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A Better Website for Wine Lovers

Redesigned WineSpectator.com offers improved tools, easier use and more interactivity

Posted: August 5, 2009

As the wine community continues its vibrant growth online, WineSpectator.com is evolving to meet new needs and encourage more engagement among wine lovers. A redesign of the site, launched on Aug. 5, delivers improved tools, easier use and more interactivity.

Within the site itself, a fresh look showcases the unmatched breadth and depth of its content, from at-a-glance lists of new wine ratings to up-to-date vintage charts to games and expert Q&As. Improved navigation and a smarter site search, with results grouped by category, aim to help visitors handily find the information they need. A newly streamlined version of the Personal Wine List makes it easier for members to manage their wine cellars.

The addition of comments sections to many free-access news and feature stories invites more communication among wine lovers and interaction with Wine Spectator's editors. (Only members may post comments, but all visitors may read them on these articles.)

In addition, WineSpectator.com is reaching out to the wider Internet community through popular social media sites. Wine lovers can follow feeds of many of our free Web site updates—including Daily Wine Picks and breaking news—on our Twitter page, and become fans of Wine Spectator on Facebook, where they can get site updates and interact with other fans. The addition of a "share" option on WineSpectator.com's free articles makes it easier for visitors to post links on their own pages or favorite sites.

Originally launched in 1996, WineSpectator.com is the authoritative source for wine information on the Web. Original content—including feature stories and selected wine ratings that are free to all visitors—is posted daily. Members enjoy access to more than 217,000 wine ratings, along with exclusive tasting reports, auction prices, editors' blogs and the Insider and Advance ratings newsletters. For more information, take a site tour.

Note to WineSpectator.com members: To access all the features of our new site, you will need to log in again, even if you had previously selected the "keep me logged in" option. If you forgot your password, please visit Customer Care.

Paul Ferrari
Arlington, MA  —  August 5, 2009 8:23am ET
I search by producer and vintage (i.e. Jadot 2006) --- on this new site I get wines from Jadot from other vintages. Please tell me how to limit my search string to just that vintage.

Thanks, Paul
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 8:27am ET
Hi Paul, I take it you are using the full Site Search. Try using the Wine Ratings Search only -- accessible in the pulldown from the top bar, at the top of the homepage, or under the Wine Ratings Search on the nav bar.

If you search by matching all words, which is our default setting, you should only get Jadot wines from the 2006 vintage. Alternatively, you can use the Expanded Search version and select the vintage in the pulldown menu.

Thanks for the feedback,
Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Paul Ferrari
Arlington, MA  —  August 5, 2009 8:41am ET
Auction price database -- for whatever reason the auction prices from Q1 2009 is not available as content. As a customer, I am not happy with the changes to your website -- pretty simple here, you are eliminating content and decreasing ease of use & functionality.

Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 9:01am ET
Dear Paul,

In this case, the data was correct, but the headers were wrong. We've fixed the display and apologize for the error. We're certainly not trying to eliminate content.

The new site was only launched at 7 am ET; please bear with us as we finish checking everything. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback; it helps us track down any remaining glitches that much more quickly.

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Dr-mrs Edward Loniewski
Plymouth, MI. USA —  August 5, 2009 11:00am ET
I'm confused with the new website Where do I find the Insider and Advance that I enjoy reading?
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 11:28am ET
You can now find the Insider and Advance under the Wine Ratings section of the nav bar. Links to both are also on the homepage, at the bottom in the Members section.

If you are signed up to receive the email alerts for those newsletters, you will continue to receive them. If you are not signed up for the email alerts but want to receive them, you can go to Customer Care, log in to your account and change your Permissions settings.

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Bob Brown
Clarendon Hills, IL —  August 5, 2009 12:04pm ET
After your last "improved" website I had to re-enter every wine in my personal wine list that didn't have a Wine Spectator rating to enable my list to sort by winery in ascending order. When I tried that sort today, the first wine listed was Willakenzie followed by Hendry, followed by Seghesio, followed by Ironstone, etc.. This system doesn't help me if it only sorts wines Wine Spectator has tasted. How can I sort my existing list (241 wines) by winery in ascending order?
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 12:19pm ET
Dear Bob,

At the top of your PWL, you should see three pulldown menus -- one that lets you select your list and two that define the sort order. You can select Winery and Ascending to show them in alpha order.

When you enter wines that Wine Spectator hasn't rated, you have the option to fill out a "sort by" field that determines how that wine name will be listed in an alphabetical list. There was a glitch in the import that prevented this sort from properly occurring but it has since been fixed.

