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Friday, June 29, 2007

Better drinking through Snooth?

The Web has proven to be a boon for the consumer. Shoppers can instantly compare prices on similar items to get the best deal, and they can find evaluations from product users before making a selection. While magazines like Consumer Reports used to be about the only avenue comparison-shoppers had, now they can increasingly turn to user-driven sites like for advice.

This has happened in the world of wine, too. While wine ratings used to be the exclusive domain of the professional critics at the Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and other publications (see links on the sidebar to the left), sites that feature ratings by amateurs are now popping up on the Web.

One of the most interesting of these is snooth, which uses user and publication ratings along with the company's own algorithims to not only rate wines but to actually make personalized suggestions based on individual preferences.

The way it works is this: You create an account, which takes just a few minutes. Then you rate at least five wines; based on your responses, snooth will then make recommendations on what other wines you might like. The more wines you rate, the more accurate the recommendations should become.

There's no charge to become a snooth member. The company intends to make money by partnering with wine merchants, both Internet-based and local, by pointing users to places that can provide them with the wines they want to buy.

Snooth is currently in beta, and is still in the process of being refined. It's fun and interesting to use, and has the potential to become a very useful tool for making wine-purchasing decisions. Go check it out.
M. Zane Grey, 10:21 AM