The Rise of (or "Get on the Virtual Wine Bus, Already!")

Vinted on February 4, 2009 binned in commentary, wine buying

Now this is interesting. Well, interesting to me, anyway:

Venerable Internet tech. news site TechCrunch recently profiled (I’m an affiiate, so it caught my eye), detailing its growing popularity, and its impressive ability to secure angel funding during a very dank, dark, and dastardly economic climate. Getting featured on TechCrunch is newsworthy enough in and of itself, and the whole event garnered the attention of Kaz & Randy at I’ve had the pleasure of chatting (I say “chat” because he’s British) with founder Philip James on a few occasions, and he is a generally approachable and nice fellow, so Snooth’s success has been fulfilling to witness from a distance.

Apparently, according to TechCrunch and itself, is now the largest and fastest growing (in terms of website visits) wine community website. SNooth is now even bigger than, which lacks the social media aspects of Snooth, and is still battling perception issues from over a year ago when they arguably put their own interests well above those of wine consumers and retailers.

What I found most interesting about the recent lovefest was not Snooth’s success, but how the website has been classified.

TechCrunch called it a social wine review site.”

While this is certainly true, it’s not the complete picture.

Folks, let’s be clear: Snooth is in the business of selling wine. I know that it says on their home page that they don’t sell wine. And they don’t – not directly. But the fact is that they are in the business of getting wine into your hands, through retailers whose selections are featured in their search results.

And they do it well enough – and integrate it so well with the best aspects of social wine networking (sharing reviews and recommendations) – that they are seeing huge success during a time when being relevant on the Internet at all means being involved in social networking. is not the Future of Internet wine salesit’s the Present. If you want to sell wine on-line (despite the headache introduced by arcane and unconstitutional state-run alcohol distribution monopolies getting in your way), then you’d better well understand the model that is quietly (well, not so quietly now I suppose) perfecting.

The King ( is dead. Long live the King (!






  • Bob Dwyer

    I’ve checked out Snooth a couple of times but I haven’t invested the time to see if it adds value to my life. I live in MA (home of many arcane an unconstitutional wine shipping laws) so shopping for wine online isn’t fruitful.

    About 18 months ago, I made a decision to go with Corkd for community wine tasting notes. That turned out to be a bad decision I think (no development during that time) and I’ve since migrated to CellarTracker. I’ve been very impressed with CellarTracker on a number of levels.

    I think it’ll be interesting to watch this space unfold over the next year. Will CellarTracker be able to extend its reach to become a niche social networking site site? Does Eric even want to do that?

    Or will a newer site that was built from the ground up to be a social networking site take the lead? We shall see.

  • Philip James

    Hey – thanks very much for the great article. And, well spotted on the misnomer “social wine review site” – we call ourselves a “social wine comparison shopping site”, which admittedly is a bit of a mouthful.

  • Andrew

    Glad to see a major US wine blogger using the service; I’m finding it great fun and keep discovering new functions.

  • Andrew

    PS are you on the system? Can I be your friend :-) ?


  • Amy Atwood

    Snooth has indeed had an impressive rise to stardom in the past few months. The website rehaul was much appreciated and embraced.

    Now lets see what happens when Amazon enters the fray later this year……

  • Anonymous

    Hi there! Yeah Snooth’s pretty good on selling wines, congrats to Philip!

    We are a little bit more social network oriented at Stop by and give us your comments! Cheers.


  • Joe Roberts, CSW

    Thanks, all! Sorry return comments have been slow in coming as I've been on the road.

    I rarely use, actually – mostly because I live in PA so they can't take advantage of the entire service as I can't be shipped any wine that I pay for…

    I've tried services like &, and while I'm not a very active participant, I like CT (even though the reviews seem really, really tough there).


  • paswines

    More often than not, when I look at a wine on Snooth, there are no comments, no tasting notes, no information at all. What’s the big deal with them?

    Of course, I can’t figure out an easy way to get my wines uploaded onto the system. If they did a sweep like, I could get all my wines online immediately – and they ALL have some tasting notes.

    Why can’t they get their technical act together?

  • Aldo

    Perhaps some of you guys would like to help out a bit as beta users? We are a Dutch winecommunity and plan on launching in English and French soon.

  • Gary "Iron" Chevsky

    I am on Snooth. I sometimes comment on their forums. Snooth does a marvelous job SEO'ing their content, so that it shows up on Google all the time. But on a few occasions I actually clicked through from Google to find detailed info and prices for specific wines, Snooth didn't have it even though they had a "page" on that wine, but I had to go elsewhere to find real info. I come back occasionally to see how they progress, and I wish Snooth great success, but they still have lots of work to do…

  • 1WineDude

    Funny you should mention that – just this past weekend I had the exact same experience, and I was thinking that it was a wasted opportunity for Snooth that they didn't have more usable info. on the wine that I was searching about…

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