You can’t do it all at once. Life is a series of small steps. And if you believe that any project that kicks off today will have success tomorrow, well, be prepared for disappointment. This is my mantra to every client we take on, “Start your blog today, work on it, and eventually, if you invest enough of yourself, people will reward you by paying attention.” Clearly, our friends at Adegga, a Portuguese startup, are firm believers in this philosophy.
Bootstrapping is when you start a business without venture capital, or a heavy investment, building instead, from good old elbow grease and a bit of self sacrifice. You look for help where you can find it, and you trade services with others who are in a similar position. Catavino is an exercise in bootstrapping, and we are proud to call ourselves friends with the Adegga team – united disciples of this philosophy. Over the past few months, Andre Ribeirinho, Andre Cid and Emídio Santos, have paved the way in exemplifying how a little vision and lot of persistence can eventually lead to success.
So what is Adegga? Well at its core, its a social tasting note site. In Adegga, you can leave notes on wines, manage your personal wine cellar, and participate in a community that is growing daily. Granted, we know there are plenty of social tasting note sites out there, and trying to keep track of them all is an exercise in futility. That said, this post will not attempt to answer the question on which one is best, but rather why Adegga is useful.
In truth, we at Catavino use three different tasting note sites for 3 separate reasons: Cellartracker, the behemoth site with a gigantic database where we can find just about any wine we’re tasting is perfect for our main note taking; Snooth, where we can find merchants anywhere in the world for any wine we mention (a task that is gigantic in proportion and I thank Phillip for his hard work on this task); and finally, Adegga, where we support its inclusive attitude towards wine bloggers.
At the root of what will eventually lead to Adegga’s future successes is a number called an AVIN. This 13 digit number is their solution for wine data organization problems. All of you bloggers/wine lovers out there know how notoriously difficult wine can be to define when looking at a label. There are different quality classifications from country to country. Some countries will allow the winery to mention grape varieties, while others cannot. There are instances when the wine name is very different from the winery name, or the names are the same but displayed in different ways. Obviously, this is a nightmare for wine sites that try to build a comprehensive database. User generated wine information ends up a mix of all systems in the end and duplicate wines are par for the course. The AVIN attempts to solve this issue by assigning a “barcode” to every wine, which will later cull any of the mis-entered wines and merge them together. Additionally, permanent redirects have been installed allowing the user entering an incorrect wine name to be redirected to the correctly entered name.
Apart from this, there is another neat and relatively new tool that Adegga has added to their site in an effort to reward wine bloggers for their contributions to the online wine community. If you are a wine blogger writing an article on a wine, add the AVIN for that wine in either the tags or in the post itself. Once published, the AVIN will signal Adegga to automatically reference your article as a resource on that specific wine page in Adegga. Check out this Port wine and notice how Catavino shows up. For bloggers, this is a great way to make sure your posts are appreciated and discovered by other wine lovers. Not to mention Wineries can add these to there blog posts so that current information can be provided immediately to wine consumers.
Another great service on Adegga is the ability for wineries to manage their own profile. This tool acknowledges that wineries should be a part of the conversation, allowing them to not only be better informed of what people are saying about their wines, but also ensures that if a winery chooses to participate, they can check to see if: the photos for the wines listed are correct, that their winery profile is up to date, and that they can then drive users to their own sites to learn more. Now wine lovers can follow a winery they love in multiple ways and wineries can see brand loyalty grow.
However, I do have a few problems that I know are being worked on but that throw a small wrench in the usability of their site. Number one is design. This is being corrected, and thanks to some fellow bootstrapping friends, the design should be revamped in the near future. Number two is data, Adegga is still young; therefore, the number of wines in the database is still relatively few. And although this is changing fast, it’s an inevitable problem with this type of site in its early stages. But at this point, as you add wines to Adegga, your notes and blog posts will be some of the first that people will see. Finally, a few other things that I think should be added:
- Varietal information on wine entry forms: For some wines, this is very important.
- Better personal cellar management: I want more locations, drinks, and sorting options. Currently, I’d suggest Adegga for wines consumed, and not your extensive cellaring goals
- And a personal annoyance for me: Keep me logged in! I really don’t mind being logged in, and I hate having to log in each time I visit.
Otherwise, I’m excited by what they are doing, and I would urge people to check them out. Like I mentioned before, we’ll be using multiple systems, but for someone just getting into wine, this is definitely not a bad place to start. If you are a winery, especially one with a blog, I would HIGHLY suggest you VISIT this site. There are too many good tools here for you to ignore, and by participating in a site like Adegga, you are only helping to spread your image further.
So in recap, Adegga is still growing, as a result of the team’s never-ending energy and drive to make the site more user-friendly, more stream-lined and more social. Not to mention that Andre, the lead developer, is always open to feedback. And if the AVIN tool interests you, you might want to read the conversation happening over at the OWC about it’s usefullness.
To hear more information about Adegga, take a moment to watch Andre Ribeirinho’s and Moses Mehraban’s interview at the Going-Solo Conference held in Lausanne last month.
Andre Ribeirinho and Moses Mehraban at Going-Solo Lausanne 2008 – video powered by Metacafe
Update! Andre just pointed me to a post on the Adegga blog that is worth looking at. Turns out for Wine blog wednesday this month they did not have time to participate, but Andre did want to contribute. So he took the idea that Dr.Debs had of a tag cloud and made it even better! Check out the wine tag cloud he created where each tag links to blogs that use the tags listed! Pretty cool and just another example of how Adegga cares about the blogs that will eventually feed it.