The status quo is never good enough and without vision followed by execution, websites do become boring and eventually perish. Therefore, we are constantly striving to improve your experience when visiting FTLOP. Recently we have sought to expand the visibility of the website and approach more Port, Madeira & Douro wine lovers.
I believe that by creating strategic alliances with a handful of innovative companies, it will enable us to provide greater experiences for our FTLOP guests. Last month we announced the decision to team up with Vinfolio and the Madeira Wine Guide on progressive projects, both of which go “live” this month.
Behind the scenes we’ve also been working diligently to enhance the newsletter, find new ways to build on the success of the Forum, while providing added value for our FTLOP Partnership Program members. Stewart and I are enjoying this exciting time of expansion and fulfillment of our vision. We love it, whilst our projects will keep us busy through the summer’s end; we hope you will enjoy the new developments.
FTLOP ANNOUNCES A NEW LICENSING AGREEMENT* WITH CELLARTRACKER
I am proud to pronounce that after nearly a year and a half, I have finally signed an agreement with my good friend Eric Levine, to provide Port, Madeira and Douro wine tasting notes for his comprehensive CellarTracker! community. In return, it is quite possible that we will see an influx of crossover users that will not only start to receive the FTLOP newsletter, but may decide to utilize our Forum as well. The other benefit for those of you that are already CellarTracker! users, is that you will have full integration capabilities between your own cellar, the CellarTracker! cellar management software and the FTLOP tasting note section.
* Please note: to maintain the integrity of our Partnership Program, integration will only be initialized for users of CellarTracker! who also become members of the FTLOP PP.
Simply put, CellarTracker is the fastest growing wine cellar inventory management software program in the world. 32,000+ satisfied oenophiles around the globe utilize this extraordinary web-based program, which was the brainchild of Eric LeVine. Eric had spent twelve years as a successful software designer for Microsoft and in 2004 decided to follow his budding passion for wine and created a revolutionary program to help manage his own wine cellar. Eric, who is adroit at solving puzzles of all types, has literally built the better mouse trap with his CellarTracker!
Less than three years later, there are now over 5 million bottles of wine in the sophisticated, yet easy-to-use CellarTracker! data base. Impressive to say the least and the buzz about this cellar admin tool is still spreading! You don t have to be a computer geek to love this program, as it is extremely user friendly once you get past the first date entry which is simpler than you d think. Eric has mitigated that minefield by developing a quick and easy import tool for those collectors who currently maintain their cellar s contents in a spreadsheet and can help to minimize the pain of importing data from other software programs as well.
With nearly 300,000 individual tasting notes on wines from every conceivable region and grape, this is clearly the largest database of wine tasting notes known to mankind. The behind-the-scenes advanced technology employed by this cool website, even allows users to check their cellar’s contents or the site’s community tasting notes, using their cell phones. Additionally, members can access the professional tasting notes of Robert Parker, Wine Spectator or Steven Tanzer to name a few, and can also determine the current market value of their wine collection through a nifty collaboration between CellarTracker! and Winebid.com.
More impressive is the fact that the website is intuitive in its utilization of information from other users, making it even easier to add wines to your own portfolio. If that sounds slick, it is just the beginning of the ride. LeVine has provided the tools to inventory one’s cellar with a barcode reader and supplies users with barcode and label making capabilities, the ability to print out restaurant quality wine lists, provides detailed consumption and purchase histories as well as every conceivable detail about wine in your cellar or even bottles that have been ordered but have yet to be delivered. Users can choose to share as much or as little information about their cellars as they choose with fellow CellarTracker s.
Coming shortly, in the month of May the collaboration between For The Love Of Port and CellarTracker! will go “live.” It will be an exciting new addition for FTLOP members who are already enjoying the wonders of CellarTracker! and vice versa. Stay tuned as I’ll report the completion of this project on the FTLOP FORUM. Please do have a look at CellarTracker! or you may even take a test drive and kick the tires at CellarTracker where you can find all the tools and help to get you started on your way to better management of your wine cellar.
FTLOP WEBSITE’S FORUM SETS A NEW RECORD
The FTLOP Forum continues to break the previous month’s record number of postings. For example during the course of February, our guests participated with over 1,000 new postings in a month, for the very first time.
Incredibly, March saw a quantitative leap of 60% over February which was double the average monthly volume for the first year and a half of the website’s existence. Now, records show that in the 30 days of April, the Forum broke the 2,000 post milestone. This shows an exponential growth of 3x the average daily volume of postings for the typical month in 2006. We humbly thank all of our participants and special hats off to the loyal “regulars” who share their collective wisdom!
ATTENTION MADEIRA FANS
In case you missed the news last month, a wonderful development has been in the works for several months. I have decided to take a bold step and become the first (that I am aware of) to launch a collaborative approach to wine Forum interactivity. The FTLOP will provide full access to our friends Peter Reutter and his brother Hans, and their brilliant Madeira website (the best in the world in my opinion) The Madeira Wine Guide. Coming in the next week or so, we will share our technology and both websites will simultaneously offer the Madeira Forum to their users.
We will enable access through both websites and have a larger and much more active Madeira community. I am very much looking forward to see how this works out and I believe that this joint venture will provide the best of both worlds; Port and Madeira the two extraordinary fortified dessert wines from Portugal. Please join me in welcoming the Madeira Wine Guide Forum users and make them feel right at home!