Snooth brings place-shifting to wine lovers

John Shinal · April 16, 2008 · Short URL:

Wine lovers who visit the world's great grape regions usually spend a bundle loading up on varieties that they can't always find in their home region or locale.

Snooth, the wine pricing and recommendation site, has just done a huge favor to oenophiles around the globe.

The startup has rolled out a major upgrade that lets wine lovers in more than 40 countries find merchants who sell the wines they've discovered on the site.

"We were primarily a wine review site. Now you can find out where to buy the wine you find," Snooth CEO Philip James said in an interview.

Even though the U.S. has restrictive wine shipping laws that in some cases forbid shipping across state lines -- vestiges of Prohibition -- most wine retailers do ship nationally, according to James. 

Given that 35% of the sites users are overseas, the upgrade also could help Snooth toward its goal of giving users access to a global wine marketplace. 

The upgrade also included changes to the site's search engine. 

For example, if you type in the words "Bordeaux and fruity" into the Snooth search page, and see a bottle of interest among the selections that pop up, you can find merchants who sell it.

Right now, the search algorithm selects by country, or by state in the U.S., but the company has plans to eventually do it by zip code, James told me. 

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