As many of you know, I typically check to see where hits to Catavino derive from, something that has become an incredibly fun and often intriguing pastime. Last week, this little diversion just so happened to land me on a site called ScrÃƒÂ¼gy – a name which immediately makes me think of a cleaning implement more than a wine search engine.
Although the name may leave you with a quizzical expression, I believe that the creator James Jory may be on to something here. ScrÃƒÂ¼gy appears to be answering the Web 2.0 question as it applies to wine – how does one organize all the wine information on the web and feed it directly back to wine lovers? It’s a question that has been nagging at oenophiles who desperately want to get the information quickly and comprehensively without having to sort through several pages of search results. Tim at Winecast has done a great article as to whether ScrÃƒÂ¼gy will succeed or not. Therefore, I’d rather offer my feedback as to what I think of the site.
Granted, websites like Vinolin have had me excited with their comprehensive list of wine RSS feeds. It’s a great source to obtain information, but unless a large number of people begin to get involved, it’s really just a fancy feed reader. Whereas, ScrÃƒÂ¼gy not only offers an extensive list of wine RSS feeds and notifications, but also a nice AJAX interface that is clean and easy to navigate. Regardless of whether you are looking for tasting notes, wine blogs, podcasts, obscure wine bottles, wineries, articles or grape varietals, ScrÃƒÂ¼gy can present the information in an incredibly user-friendly manner. On the downside like Wikipedia it’s still lacking information in several key areas with the intention of having users and “specialists” fill the gaps. If ScrÃƒÂ¼gy is successful, it could possess an immense amount of information on varietals, regions and bodegas worldwide, making it an important resource for wine lovers of all stripes. If it does reach that point, we all will have the ability to research a grape, find the regions it grows in, the bodegas working with it and whether there is a wine for sale made from it.
Gabriella: Personally, I find three specific functions on the site to be particularly cool: site registration, wine-enabled search engine, and my personal homepage. Site registration allows you to submit your wine related podcast, blog, website, article, etc., and if ScrÃƒÂ¼gy finds it directly related to wine, it will be cataloged and indexed into their search engine. Sites that are not wine related will not be accepted. Period. Therefore, when you go to ScrÃƒÂ¼gy, you are going with the trust that what you will receive is personally reviewed wine information. Impossible to imagine someone spending the time to go through all of this information, but on the other hand, really impressive.
Now we’ve learned that all the information is manually reviewed, but what happens when we put in a term like “plastic corks” into Google? I did this today and came up 1, 480,000 hits. Page one solely was wine related, but when you hit page 3 there is a site that is selling waxing implement for skies made from cork. Obviously, this site is not wine related. ScrÃƒÂ¼gy’s site search is set up in the exact same manner as Google except that it will only bring up wine related sites. To be more specific, I received 1,956 hits in ScrÃƒÂ¼gy for “plastic cork” that were solely wine related.
Finally, let’s assume that you have reviewed a dozen or so sites and have settled on one that really hits the mark as to the information you were looking for on plastic corks. Now, you can subscribe to the site and place it on your “My ScrÃƒÂ¼gy” homepage. You also have the capability to track comment feeds posted on your favorite sites. As if this isn’t intriguing enough, you can also have ScrÃƒÂ¼gy email you when a post has been added on a particular site!
Overall ScrÃƒÂ¼gy is a big step in the right direction and we want to commend creator James Jory for taking the first step in this overwhelming task. We confidently recommend this site and hope that it does grow and take shape as James has envisioned. Like anything in life, feedback is imperative to nurture success. By you offering a comment to James critiquing your findings, everyone gains a better tool. Additionally, we would also like to hear how successful your Spanish wine searches are on his site. We intend to offer James some information on Spanish wine and varietal information as we can from time to time. Hopefully the Web 2.0 revolution can start to take a more solid shape with projects like this one.
Ryan and Gabriella