Cellar Tracker, Corkd, VinCellar Review

The work I do for my day job got me thinking about wine tracking / wine reviewing database sites. A recent project I was managing mashed together information from 17 web sites creating one global intranet site where 320,000 people view over 21 million pages each month. Over the weekend we launched the site and with a few minor glitches we were live for all to see on Monday.

Through my recent journey of wine reviews and wine blogging, I’ve discovered a need for a repository for the information. At the current pace, I’ll have a collection of 250 reviews by the end of the year. For me, keeping track of and referring to this information needs to be in a simple to use format. While many wine tracking sites are available, I’m reviewing my use of three: Cork’d, Cellar Tracker, and Vincellar.

Each of these sites has its strengths but I’m reviewing them based on my business requirements.

  • I want a site that has easy entry of tasting notes, search of existing entries and easy recall of existing entries for comparison
  • I want a site that allows me to easily slice and dice my entries by date, grape, price, score, etc.
  • I want a site that is smooth, easy to navigate, and is not clunky or disjointed
  • I want a site that provides the greatest exposure to the wineries being reviewed
  • Nice to have: Connection to other wine lovers

Do you have a wine tracking site that you use? What do you like / not like about it? Let me know in the comments.

VinCellar

VinCellar stats indicate 74,000 users, nearly 600,000 cataloged wines and over 38,000 tasting notes. VinCellar’s unique feature is the ability to catalog, track and even sell your wine through their site.

The Good:

The user interface of VinCellar is spectacular. The tabbed navigation allows for easy access to your cellar, tasting notes, and the community. Well placed buttons facilitate quick entry of new wine and updating “consuming” wine from your cellar. Overall the navigation is smooth, intuitive and contains some unique features.  Each of the database collections is easy to sort, slice and dice for quick analysis of the wine entries.

What I Love:

VinCellar seems to love dashboards. I love dashboards. One of the coolest things for me is the tasting note dashboard that shows a synopsis of the entered wine including web pricing, community tasting note averages, other users who own the wine, and even a quick search menu of everything from Able Grape, Snooth, Wine Spectator and Wine Zap.

What I Don’t Love:

The lack of active users and tasting note entries often returns zero matches for comparison. Use of the search fields does not auto-populate with the data base. The community aspect seems to be focused on buying and selling wine, rather than sharing wine experiences.

Cork’d

Cork’d aims to be the “Simple way to review and share wine.” Cork’d has over 50,000 users. At publish of this article I was unable to validate the number of reviews in the database. Cork’d thrives on being a place where users can share and have a social experience with their wine tasting.

The Good:

The Cork’d interface is bright and clean. Users can easily create profiles, add buddies and use Cork’d as  a “Facebook” for wine conversations. Cork’d is also great at wine education and awareness with their database of grape profiles, winery profiles and the newly launched Cork’d Content that showcases articles about various wine topics.

What I Love:

I love the extensive database of wine and the ease of adding wine that is not already in the database. The format is also very conducive to conversation with other users through the discussion thread format on each database entry.

What I Don’t Love:

The navigation feels clunky and a little outdated. It is not easy to move from task to task, search or filter database entries, and slice and dice my existing entries. While I enjoy the conversational format and feedback of reviews, it takes too much time to find a consolidated list of comparative reviews. The database of reviews seems slightly larger than VinCellar but still returns zero results on some searches.

Cellar Tracker

Cellar Tracker contains the largest database collection of the three boasting nearly 100,000 users and 1.2 million tasting notes. Cellar Tracker is simple in form and function and its users are active. Wine collections can easily be cataloged, tracked, and the data can be sliced and diced seven ways to Sunday.

The Good:

The best part of Cellar Tracker is the vast amount of comparative data and the ability to filter it. The reports tab also provides an incredible amount of useful information about your cellar, tasting notes, and the community.

What I Love:

The search fields auto populate to aid in searching for the exact match. This feature helps to eliminate duplicate selection as it leads you more quickly to the selection you’re looking for. While on a selected wine (tasting note page) you get a vast amount of information including the ability to bid on user wines for auction.

What I Don’t Love:

Cellar Tracker is the most minimalistic in design. What the database has in data it lacks in navigation, and interface. The text based design is a distraction (to me) and makes using the site cumbersome.  Links on the site indicate that a new design is being launched in February (that’s this month).  The site doesn’t easily offer a way to connect or converse about various wines.

The Synopsis:

VinCellar has the best interface with the most effective and visual interaction with the data.

Cork’d has the most social site and a robust wine education component.

Cellar Tracker has the most extensive user group and data base.

