When Eric LeVine came up with the idea for CellarTracker, the on-line wine inventory system, he thought it would appeal to wine geeks like himself and to people who needed to manage sizeable wine cellars. He never envisioned that he would be helping to make a revolution in the wine business
Because that's what CellarTracker has done. The number of people who visit the site far outnumbers the number of people who use the site to track their wine collections. CellarTracker has about 40,000 registered users, but 90 percent of the site's visitors are not registered -- and it gets a couple of hundred thousand unique visitors a month. Which means people aren't going to CellarTracker to mark off a wine after they drink it; they're going to CellarTracker to read wine reviews written by amateurs.
Which is mind boggling, given the way the wine world works. Wine knowledge is handed from the top down, and we're supposed to drink what our betters -- Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator, and the like -- tell us to drink. But that's not what's happening with CellarTracker. We're looking for advice from people just like us.
"These are real people, spending real money for a real bottle of wine," LeVine says. "There's a much broader audience out there than I thought, and that was my first really big surprise."
More, after the jump.