Searching for Wines

It is a fact that the number of wine labels on retail shelves and in hotel wine lists today are so large that many are confused, even intimidated, by the choice available.

By Alok Chandra

Face it, most people know only 2 kinds of wine: red, and white, and perhaps 2 labels of Indian wines: Sula, and Grover. When the average wine consumer goes to a well-appointed retail shop (“XYZ Wines”) or star hotel restaurant, he or she will be faced with anything from 50 to 250 wines – daunting even to those well-versed with the subject. And while a good hotel may have someone standing by with the knowledge to help you make a choice, the shop personnel in most retail shops just don’t have any idea about wines.
So what’s the solution? The internet, of course. There are several ways to go about using the internet to search for wines: if you want to know about a particular wine, then the obvious thing to do is to Google it and read the company literature and reviews by commentators or experts like Wine Doctor or Wine Anorak. There are also specialised wine sites like www.winespectator.com , www.wine-searcher.com, or www.cellartracker.com  that provide both reviews as well as comparative retail prices for wines listed, by vintage – the last site claims to review over 1.4 million wines!
The problem for anyone in India is that none of the sites quoted can tell you anything much about which wines are available in any Indian city, where these wines are available, and at what price. Amazingly there is no site that can even tell you what wine shops are in any city – only www.burrp.com has a limited listing for Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Calcutta, and no mention of prices (let alone ratings).
So here’s a ready-made business opportunity for someone: develop a wine-related search solution for India that is good enough for both vendors and consumers to be willing to pay to join/ be listed.
With best wishes for a Merry XMas and a Happy New Year.

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