Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wine & Business Contacts - What's Love Got to Do With it?

A new dating site for wine lovers launched last week amid fanfare and the usual publicity hype.  VineaLove touts its self as the first international dating website and social network for wine lovers. Offering free subscriptions during the launching period, the site offers the ability to send that special someone a glass of wine, arrange meetings and events for wine lovers throughout the world, and offers social networking with wine friends and professional business contacts similar to Facebook and LinkedIn.

The original concept is intriguing, a site for wine lovers to connect with other wine lovers puts a new spin on the bottle.  But then the site goes on to claim that it's also for professional business relationships and wine events. the idea seems to be getting a bit corked.  

If you only want to use VineaLove for business, (although with a name like that, who are you kidding?) then why are you required to answer questions regarding your relationship status, what kind of person you’re looking for (male, female, either), if you have children, or if you even want to?  I fail to see how these answers are of any importance to a business associate in New Zealand, or L.A., who are part of your wine trade network?  Or, is that the point?  Are we playing a wine game of cloak and dagger?

There are over 2,300 wine related groups on LinkedIn and an untold number of wine-related blogs and wine meetup groups on the Internet, but there are only a handful of wine-related dating sites. So why try to combine a site for wine lovers searching for lovers with oenophiles who are only seeking professional relationships?

Don’t get me wrong, I think a dating site for wine lovers is a fantastic idea! But mixing the
“getting to know you personally” aspect with the “Hey, how's it going - just industry friends” persona feels like over-reaching to me, trying to gain a toe-hold by being an all-in-one wine site.

Francoise Pauly
In a recent interview the developer, former French wine writer Françoise Pauly, she said that the site isn’t just for dating, but actually is more for wine lovers to discuss wine and share their experiences. But isn't that a niche wine meetup groups, Facebook and LinkedIn wine groups, and some wine blogs are filling?  Do we really need yet another site?

Some of the other sites are a bit clearer in claiming what they are.  Wine Lovers Passions states in the opening sentence that they are “A free online dating and social networking site specifically for singles with a passion for wine.”

Wine Lovers Match also touts that it is “the destination for singles interested in meeting wine enthusiasts, learning about wine and discovering the adventures in wine country living.”

And the Wine Dating Club says it best, “Find Dates Based On Common Lifestyles & Interests (and taste in wine!)”

So considering VineaLove as a wine dating site - Now that's Amore!
But for business? I’ll stick with LinkedIn for professional wine contacts and Facebook for wine-loving friends. Too much of a good thing could be just that – Too much!  Thoughts?

~ Joy