Anything you previously entered in your PWL should have been retained and you can edit any items to change the order in which they are displayed if you're not satisfied with your current selections.

Thanks for the feedback,
Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com

Jason Tolbert
Bogart, GA USA —  August 5, 2009 12:37pm ET
It was always convenient to just enter the wine a searching for in your search box. But, now I have to
choose "enitre site" or "wine rating search. Can I personalize this, so I don't have to always choose "wine rating seach"? Overall, the site looks great though.

Steven Bellerose
Newton, MA, USA —  August 5, 2009 1:30pm ET
When I search for a wine, I'm almost always interested in the most recent vintage not the highest rating. It would be great if the sort order could be saved as a preference so my search always returned sorted by date
Robert Phillips
Frederick MD —  August 5, 2009 3:43pm ET
The old PWL gave an option to print the list with, or without, tasting notes. I don't see an option for either now. Am I missing something?
Alan Newman
California —  August 5, 2009 5:51pm ET
I'd prefer if the default for the Search box in the top right was Wine Rating (not Entire Site), or at least if it would remember my selection. That's the way the old site worked.
James R Biddle
Dayton, OH —  August 5, 2009 6:04pm ET
I generally like the new layout. A "plus" is quicker wine search; a "minus" is slower to find "Dr. Vinny." Oh well........
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 6:19pm ET
Thanks to everyone for their feedback so far. We'll evaluate the suggestions as we work on future enhancements to the site.

James, glad to hear you like the layout overall and you find the search faster. Dr. Vinny will always be found in the Q&A tab on the homepage; we're hoping that will turn out to be easier than having him move up and down the center column depending on the day. He'll continue to post updates Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons -- you can also get updates by following us on Twitter. And as in the past, he can always be found in the Learn Wine section in the sub-navigation bar.

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Richard Towers
Calgary, Alberta, Canada —  August 5, 2009 6:58pm ET
The Phillips and Bellerose comments are bang on. I also liked the search that you had when I first subscribed-by using the country in the search I would only get Torres Spanish wines, not the Torres wines for the whole world.
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 5, 2009 7:24pm ET
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the comments. Not sure why you weren't getting the search results you expected. We haven't changed the Wine Ratings Search defaults--it searches across wine name and region/country unless you select another option. And we already tweaked the Site Search this morning based on Paul's feedback so it shares the same default settings.

If you type Torres and Spain, for example, into the Site Search or Wine Ratings Search boxes, you should get a list of only Torres' Spanish wines. Alternatively you can still click through to the full Wine Ratings Search (using the nav bar links or the Member Quick Links in the top of the right column) and choose the expanded options; there you can select the country desired. Let us know if those don't do the trick.

Dana Nigro, WineSpectator.com
Richard Weeks
Great Falls, VA —  August 5, 2009 10:57pm ET
Just getting accustomed to the new format.
I pulled up the ratings on 3 wines tonight, then tried to add them to my personal wine list (which was fully functioning). It could not add them - internal server error. Please fix this, thanks!
Sam Monteleone
Kansas —  August 6, 2009 12:19am ET
Please Please Please make your shelf talkers revert back to the previous design. I had just spent money to incorporate your shelf talkers into my store's wine cabinets. The new ones are not the same size and the huge score circle looks out of place. Your old shelf talkers look 100% better.

You couldn't have timed this change any better. I just got my final rack in last night and made a test with a shelf talker at about 11pm. This afternoon when I logged in to get started downloading the shelf talkers the site changed. Much to my dismay you had changed the shelf talkers. The score on these are too big. I pray you go back to the old ones.
Thomas Bougetz
San Francisco/Portland —  August 6, 2009 1:01am ET
Dana, am I missing something? Where are the forums?
Brent Cox
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada —  August 6, 2009 6:59am ET
Further to Robert Phillips comment, I have not identified a mean to print my PWL's in a presentable format?

Is there any way to change the name of a PWL...My cellar contents are currently maintained in my Default PWL, which I would like to rename?

Under the old format, I found it convenient to sort my cellar contents by number of bottles remaining...Is this still an option?

Mark Hoiriis
Denver, CO 80205 —  August 6, 2009 8:17am ET
I have the same comment as Robert Phillips - Frederick, MD, because I noticed his didn't get answered.

