It is all about helping wine tasters discover new and interesting winery experiences and helping wineries find the right tasters for them at the lowest cost. Wine Questers is for the roughly 90% of the tasters whose objectives are a good time, taste some decent wines, and escape from the workday stress.
We found other Web sites woefully inadequate and cumbersome for our wine travels. We were frustrated with many winery information and map problems. A search function far better than Google's had to be built for wine travelers. Accurate maps were needed. We built WineQuesters.com and our iPhone app Winery Quest as solutions.
It took years of travel and over 30,000 miles of driving so far to inventory most of the wineries with tasting rooms open to the public on a regular basis, collect data and a quick photo, map them by GPS for accuracy, repeatedly visit regions to update the data and add new wineries, and to shoot the Discover California Wine Regions videos. This content is being added to the site almost daily.
We are starting with California but tasters and wineries around the world have pretty much the same needs. We would like to add other states and countries but this is far too expensive. No one wants to pay for content on the Internet and it is not free to produce.
During 2006 we were conducting wine taster ethnographic studies in many California wine regions. We began rating winery picnic areas for a previous site WineryPicnics.com, which was expanded and renamed WineQuesters.com in late 2007. During our wine region adventures we found it difficult to locate wineries with the abstract region maps available in magazines and at the wineries. This began an 30,000 + mile odyssey through 20 major California wine regions.
One day on the Silverado Trail we visited 25 wineries, the record for the odyssey. (No, contrary to popular belief, we did not taste at most of the wineries.)
Each day on the odyssey winery staff, vintners, and tasters made suggestions for software features and information. Tasters wanted to rate wineries and search for winery dogs and cats, wine clubs, events, women owned wineries, and on and on. Wineries wanted information available such as dog and family friendly, tour details, their landscaping, and the list keeps growing. So the project evolved and still is.
Along the way we found many adventures we never imagined existed. Wonderful little wineries tucked into the mountains, large ones with intimate tasting rooms and fun people behind the bar, and great food at winery restaurants. Experiences ranged from farm animals in a sort of petting zoo near Lodi to a side hill of waterfalls at the entrance to a cave tasting room near Fairplay to a tiny shack in Los Olivos that may be the smallest tasting room in California. The wines themselves were an amazing adventure.
Is wine questing a sport? A hobby? A lifestyle? Probably all of these.
Since then the project evolved into software and Web site development and endless hours of entering the data collected during field work and from winery Web sites. Wineries are beginning to maintain their own profiles and add more information. Jim works almost full-time still on the site and data and we have three freelance contractors helping with data entry, data gathering, and programming. With no income from the site and advertising being ignored by Web users we have reached our maximum capacity.
There is far more to the wine tasting experience than great wines. We have added so much to our lives with our travels through about 1,000 tasting rooms! Amazing people, amazing ambiance, amazing diversity of experiences, and of course amazing wines!
Jim and Katya Preston
Santa Clara, CA
WineQuesters.com is a division of Intiri, Inc., a small lifestyle products company primarily owned by Jim and Katya Preston and located in Santa Clara, California near one of the original "tasting rooms" from the 1700's, Mission Santa Clara.
Jim worked with his father installing winery irrigation systems in Santa Clara Valley during the 1950's and early 1960's. He began tasting wines stored in the family barn at around age ten and was in tasting rooms in Gilroy and Napa Valley at age 16. He has over 40 years of wine travel experience in various states and countries. Katya joined Jim in 1994 and now has a rich wine tasting history also.
Background information on Intiri, Inc. and the management / founders is at: Intiri.com.
2464 El Camino Real #80
Santa Clara, CA 95051-3002