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05.15.2007

New Frontiers of The Online Wine World

Something very interesting is going on in New Jersey. You have to be a bit of a wine geek mixed with a little tech geek to know about this piece of news, and you might need to be both in order to appreciate it as well. But it was announced yesterday that Gary Vaynerchuck of WineLibraryTV Fame has purchased the website Cork'd. By way of full disclosure, it should be noted that Gary's company advertises on Vinography.

Cork'd is one of the many Web 2.0, or should I say "Wine 2.0" startups that is attempting to bring the power of social networking to wine lovers. Those of you who are long time readers know what I think of such web sites, and for those of you who are not, I can sum it up easily: they are doomed to fail.

However, things start to get very interesting when retail sales come into the picture, especially from one of the largest wine retailers in the country. I have no idea what Gary is thinking about -- this is a pretty big shock to be sure -- but there's a BIG difference in my mind between the business model for a community wine site, and a nationwide retail wine site with community built in.

This is certainly a move that many people in the wine industry should be watching very carefully. It will certainly make for very interesting conversation at the upcoming Wine 2.0 Conference that Gary and I will be speaking at in a few weeks.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.