I noticed over the weekend that there were quite a few new visitors from the UK (welcome!), but I couldn’t figure out why — there were no new sites in my referer logs, suggesting that either something had appeared in print, or online without a link in it. Finally, I discovered the source. An article came out on Friday in the Telegraph called Google: Seven potential threats to its dominance, about how small, specialized search engines can sometimes be better than Google within particular domains. Sure enough, there on page 2 is a brief but kind mention of Able Grape, Google alternative number seven.
I was truly tickled to see the mention, and I sincerely hope that Able Grape, in its modest way, does help you find wine information better than Google. We’ve spent over three years building specialized, wine-specific search technology and growing our 13-million-page database of over 37,000 wine sites. There’s something I wanted to clarify, though. The article seemed to imply that we would help you find stockists for particular wines. That’s not quite true. Our goal is to be the Internet’s first stop for trustworthy wine information, and to that end, we’ve excluded most retail sites. We want to avoid commercial bias to earn, and keep, your trust. We do often include importers and distributors when these sites sell to the trade and carry mostly informational content about their products. (You can find these by using the “Commerce” filter at the left of the screen. Similarly, if you’d like to find reviews and tasting notes for a wine, type its name and use the “Tasting Notes” filter, or the “Press” filter if you’re looking for a particular kind of publication — blogs, for example. And if you’re looking for the producer’s website itself, use the “Producer” filter, which will give you all the producer sites that mention your query).
Hopefully that clarifies a bit what we’re about. Here are some examples (feel free to compare with Google using the link to the right of the search box):
- Basic results for 1990 Château Margaux
(when we can, we try to list the producer’s own information first).
- Producer information for Pétrus
(note this shows all producers that mention Pétrus, but the first result is information from the producer of Pétrus, JP Moueix).
- Tasting Notes for a 1990 DRC Richebourg.
- Importers for Fattoria di Fèlsina
(do note that our list of importers is not extensive, especially in the UK).
- Lamb pairing suggestions from the press.
- Information about Pinot Blanc
- Look up the term dosage.
- 2006 Bordeaux harvest reports.
- …and so on.
Remember that Able Grape is still a work in progress! We’ve got lots of exciting new features and improvements in the pipeline, and being an engineer at heart I won’t rest until Able Grape is the best it can be! If you’ve got suggestions, comments, or questions, don’t hesitate to fire away, either here or via our feedback email. And if you’d like to be part of the Able Grape community, please register. Welcome!