Capture has become the favorite online destination for 20- to 30-somethings who are new to wine and curious about it. Founded by Alyssa Rapp in 2005, the company has increased subscribers of its daily wine tips e-mail from 30,000 in January 2009 to around 130,000 now. Drawing on the popularity of sites like Facebook, Bottlenotes’ focus on social media is what makes the company unique, not to mention successful. This year, while much of the business world is still reeling from the economic meltdown, Bottlenotes expects to double its revenue over 2009, and projects that it will double it again in 2011.

But, Bottlenotes did not start out as a media platform. When first founded, Bottlenotes was essentially a wine marketing firm and e-commerce site. Near the end of 2008 though, Rapp and her team transformed the site into the community- and content-driven site it has become today. The goal, she says, was to make it something akin to a Wine Spectator of the 21st century.

Click here to read the full story.


One of our favorite wineries, Swanson Vineyards has launched a new website that presents Swanson as more of a lifestyle than just a winery. The brand already sold Swanson-branded caviar and the delectable Alexis bonbons (a delicious curry and cabernet sauvignon chocolate confection) but now the site includes more gifts. “We’re presenting a new and lively face for our wines with our new website,” explains proprietor W. Clarke Swanson. “This fresh approach with our website characterizes Swanson as a winery with elegant lifestyle choices, which is expressed by the detail and personality of our new site,” he added.

Orchestrated by the winery’s Creative Director, Alexis Swanson Traina, the Swanson Vineyards’ new site communicates the Swanson wine experience through illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme’s fanciful renderings. The website will offer new material each month and includes Alexis’ Napa, a blog written by Alexis Swanson Traina, full of tips and her personal point of view on life in Napa. Her blog will also include profiles of San Francisco Bay Area personalities in a section called Peeps & Players: currently featured are Katrina Markoff, Ira Yeager, Trevor Traina, Andy Spade, Thomas Britt, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Torryne Choate and Sam Godfrey.

Swanson Vineyards is also opening the Sip Shoppe this summer at the Rutherford, California vineyard. Billed as a candy store for adults the shop offers sips of Swanson Vineyards’ finest library vintages paired with small bites as well as gifts and wines available by the case of the bottle. Tastings include caviar, chocolates, pates de fruits (jellies) and sorbets, in mini pairings such as Swanson Vineyards Pinot Grigio served with a large dollop of Swanson Vineyards’ domestic caviar on a potato chip. The signature tasting is the Salonnière, featuring “Alexis” Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Alexis Bonbon and served with the highly delicate dessert wine Angelica.

The shoppe sells playful kits including the Newlywed Kit: six bottles of Swanson Vineyards’ special occasion wine “Just Married,” accompanied by an ostrich feather duster and a sage bundle (complete with instructions to clear out bad energy and create wedded bliss). Coming shortly, The Break Up Kit, The Stork Kit and the Please Forgive Me Kit.

Swanson Vineyards’ partners include retail genius Andy Spade; renowned illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme; interior designer Thomas Britt; illustrious chocolatier Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut Chocolate; Singer Vanessa Carlton and her exclusive stationery line (unique to Swanson Vineyards); avant-garde florist Torryne Choate; and renowned California painter, Ira Yeager. The shop opens July 15, hours are Thursday - Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm.

By Deidre Woollard | Source :: Launches New Sale Site

Filed Under Wine Websites | Comments Off


It is about time that the members-only flash sale has come to the most popular virtual source for vino. What Tablet Hotel’s private sales are to lodging,’s has launched will be the same for premium wines and champagnes: a place to buy the finest fermented elixirs at up to 70% off during a 72-hour window… or until they sell out.’s offering joins other wine sales sites such as WineTwitsDeals and the joyously named WineWoot.

Standard procedure would be to register at the site to receive daily e-mails on sales, but you can also get Twitter notifications or find out the scoops on Facebook. Last we checked, a bottle of Veuve required just $29.99, and a Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cab set you back $49.99. WineShopper is even offering a gift of Riedel glasses if you recommend enough friends to the site, but be sure to think that through - your friends might just make the deal you were after sell out more quickly…

By Jonathon Ramsey | Source ::

Spit or Swallow

Filed Under Wine Websites | Comments Off

Spit or Swallow

Spit or Swallow was born in June 2008 after consuming a few great bottles of wine from my wine collection. We visited the winelands on a regular bases and decided to start documenting our wine adventures. The blog got nominated for a Blog Award under the Food and Wine Category in February 2009 and came 3rd under the category in April 2009. After the blog awards we decided to make the blog a bit more interactive for all wine lovers and implemented facebook connect.

Facebook connect creates a personal profile for users where they can keep track of their wine experiences, the wine farms they’ve visited, their individual ratings and their favourite wines. We wanted to focus on the lighter and more relaxed side of wine and decided to call the community Wine Flies.

The website provides visitors with honest reviews of wine estates and the rating system generates the Top 10 wine estates in South Africa according to public opinion and every month we announce the top 3 wine estates for the month. Today Spit or Swallow has over 700 active users and over 3000 reviews. Social media platforms like twitter, facebook and word of mouth helped me achieve this. In February 2010 we launched another website that focus more on the local wine news. My aim with both websites are to target the general wine drinker and not necessarily the connoisseurs.

Jan Laubscher, my partner, is responsible for the development of both websites and all of this would not have been possible without him. Together we strive to share our love for wine and people with individuals like ourselves and to create a platform for others who wants to learn more about this wonderful industry.

I’ve been to over 260 wine estates across South Africa and my mission is to visit each and every estate in our country. There are over 600, so I still have a long way to go. I’ve never seen myself as a blogger (not the greatest writer) but I do like sharing my thoughts and opinion. Do we spit or swallow? Always swallow….if the wine is really that bad we just don’t take another sip.”

By Anel Grobler, creator of the website Spit or Swallow

Local Wine Events

If you’re looking for a place to taste a variety of wines and even wine and food pairings, you’ll want to check out LocalWineEvents to find local wine tasting events and meals.

Unless you’re on the mailing lists of the companies and vineyards that put on wine tasting events and meals, you’re essentially out of the loop when it comes to finding out about them. LocalWineEvents indexes tasting events by state and city and provides an overview of the event including the cost—whether a flat fee, a per ounce fee, etc.—as well as the menu for the event and whether or not food will be served. In addition each entry has contact details in the form of a web site, phone number, and/or address.

You can browse listings in a variety of ways searching—by events at a location you enjoy visiting or put on by a particular company whose events you have enjoyed. Alternately you can hit up the local calendar and browse by day to see what’s going on during the time you have available.

LocalWineEvents is free and requires no signup to use, you contact and pay the event host directly.

By Jason Fitzpatrick | Source :: Lifehacker

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