"Then, they can contribute their own notes. We all know about the Wine Spectator, Robert Parker ratings. What I want to create here -- and what I think the market really needs -- is kind of a Yahoo! movies approach, where you have the critics vs. the users. When the new Kosta-Brown Pinot comes out and Robert Parker gives it a 96, I want to have this aggregate of tasters from across the country telling me, 'That's funny; we thought it was a 92.' Wouldn't that be powerful? A cross section of the whole country telling the experts what they believe the wine is."
And there's still more -- wine education, for instance. "Dustin Jones is a protégé of master sommelier Eddie Osterland, and he's going to head up our wine ed program." But the key -- the thing that has Barnett's hopes up -- is the project's timing. "I've worked with a multitude of startup companies over the years. A bunch of them had great technology, but they didn't hit the market at the right time, and they went nowhere." Web 2.0 was one sign that the VinVillage platform could work. Beyond that, there were the 13 straight years of increased wine consumption in the U.S. -- increases achieved with minimal help from marketing. "That tells you what the wine industry could be if they really did marketing on a grand scale, and this is another key piece we bring to the industry. I think we'll offer an avenue for marketing that is coming from the pull side -- we've got users that want to consume. Most wineries are on the push side," trying to sell a product. "I think we have an interesting dynamic," says Barnett; something that could "expand the whole wine market."