I wouldn't say I'm a wine connoisseur but I really do enjoy drinking good wine. As often as possible, I try to buy wine from our local wine shop but due to convenience, more often than not, I end up buying it from a supermarket.
The problem I have (and I suspect many other people are in the same boat) is that without a helpful wine assistant, you're literally left to your own devices to navigate the "wall of wine". If all the wine was of a certain quality, like the local wine shop, this wouldn't be too much of an issue but unfortunately supermarkets have a few tricks up their sleeve to help them shift large quantities of low quality, high margin wine.
The perennial ploy used is marking up a wine way above its real value and then "discounting" it for long periods of time - often by up to 50%. This can be seen most often with mass produced wines such as First Cape (aka Cape Fear) and Kumala. The consumer thinks they're getting a great deal (50% off, bargain!!) but are in fact paying what the wine is worth (or more if they are unlucky enough to buy it when it's not on discount). Jamie Goode describes the issue well in his blog post.
To try help remedy the situation, I've decided to create a wine comparison and review site that details the wine offerings from each of the major UK supermarkets. In essence, the site will provide the following features:
1. Track price changes for each bottle of wine
Daily price tracking will allow the site to quickly highlight bottles that have a history of being repeatedly discounted (and are thus more than likely being falsely discounted by the supermarket).
2. Allow users to post reviews of wines they have tried
Building a community will allow shoppers to help guide each other as to which wines are the best value for money. This could be a little tricky to get right as peoples tastes vary from person to person but I'm hoping that a user can get the point across with the following:
- A rating from 1 to 5 hearts
- Choosing whether they would buy the wine again
- A free text comment field
3. A wine recommendation engine
Due to the issue described above, a lot of people end up finding a bottle (or type, say Merlot) of wine they like and then never deviating from that choice for fear of wasting their money.
By recommending wines either of a similar style or from consumers with a similar taste, the site can help people move out of their comfort zone and start experiencing all the wonderful varieties of wine that are available.
That's enough for now but I will be back with more as I detail bits and pieces of the creation of CompareVino.