In geologic terms, it wasn’t so long ago that I wore all black, had a tongue piercing and loved Don Johnson – scary, I know. Now maybe those didn’t all happen at the same time, but they did happen and are part of my evolution. We all go through transitions, phases and developments. Sometimes they’re easy, effortless and exciting; and sometimes, it feels like you’ve been run over by a 10 ton bulldozer. (Flickr photo by Jibba Jabba)
Catavino has gone through several evolutions in its lifetime. From its writing style to its design, there hasn’t been an adjective, or a widget, left unturned. And to give you a sense of where it all began, let’s glimpse at a small excerpt from Ryan’s very first wine blog post on July 30th of 2004:
First post in an attempt to spread some thoughts and keep up with some friends. I’m currently in charge of a liquor store with a large selection of wines from around the world, high end and low end booze of myriad types, and over 800 varieties of beers. Married with 3 cats…I’m currently attempting to escape our city with hopes of landing abroad…(click here to read the whole post)
That was many moons ago, and though it wasn’t under the Catavino banner, it was his very first attempt to describe the wine world around him. Personal and off-the-cuff, it was Ryan’s opportunity to share his vinous experiences without a filter or an editor. This continued through mid 2007 when I came on board. At first, my anal desire for correct grammar got the best of me, becoming Ryan’s worst enemy and best English warden. But then something interesting happened, I too wanted to share myexperiences while living in Iberia, and so I did. Today, we make a fabulous, though tumultuous, team. Neither lacking in opinions or passion, we were, and are, a dynamic duo to be reckoned with. And with each transition, with each desire to improve ourselves, our research, our writing and the wine world around us, the website has changed with us.
But first, we need to thank our friends and partners at CoreFactor, the fabulous team behind this makeover. Much like our little puffin featured above, we’re jumping up and down, elated to finally have the site that is not just cobbled together from odd templates and Ryan’s minimal knowledge of PHP and HTML. With a few euros, and a lot of time, we hope we’ve put together a website that is easier navigate, faster to load, more enjoyable to read and just plain fun to look at. Thanks COREFACTOR! If you need a great site, make sure to check them out.
- You’ll notice that each category now has its very own color. And while similar to our old site, the new site entirely changes color scheme depending on the category. Click on “Food” and the page will shift to the festive red color of the tab. Click on “Explore“, the page will shift to orange. The goal behind this design is to help you navigate through the site in an easier, more enjoyable way. Granted, our design doesn’t help us when we have an article about a wine event that is also of cultural significance -whereby placing it in 2 categories – but we’re at least on the right track.
- Over the past year, we have invested a considerable amount of time and funds into our videos. Consequently, with the help of Vinus.tv, Madcat Media and our own humble flip cam endeavors, we felt it was high time to create a high quality video page that was easy navigate.
- Ryan is still waiting for someone to generously donate the Canon 5D Mark II, to help him pursue his dream of photographing all he sees. That said, his shots are not half bad, motivating us to revamp our photo page in order to highlight the places we stumble upon as we travel through Iberia. And for the record, the offer still stands if anyone has an extra 5D lying around.
- Our map pages – listing great suggestions of restaurants, hotels and wine bars in both Spain and Portugal – have not changed, other than looking shinier in their new digs! But we will be spending some time in August to update the information. That said, if anyone has any quality suggestions to add to our maps, please pipe up! There’s only two of us, so we rely on you all to lend us hand when you stumble upon delicious or unassuming treasures throughout Spain and Portugal.
- Finally, and most importantly, we are very excited to announce a collaboration with Adegga.com. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out a new tool called, Adegga Lists, that will revolutionize how wine writers display their tasting notes on their own websites. Using Adegga and AVIN technologies, we have implemented a fully searchable database of the wines tasted on this website. This tool is still a bit rough around the edges, but it is fully customizable and can be used with or without Adegga integration. If you want more information about this new tool, and how you can get a version on your site, let us know, as we’re taking limited (very limited) beta testers on board. In the meantime, please check out the new Catavino Wine Page and let us know what you think.
So there you have it! We’ve cleared a considerable amount of dead weight on the site, have added some fun gadgets for you to play with, and will be tweaking and adding some additional features in the very near future. That said, please don’t hesitate to let us know what works and doesn’t. As this site is meant to make your experience more enjoyable, only you can give us the quality feedback we need. Oh, and if you come across some funky code that we didn’t clear in a post, we kindly ask that you alert us. We are well aware that some of those little buggers escaped our vigilant hunt, but with your help, we’ll fix them.
Thanks to all of your support and do share your thoughts!
Gabriella and Ryan Opaz