At least that’s the case for Dustin Brownell and his fiancé Ashley Charneski.
Over dinner, the couple, both WHS grads, dreamed up a new online business built around the experience of Woodinville wine tasting.
Their project, WineStumblr.com, is a discovery engine for Washington wineries and their tasting rooms.
Currently, the website tracks over 100 Woodinville area wineries, assisting users to find local wineries based on various criteria such as the days and times they are open to the public, individual wine preferences, wine awards received and more.
The website then allows users to create and view wine “tours” or planned itineraries for their Woodinville wine tasting trips.
“The idea came to us when we were talking about wine tasting,” explains Brownell. “We didn’t know about all the small wineries and tasting rooms that have moved into Woodinville, even though we’re both Woodinville natives. There’s been so many and it’s impossible to keep track of them all.
“We wished there was something out there to organize and contextualize the information, to give us pointers, as a place to start, so we could discover all these new places. Just having a list of names doesn’t really help you at all.”
He adds, “We created the website out of need and figured that there were probably others out there like us who would appreciate having this type of assistance available to them at their fingertips.”
In planning a “tour,” for example, WineStumblr.com will find the day various wineries are open and what order they should be visited based on the time the doors open and proximity to each other.
People can then share the tours with their friends and as such, help guide others on their wine quest.
Brownell notes that the website is also a place for folks to rate their experiences at various wineries’ tasting rooms, focusing more on the activity than on a review of the actual wines tasted.
“We wanted to look at the experience as a whole because there are already so many sources available that review individual wines,” says Brownell. “Ashley and I realized that there’s a disconnect between the wines and how much you actually enjoy yourself when you’re at a wine tasting.
“We’ve been at some wineries where the wines haven’t won awards, but where we’ve had the best time because the place, the atmosphere has been really nice and the employees have been very friendly.
“Then there are times where we’ve been at wineries with incredible wines, but the experience just hasn’t been the best.”
Brownell emphasizes that his goal is not to bombard users with content and create a huge data base, but rather to take the information available and shape the experience for users. He comments that the data that is out there is very scattered and the aim is to bring it together in one site, a “single, coherent place.”
The local man is a web developer by profession, who learned about wine while working at a wine bar several years ago. He and his fiancé, a restaurant host, have been spending their weekends building WineStumblr.com.
“It’s been a weekend project, but it’s getting closer to becoming a full time thing,” he admits. “If we can show that others are excited about it, we can take it to the next level and then maybe we can quit our day jobs. But, we’re not there yet.”
The website has only been live for a few weeks and so far, it’s attracted 100 members.
Brownell notes that the feedback has been very positive, as it appears that there is much interest among users in getting help to manage their wine tasting experiences
Right now, WineStumblr.com is restricted to Woodinville and Seattle area wineries and tasting rooms, however, the next step is to expand to include Eastern Washington.
“Ideally, we think the site can include every wine area across the country,” comments Brownell. “And our hope is that we will be able to partner with local businesses to help them generate revenue.”