We first covered wine review site and social network Snooth in July ( ). Since then, the site has been improved quite a bit. Its most interesting feature, from a Web 2.0 perspective, is its unusually useful search engine. Snooth parses nearly natural-language search queries about wines and breaks them into wine-specific components, like type (white, red, etc.), varietal (Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz), region, vintage, and user tags. It knows that "cab" is a synonym for "Cabernet Sauvignon," under varietal and that "BBQ" and "barbecue" refer to the same user tag.
It adds up to a very smooth experience, and the site's social network features round it out. You can find people who like the same wines you like, for example, and track their rating and purchasing of new bottles. And, as before, the site will recommend wines to you based on collaborative filtering: you tell it what you like, and it finds wines with similar user-rated qualities.
The company recently closed a $1M round of angel funding, adding to its previous funding of about $300,000. CEO Philip James says the site now has 2 million wine reviews, which is double what it had when we last looked at it. Most of the reviews come from Snooth's commerce partners, which is also where the company makes its money: every time a user clicks through to a retailer link, Snooth gets a referral fee.