Where did the "Full/List" print friendly option button go? It was a great feature..please tell me you didn't do away with it.
Loren H Koch
Atlanta, Ga —  August 6, 2009 11:54am ET
In the past I could print my "personal wine list" using a shorter list that did not include all the info. Now it looks like that capability does not exist. I think it had the key info. such as winery, rating, vintage, variety and # of bottles in cellar.
I would still like to be able to do that.
Thank you.
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 6, 2009 12:21pm ET
Hi everyone,

I'm going to address a bunch of questions at once here.

First, if you are experiencing technical errors, please report them directly to our technical staff, which can provide more individualized service, here: www.winespectator.com/user/contactus

• For those of you experiencing errors in the PWL, those should all be fixed very soon. Thank you for reporting them so quickly.

• We'll work on the print full/list view for the PWL; our apologies for the inconvenience. Brent, can you clarify what you mean by not being able to print in a presentable format? The browser-based print should be providing a clean, easy-to-read page, so this may be an issue of the browser version you are using. Please use the technical customer service form, at the URL above, and provide the details so they can investigate it.

• We're looking into the shelf talkers and will adjust as best we can; we switched to a new technology that renders them much more efficiently and that had a slight effect on the display.

• You can not rename the Default PWL, which is a permanent component, but you can create as many separate PWL lists as you want and name them. You can then move or copy your wines into your customized PWLs. Use the check boxes to select the wines, and go to the pulldown menu at the bottom of the page; choose either Move to a New PWL or Copy to a New PWL--that will take you to a screen where you can create the name. To have a wine in multiple lists, use the copy function. To remove it from one and place it in another, use Move.

• As far as sorting by bottles remaining, that is not currently an option. We'll look into that. Our main focus with this change was to address the most common request of our PWL users: to integrate the My Cellar tool into the PWL to make it easier to update and so that you could view all the information without switching back and forth from one tool to another.

• As far as personalization of preferences, we'll be working on that for phase 2 and appreciate your suggestions.

• Forums are still on our site and if you had them bookmarked, those URLs have not changed. You can find the full list of all our forums at the bottom of each page, so you can go straight to the one you want to participate in, or to the main page.

Thanks again for the feedback,
Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Sonu Verghese
Albuquerque, NM —  August 6, 2009 4:22pm ET
Has the Food and Wine matching section been eliminated?
Bob Radziewicz
Miami, FL —  August 8, 2009 12:32am ET
Same question as the Albuquerque subscriber --have you eliminated the food and wine pairing suggestions? I don't want to watch a video of Harvey Steiman every time I want a suggestion for pairing a wine with a dish. I want a quick non-video response.

FWIW, I don't like the overall redesign in general, but I'm willing give it some time to try to get used to it. My subscription is up in November. Before the change, I was on automatic renewal. Now I'm not so sure
Alex Laime
NJ —  August 8, 2009 10:04am ET
"We'll work on the print full/list view for the PWL; our apologies for the inconvenience. Brent, can you clarify what you mean by not being able to print in a presentable format? The browser-based print should be providing a clean, easy-to-read page"

Seriously, what's the point of printing the wine list at all if its not in the list format?

It is very disappointing that this feature is gone. I'm very surprised by this, and even more surprised that you didn't realize this was an important feature.
Greg Flanagan
Bethel CT —  August 8, 2009 7:31pm ET

I know you are taking some hard knocks on the new layout/format of the WS site.....however, I think the overall "feel" of the website is much more 2009 rather than 1999.....please dont feel too proud to take the advice of fellow subscribers--they are most likely the voice of numerous others.....

But again--nice job in updating.....people just have to understand that its a work in progress--and a good one!!!!
Douglas Fisher
Columbus, Ohio —  August 10, 2009 12:33pm ET
Where is my cellar list?

I see it only for individual selections from my PWL but where is the total list?

Is it no longer possible to see the whole list including total bottle counts, values, etc.?

Leif Passmark
Bromma, Sweden —  August 10, 2009 12:55pm ET
Where can I find the Cellar the aggregated level of my different personal wine list?
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 10, 2009 4:21pm ET
Hi everyone,

More updates:

Something to come soon on the print-friendly PWL. Will post an update when that's ready.

We temporarily removed the Food and Wine Matching tool to upgrade it. We'll post an updated version of the old tool soon in the meantime so our members aren't without this service. The videos and ABCs article are placeholders of supplementary content.

The developers are working on a way to aggregate the total cellar value across PWLs.

And thanks for the kind words, Greg. We're responding to customer feedback as quickly as possible. This is very much phase 1 of more planned improvements. We needed to get off our old technology onto a new platform so that we could start making many of the improvements our members have asked for over the years.

