It’s always hard to write about database updates for Able Grape. In even the smallest update, there are so many new sites, and so many little improvements, that I never know what to single out for mention. So I pick a tiny smattering of things, to give you a flavor of what’s new, and a few fun sites to explore, hoping to neither bore you out of your mind nor to step on anyone’s toes by leaving them out.
Today’s update is no different. There are almost 400 new sites since the beta 2 launch a couple of weeks ago, bringing us to a total of 38,682 sites by the “old way” of counting, though I’ve just switched to a more stringent way of accounting, so let’s call it 38,315. In any case, it’s 400,000 new pages, bringing us to nearly 14 million wine documents! Here’s a sampler of some goodies:
- Language detection is much improved, particularly for sites in flash, where there just wasn’t enough text for us to accurately guess the language. You can see this in results for queries like Cantina Frentana or Bairrada.
- We’ve mostly slurped in the new site of Harpers, called Talking Drinks. It looks to be a great online source for trade news and information, as Harpers has always been. Not quite sure why they decided to lose all their traffic by breaking all the old inbound links, but we should have all of the new site included shortly. In the mean time, you may see a few broken links.
- We’ve substantially beefed up our representation of the wine community in Ireland, thanks to suggestions from the kind folks at Sour Grapes and Robert Francis Wine. Look to find thousands of archival articles from the Irish Times and the Sunday Business Post, a dozen new blogs, and a smattering of other sites. As always, if I’ve missed something, please let me know.
- There’s a wide, eclectic range of other new content, from organizations like TAPAS, whose excellent seminar and tasting I attended last week, or Châteauneuf producers’ group La Mitrale, to David Honig’s The 89 Project, Wijn Top 5, Eating Leeds, Vinos de Almería, blogs of food anthropologist Rachel Black and “Gastrolinguista” Carolina Ramos, to the sites of Bodegas José Pariente (thanks to Christian from SpanskeVine) or Iridesse Wines… well, you get the point. The list is long and varied.
- There are many new and improved concepts in our concept database, from better understanding of Spain’s DO Pagos (like Pago Guijoso, Dehesa del Carrizal, or Señorío de Arínzano) to kickass results for Chacolí and millenial generation or macération prefermentaire, better results for producers like Venus la Universal, Künstler, Flavio Roddolo, variants on long names like Jorge Manuel Nobre Moreira, to common misspellings for Boekenhoutskloof or Valckenberg.
Which brings me to the point…
Able Grape may look like a search engine, but really, it’s a growing, global community of wine professionals and passionate consumers who are linked by their love for wine and a desire — or need — to find trustworthy, in-depth information. You may have noticed that many of the improvements here came from community suggestions. A user tries a query, notices that something’s missing, or that the relevance of the results isn’t what they expected, and they fire us an email. And zing! I look at it and add a site, or fix something, if I can. Or a user with expertise in a particular area sends me a great list of sites to add. And zing! in a few days that area of the wine world has a new, useful resource.
The point is this: we here at Able Grape are a small, albeit passionate team, and the world of wine is big. I need your help. The expertise of our whole community is what will make Able Grape truly great. If you see results that aren’t as good as you’d like, think about what you can add with your unique expertise, and drop us an email (address: feedback AT ourdomainname). It can even be a one-liner; we don’t stand on formalities here. Eventually, I’d like to expose the community, and mechanisms for feedback, more explicitly on the site, but in the mean time, please don’t be shy about sending email! And please take our survey, to help us understand how make can Able Grape the best it can be — and who knows, you might even win a great bottle of wine.