and customer-facing communications.
TastingRoom.com, Lot18 and Snooth are all revolutionizing the way consumers try and buy wine. Read on for more about these innovative wine sites and let us know about your favorite wine sites in the comments below.
TastingRoom.com enables wine lovers to try top wines before they buy full bottles. The site offers an ever-changing list of samples, each containing six 50ml bottles. Current offerings include samplers of summer Rosés, Sonoma Zinfandels, and handpicked favorites from award-winning sommelier, Rajat Parr.
Samples tend to range from $20-30 and come in varietal, regional, celebrity and single winery sampler kits.
After trying a six-bottle sampler, users can log on to TastingRoom.com to buy their favorite wines by the bottle.
The world of private sales sites is bustling, with sites specific for fashion, home, travel and restaurants – and one of the latest kids on the block focuses on wine. Lot18 is a membership-by-invitation website for wine and epicurean products from coveted producers at attractive discounts. The site aims to cut out the middlemen and sell wine directly from wineries, drastically reducing the sales price for consumers.
Each day, the site introduces a few new sales, centered around the enjoyment of wine – these sales were once limited to wines, but now also include gourmet cheeses, meats and other epicurean goodies, alongside stemware and accessories for the ultimate wine experience.
To join Lot18, click here for a Lot 18 invitation code.
Snooth, the world’s largest wine site, has continually reinvented itself, adding a bevy of valuable features to its product since its launch in 2007.
Most recently, the site launched Wine Rack, its social layer, which enables users to better discover and learn about wines.
Wine Rack features a number of tutorials and tasting flights created for users to learn about the world of wine. Once a user has tasted a wine, he can add his tasting notes, which are easily found in the “All Wines” view and posted to his Snooth profile for other users to interact with (depending on privacy settings).
My favorite feature, though, is the Cellar, which enables users to digitally track the wines in their physical cellar, including the wine’s name, notes, value and size, along with the number of bottles the user owns.
A user’s interactions on Snooth are rewarding with trophies – an idea based on gaming mechanics to encourage users to continually interact with Snooth to learn about wine. While this may be the least useful feature of the site, it is certainly an added bonus. Who doesn’t like to receive a trophy every now and then?
These three sites continue to innovate in the wine industry. What is your favorite wine site? Let us know in the comments below.