Friday, September 28, 2012

CellarTracker began almost accidentally, said Mr. LeVine, a wine collector and creator of the website.

On Wine, by Lettie Teague from The Wall Street Journal

The CellarTracker website boasts a database of 2.8 million tasting notes, plus offering a voyeuristic view of others' wine cellars. Lettie Teague explores the site and its community:   "WHAT IF THERE were a way to keep track of your wine cellar and the wines that you're drinking — and the wines that your friends are drinking as well? And what if you could browse through the contents of their cellars and even read their tasting notes — in addition to tasting notes written by the pros?

"Those are just a few of the features of CellarTracker, an eight-year-old website, cellar-software system and chat forum that has become one of the most popular Internet sites for wine collectors and casual drinkers alike. According to CellarTracker founder Eric LeVine, about half a million people visit the website each month—rising to about three-quarters of a million in the winter months.

"CellarTracker began almost accidentally, said Mr. LeVine, a wine collector and former Microsoft employee who retired from the company in 2004 at age 34. A couple of years earlier, Mr. LeVine had decided to create a software system to keep track of his wine cellar. His early design was "pretty rudimentary," by his own admission, but when he showed it to a few collector friends, they wanted to use it as well. (Most were using a laborious spreadsheet program or a cellar book written by hand.) Mr. LeVine didn't have outsize expectations about his system; he hoped for a few hundred fellow note-takers at most. "I personally couldn't imagine a smaller niche category," he said."