is ten years old

Article date: 27 September 2016 is ten years old

The idea behind began to form as I wandered amilessly up and down the wine aisles at my local supermarket. I’d read the wine reviews, I’d tried to make a mental note to buy such-and-such wine, but, without fail, I’d forgotten its name. So there I’d be, eyes slightly glazed over from staring at bottles, pondering the half price offers – were they really worth the full price? – and weighing up if I should choose by country, or try a grape I’d vaguely heard before? If only I could remember the wines which had been recommended, then I wouldn’t have to torture myself with “should I, shouldn’t I?”. If only there was some way of looking up reviews before heading to the supermarket. And that’s when it hit me. Why don’t I make a service which does exactly that?

The service launched in April 2006 and ten years later it does pretty much the same thing it did back then. Every weekend I trawl through wine reviews, filter the prose into its component parts – wine name, price, supermarket, grapes, taste, country, reviewer, etc – and upload to the site. 500 weekends have resulted in thousands of wines and hopefully helped thousands of people find a good wine in a supermarket.

I set some objectives and principles at the start. There had to be absolute trust. None of the wines on the site were to be personal recommendations. Only wines which had been reviewed in the national press would be included. That way most people would be able to get access to the original review. If wines were recommended at their offer price, they should show this. Readers should be able to leave their own reviews.

One last objective: the site had to make money. It’s a costly thing to run. So I allowed affiliate marketing – the ‘buy now’ buttons. I was happy that any revenue made in no way compromised the independence of the site. The principle would remain the same – only wines recommended by independent experts in the national press would be included.

It was always intended that users would take with them the list of wines they wanted to buy at the supermarket. I had it in my mind this would be a piece of paper, a few names written down after a quick browse on the site. The service was launched before smart phones were available. It was an app waiting to be an app. Now, anyone with a smartphone no longer has to rely on scribbled pieces of paper. Best of all, the app has pictures of the wines (well, for the supermarkets that sell online that is).

Thank you to everyone who uses the site or has bought the app. I hope it’s of service and continues to be for years to come.

Edward MacDermott