As much as we would have loved to do everything at once, it simply would have taken too much time. We thought it best to roll things out in stages so members could take advantage of some of the new features—like this handy comments section for better discussion with all of you!

Look for more in the future…

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 11, 2009 8:13pm ET
Hi everyone,

An update on the print-friendly view for the Personal Wine List. We now have a short list view and a long view with full notes and other details. Plus when you're on the print view pages, you can choose to include the cellar data for either of those options.

Next up: a PWL view for your total cellar value, aggregated across lists.

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Christopher Dunn
Hawaii —  August 12, 2009 9:59pm ET

I rather like the new site. It does take a while to get used to things. And you and T. Matthews are quite responsive to suggestions.

The one change that I do not understand is the 12-hr window to revise or edit posts. This seems too short a time. For instance, in the Offline section of the forums, it is so much easier for the original poster and those following the development of an offline, if the original post can be edited and updated with new information. Otherwise, we have go throgugh page after page to see how things have changed or events updated.

The same is ture for the Buying/Selling section. Again, if someone can regularly update his/her list of wines, then it makes life so much easier for all concerned.

Finally, I am not always very thorough and have been known to post a tasting note with a score of 68 instead of 86. If I make that mistake now, there's a good likelihood that I can't change it. My only recourse is to post another note.

So, if that policy could be changed, it would mean a great deal. Aloha!
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 13, 2009 12:47pm ET
Hi everyone,

Check out the new Cellar View in the Personal Wine List. You can use this to track your collection's total worth.

Cellar View is another way to look at wines already in your personal lists; you can aggregate collectible wines across lists to track your total holdings, total cost, total current value and total gain/loss. Changes to any items appear both in the Cellar View and in your PWLs.

All wines you add to a PWL are automatically included in your Cellar View; if you don't want certain wines in that list, you can remove them in two ways: 1. In Cellar View, click the "remove this wine from Cellar View link." 2. In your PWL, edit the Cellar Data and select "No" for Include in Cellar View.

For all the members who had been using the previous My Cellar tool, we replicated your My Cellar selections by populating your Cellar View with the wines for which you have indicated a quantity on hand.

Hope you like it!

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Mark Hoiriis
Denver, CO 80205 —  August 14, 2009 9:24am ET
Thank you for restoring the print friendly views for the PWL's. In fact, they are even better than before. Thanks!
Scott Owen
Fountain Inn, SC —  August 16, 2009 10:00am ET
I can't seem to find the "Food and wine" matching tool. I use the old database frequently when checking to see wine pairing reccomendations.

I need to find where you hid it (or please put it back if you removed it!)

Loren H Koch
Atlanta, Ga —  August 16, 2009 1:41pm ET
I had previosly written a note regarding lack of "printer friendly" lists for my personal wine list. You responded and have added some print options. I really like them. Thank you.
Jim Mcclure
DFW, Texas —  August 16, 2009 8:30pm ET

I like the overall new style, but not the home page layout. I realize you have to try to layout the information in a way that pleases the most, but it seems like you have to scroll past a lot of stuff to get to the "News and Features" listing. If it's news and featured content, I would think it would have a more prominent display. And while the wine picks and quick wine lists towards the top are somewhat interesting, when I look at the site I'm more interested in feature content than wine suggestions and lists that I rarely if ever will go shopping for. Also, the tabbed format of the News/Q&A/Games area seems just kind of cramped and layered. It was nice to be able to easily see what the new items were at a glance rather than go through the layers.

On a final note, like others, I'm really looking forward to the return of the food and wine pairing tool. It was a nice quick guide when pulling a wine for a dinner or party, especially when you don't know the specifics what what will be served. It would be great to add that tool to the Mobile version of the site as well.

Regards, Jim
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  August 17, 2009 7:30pm ET
To those of you asking about the food and wine matching tool, as I noted in an earlier response: We temporarily removed the Food and Wine Matching tool to upgrade it. We'll post an updated version of the old tool within the next few weeks so our members aren't without this service.

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  September 3, 2009 6:37pm ET
Hi everyone,

We've relaunched the Food and Wine Pairing tool, with more wine and food options.

You can find it the Dining & Travel channel or here:

Dana Nigro, managing editor, WineSpectator.com
Neil H Levine
NJ —  September 27, 2009 10:48pm ET
The gain loss feature appears to count as a loss the price of a bottle that is consumed. This makes no sense.It should be neutral. The amount spent and the value of our wines should both be reduced. Thus we can always know how much our current wine holdings have appreciated. Possibly a 3rd value column could be added.

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