I’m going to enter all my existing reviews (currently 70) into each site and experiment more with the best solution. In the end it may be necessary to use two or more of these sites to provide the greatest exposure to the wine reviews and the wineries.

What are your thoughts?

drinknectar

Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

31 comments on “Cellar Tracker, Corkd, VinCellar Review

    1. drinknectar

      Oh, great another one that I need to look at :) – what do you like about it, Chris?

      Reply
  1. Steve Paulo

    I’ve used Cork’d for a while, and never one of the others. I’m actually considering writing up my own real quick to keep the Notes From The Cellar reviews in, but it would just be for me. Best part about rolling my own is I get to make it exactly what I want :)

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Have you found using Cork’d to be clunky when trying to slice the entries? I love some of the other functionality but looking for online excel type functionality. You review a lot of wine, are you uploading them all?

      Reply
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  3. Chris @ Wine a Day

    Oh, great another one that I need to look at – what do you like about it, Chris?
    ———————————————————————————–
    I find it easy to use and a similar look and feel to other social media applications.

    Reply
  4. Jim Wilkerson

    Useful post, Josh. I used CellarTracker for a few weeks a couple years ago, but stopped because it was clunky. I do use Cork’d now and try to upload all my blog post review into their system. I like it because it’s easy to add my stuff and because it feels more like you’re sharing with people, not just adding to to a database. But I haven’t tried to do much analysis or retrieval of data/content. I’ll look forward to your next post on this. Cheers.

    Jim (@vinegeek)

    Reply
  5. Ron

    I’m only using Corkd. I looked at a whole bunch of them, but didn’t feel like putting in the time to review them all. I probably picked it b/c of Gary V, I’ve been using it for over a month, and it’s good enough. I like the occasional interactions and comparing tasting notes on particular wines.
    I admire your time intensive experiment. Keep us updated on future findings.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Jim – I agree with you on seeing the interaction with other people. It is a nice validation that people care AND I’ve received some good recommendations from other users too.

      Ron – I too chose Cork’d because of Gary V. It works for easy uploading – I think with a few tweeks to their interface and some marketing they could have a stellar product.

      Josh

      Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Eric – Thanks for stopping by. I do mention the launch of the redesign in the post (toward the end). We are all looking forward to it. Great work and a labor of love, I’m sure.

      Reply
  6. Eric LeVine

    Duh, You *did* mention the coming redesign. Sorry, missed that. (Too busy working to the redesign to read clearly before my morning coffee…)

    BTW, I should point out, if you have an existing repository of tasting notes, these can be bulk imported to CellarTracker as described here: http://www.cellartracker.com/ow.asp?BulkImport

    The video demo shows interactivity about to come. (Yes it is coming this month–I just posted my ‘alpha’ last night, not open yet.)

    If you want a repository for your notes I really encourage you to look at the summarized views. For example here are my 4,424 tastings notes over time:
    http://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?table=NotesTime&iUserOverride=1

    Or by region:
    http://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?table=NotesRegion&iUserOverride=1

    Or by producer:
    http://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?table=NotesProducer&iUserOverride=1

    The combinations are endless.

    Thanks, Eric

    Reply
  7. Steve Paulo

    Josh, for a long time I tried adding every review I did on NFTC to Cork’d, but I fell off that wagon not long ago.

    Reply
  8. Jo Diaz

    I just left this as a response to you on my blog, but I also want to leave it here, so you don’t have to go back to wine-blog… or miss it…

    “Josh, I can’t even begin to tell you how great it is (to be close to events in CA), but I try to with this blog. It’s because of all these great things going on out here that I wanted a blog… So I could personally share these experiences and others, who could live them vicariously. I’ve spent most of the morning organizing my own event… Imagine being able to create your own event (43 wineries, 33 restaurants – with the best of the best)… It’s truly an amazing thing, Josh, and you’ve picked up on it.

    “I feel blessed to have all of my connections and relationships. And I enjoy the ride, including the bumps. It all adds to the experience.

    “If you’re ever out here, let me know. We’ll take you around in one of our “car” days. We’ll go visit someone amazing… like we did with Sean Thackrey, Steve Heimoff, and Hardy Wallace. Jose and I also took Sonadora and her husband out for a day (Napa – Stags’ Leap, Quixote, and Judd’s Hill). They returned to a Judd’s Hill B-B-Q the next day as their guests.

    “It helps that I’m intimately connected with so many through my PSILY group… access at the top, which makes these days really magical. It appears to me that you’d be a perfect fit for one of these days.

