An able way to find out more about wine

Checking out my blog statistics, this weekend, I saw a referring address I had never noticed before: ablegrape.com. It got me curious, and led me to discovering a pretty neat search engine specializing in… wine, of course.

Able Grape, which is currently in a beta version, has a lot going for it. Strong results, for one thing, since your search is automatically filtered towards pages concerned with wine, so you don’t get results featuring a law firm that bears the same name as your favorite merchant or winemaker. Good options, also, allowing you to further restrict your search to official bodies, press, commercial sites or even tasting notes, or a neat triangle next to the results, allowing you to dig deeper into the results from a particular web site that your search will have turned up.

I’ve tried it a few times, and was fairly impressed with the results. I found myself surfing towards new sites I’d never explored before, and finding very interesting information that came out on top in the results pages.

Now, there are a few kinks. For instance, you get a “next” button to look further in your search results, but no “previous”, should you want to come back. That’s a pretty basic navigation tool, guys. The frame built page is also a touch unwieldy. One of my good friends (and web professional) also pointed out to me that the business model that could propel Able Grape to success remains unclear.

Still, if it evolves well, this search engine should become a most interesting way to look for information about the wild world of wine. It’s definitely worth trying.

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Published in: on February 20, 2008 at 12:58 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hi Rémy – just came across this.

    Thanks for the kind words. It is good to hear people’s first impressions. Yes, there are some kinks (it is a beta, after all).

    But there is a previous button! It only shows up once you’ve hit “next” (since it makes no sense to go backward from the first page). Let me know if this doesn’t work for you. At any rate, if it is there, knowing it wasn’t obvious is useful UI feedback.

    And as for the business model, yes, have to figure that one out. It started as a labor of love, but obviously I’ve got to find some way to pay the bills if I’m to continue improving it. If it’s truly useful to enough people then there will definitely be a way, and I have some thoughts.

    Any more feedback/suggestions are welcome, either here or via email (my first name at ablegrape dot com).

    doug


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