    “Let me know. It was the invite to Sonadora and Hardy Wallace that set it all into motion. You next?”

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Jo – thanks so much for the invite. It may have to wait a little while as the wife and I have a few trips already lined up in WA (Chelan, Woodinville, Bloggers Conference) and we have a big trip to NYC this summer with the kid. Money and vacation time only go so far.

      Josh

      Reply
  9. Stuart

    I’ve been using CellarTracker for a few months now and I like it a lot. I recently (finally) got my cellar inventoried. I was thrilled with how easy it iwas to add new wines. OK, the user interface in the current version isn’t the easiest, but once I figured out how to do it, it went really quickly.

    A big point for me is that it is very fast. Not sure what Eric’s backend database server is, but it is speedy!

    The new user interface looks to be a really good improvement.

    I also use the Cor.kz application for my iPhone. That’s really handy for accessing my inventory in CellarTracker remotely.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Stuart – I agree about the speed and the general consensus is that people are truly excited about the upcoming BETA release (see Eric’s comments). I’ll have to look into Cor.kz but I use a blackberry.

      Reply
  10. Michael

    I’ve been using CellarTracker for a few years now and have come to rely on it! I love it. While I have not looked at the other sites ( I will as soon as I finish typing this) CellarTracker seems to do everything I’m looking for!
    Ooh! A mobile app would be awesome! …FYI, I use a Palm Pre NOT an iPhone!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Michael, thanks for stopping by, maybe a mobile app is something that Eric from Cellar tracker is working on. That would be cool! I know Cork’d has been saying one is “coming soon” but haven’t heard word yet.

      Reply
  11. andrewsi

    I’ve been using Corkd a bit lately because of the great community there as well as the social networking aspects – plus I readily admit to being a vayniac and want to do what I can to support the project….

    Still, when it comes to cellar management and serious reviews, I rely on CT – there is no comparison at this point, CT is the clear winner to me. It’s a great product, I’ve made voluntary payments to support it because I think very highly of it.

    Would love a BETTER iphone app from either service – cor.kz is OK at best, don’t count me as a fan though.

    That being said, the interface for CT doesn’t bother me. The minimalistic design appeals to me at some level (but I’m an engineer, so take that for what it’s worth).

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Ahhh, yes, Andrew – the Vayniac syndrome. I’m as guilty as you. A lot of my participation has to do with connection to his mission too. I understand the engineer comment. My dad is Dilbert – enough said.

      Reply
  12. Darren

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using CellarTracker for a year and a half now. Tried Corkd for awhile and didn’t like it. Looking forward to the redesign of CT, which from what I have seen, will make it even easier to use and prettier :). Most of my wine friends use CT, so it’s fun to see what they have and what they are drinking. Highly rec!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Looks like the majority opinion here is Cellar Tracker (not that 10 opinions is a majority). Darren, I look forward to the release of the new version as well. Being in web design, I understand the psychological value of “pretty”

      Reply
  13. Lindsay Ronga

    Josh, great post and thanks for the feedback everyone. We still have major improvements to make – as you pointed out – and want ppl to use the site b/c it kicks ass not *solely* b/c you are vayniacs (although THANK YOU no matter what for your support). We will get there!! Thanks again for the feedback and keep it coming, it means more than you know. Lindsay

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Lindsay, thanks for stopping by. I agree, feedback and user testing are always key to providing an improved product.

      Reply
  14. Markmye

    Nice review done here. I think with Cellartracker’s new site, it will integrate social media, smooth interface, and the monster database to back. It will for now be the clear leader in wine tracking. Look forward to it for sure

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      I agree, it’s going to be pretty cool! From the sounds of it Eric is very close to beta launch (end of February)

      Reply
  15. Mike Denman

    I am a UK online wine merchant developing a new website at the moment. I like Adegga a lot but it is a fair bit behind the others in terms of users and reviews. I want to be able to integrate with one of the social sites so that customers can access existing reviews of our wines through our site and add their own reviews.
    Adegga seem to have this functionality (and plenty more besides) and I am tempted to back them despite the limited data at the moment but I would love to know if Cellartracker/Vincellar could be of help to me in a similar way. Difficult to work out how from browsing the 2 sites. Perhaps the new look Cellartracker will answer my prayers.
    Certainly suggest you have a good look at Adegga and its use of the AVIN system is also very interesting.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Mike, I appreciate the recommendation. I will take a peek at Adegga. It may be worth your time to talk to Eric LeVine of Cellar Tracker @cellartracker on Twitter.

      Reply
  16. Mike Denman

    Thanks. I will do that.

    Reply

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