Winetweets - A Self Organizing Twitter Group Bot

Yesterday I saw this tweet from JD Lasica:

1st Twitter wine review: I love the Rivola Estate Grown Sardon de Duero
2004 "Abadia Retuerta" (Spain), $16. Supple, tangy, big and complex.

I thought, "ooh, that would make a great twitter group bot." And so I replied with this:

  @jdlasica we have to create winetweets when you have a great wine you send to @winetweets. You in?

Not only did JD think it was a good idea, so did a bunch of others including Alex Iskold and Rick Stratton.

And over the course of the day yesterday, winetweets became real (thanks largely to Rick’s efforts). Here’s how it works.

1) join twitter
2) go to winetweets and hit the follow button (if you want the updates on your phone select device updates)
3) whenever you have a great wine, just send a twitter message that looks like this

@winetweets chateau ducru beaucaillou 1978 has still got it. Not for much longer though

That was my winetweet from last night. That message will get posted to winetweets and sent to everyone who is following.

For those that are into advanced winetweeting, here are two additional twists.

1) include a link to the wine where you can get more info and/or buy online

2) put a hashtag (#) in front of the varietal

So, this would be the advanced form of a winetweet:

@winetweets Paolo Bea #sagrantino di montefalco  2003 Secco is a fabulous  big complex red wine

So that’s it. We’ve already got 25 people following winetweets and we’ve got 15 updates so far. If you are a wine and twitter lover, please join in the fun.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. lee

    from today’s Linux Journal Weekly News Notes”This is the June 4th edition of the Linux Journal Weekly News Notes.Welcome!This week Linux Journalers (Journalonians? Journalites?) got introduced and sucked in to the world of Plurk, — you can find us there via userid “linuxjournal”. Plurk is where Twitter folks fed up with the site’s excessive down-time have revolted to. If you stop by to check it out, make sure to say hi to us so we can add you as a friend.Now on to the good stuff…”just thought you might need to know…..

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve been to Plurk. it’s cool but i have trouble with the UI. i’ll keep trying though.

  2. Conor O'Neill

    Hey Fred, a bunch of us have been doing wine reviews on Twitter for a long time now. They then get aggregated by the site I run called LouderVoice. So you have something like this:… and it ends up here…. Hashtags supported too. Love it if you’d try it out.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s greatSeems like we should federate our efforts somehow

      1. Conor O'Neill

        Definitely!We use a specific format to make it easier to pick up the the name of the wine and your score (we use the same approach on SMS/Jaiku/Pownce too). Archiving, categorising, relating and searching becomes so much easier then. Using hashtags for the varietal is a great idea. I’ll start doing that myself from now on.

    2. Joe

      Hi Conor,I wanted to aggregate food tweets for a site a friend of mine runs ( similarly to how you’re doing it for wine so that we can send mini reviews to each other and feed it to foodgps. I’ve never setup and sort of twitter bot / group, so I was wondering if you could let me know how you did this? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Joseph

      1. Conor O'Neill

        Hey Joe, drop me a line to conor AT loudervoice DOT com. We currently do all the collection internally in the LouderVoice webapp but our first solution which we deployed last June should work for you. We use an application called Planet Venus with a simple convertor to grab the Tweets from anyone following @review and turn the review ones into a simple portable format called hreview. Out auto-follow-a-new-follower script is also just a one-liner.

  3. Alex Iskold

    LOL. Fred, I am never gonna quit drinking wine now, am I?Seriously, this is awesome idea and let me share a quick experience here.I bought a case of wine recently based on new Gary Vaynerchuck’s book:… and I tried 6 wines so far. (I am blogging each wine experience on my Tumblr blog: So far, 5 out of 6 wines where amazing.Here is what blew me away. None of the wines was > $20 yet, most of them where huge in terms of taste. Bottom line is that there are amazing wines out there that do not cost a fortune. Using Twitter to collaboratively discover them would be fantastic.So I hope that folks will focus on amazing and affordable wines on winetweets. I am looking forward to that!

    1. fredwilson

      We need an auto tweet to winetweets every time you post a wine to tumblr

      1. Alex Iskold

        We are back to NxM problem. We need to decide where we want to consume what.

    2. RacerRick

      I second your affordable wines suggestion.But Fred’s Chateau Ducru is probably more than $20!

      1. fredwilson

        I bought it a long time ago, but it’s starting to decline

  4. RacerRick

    The “Fred Wilson Effect”: winetweets has 80+ followers. Thanks, Fred.@whitneymcn and @raster are the makers of the code that’s used to create these things.Nycfood is live now too, another twitterbot.If anyone is interested… I’m going to put up a twitter bot info site later today called We’ll try to put all the info we can there so other folks can make twitterbots.

  5. roberto

    What about “tjwine” for trader joes wine tweets?

  6. kortina

    Regarding, “2) put a hashtag (#) in front of the varietal” and hashtags in general: do you think non-techy people care to do the hashtag thing? Hashtags to me have always seemed like a lazy way for engineers to push indexing / search tasks onto the engineer rather than coming up with a good way to parse data themselves.I know it’s not much of a burden ( just one extra character and the knowldege of how to use the # sign), but it still just irks me that the engineers are passing this work onto the end user.Thoughts anyone?

    1. fredwilson

      I agree completely

    2. RacerRick

      I’m not an engineer but I like the hashtag. It’s not tough to do; it makes sense if it’s explained.The goal is to have a page on an archive site for each varietal. The hashtag should allow us to have the pages created on-the-fly for each/any varietal.Also the site should be able to pull out each user’s suggestions and create one page per user.Plus it’ll be mobile so if you’re at the wine store you can pull out your bberry or iphone.

      1. kortina

        But there are a finite, relatively small number of varietals. If the site was built to know the names of these varietals, you could create archive pages without requiring extra work from users and the hashtag nonsense. Although, as you say, it’s not tough to add a hash tag and it makes sense if explained, (1) it requires more work and (2) it has to be explained. I personally would rather build things that are intuitive and don’t require more work than things that ask my users to do work for me and require explanation.To me, the whole beauty of Twitter is how natural it is and how little effort it requires. This is also why I think a service like Summize is so valuable. I don’t (and I suspect many people don’t) want to go to niche sites to review restaurants, music, wine, scotch, cars, etc. I just want to tell my friends when I taste a scotch that I like, and I can do this on Twitter. Summize is great because their engineering team has taken on the burden of parsing and understanding all the conversations about wine / restaurants / etc on Twitter and making these conversations searchable and useful. In my opinion, Summize (or something like it) will replace sites that require more work or dedication from users like yelp and citysearch. (Notice, too, the local search that Summize recently added:… . I’ve talked with Summize guys about this point and they totally get it. I’m sure we’ll see even more useful views of the data from twitter there soon.)As I’m writing this, I’m thinking even winetweets is asking a lot from users–why even make me type @winetweets at all? Just enter the finite number of varietals into a database and use the Twitter API to pull and index all tweets that mention these varietals or the word “wine” and come up with an algorithm to spit the relevant ones back onto the wintetweets twitter page. That’s how a real engineer would solve this problem.Granted, the concept of winetweets and creating a micro-group on Twitter is cool because it can be accomplished without any technical expertise, but if you’re going to go so far as to build a twitter-bot, you might as well do it right.–Def like the idea of viewing this data via mobile at the wine store, btw. That’s probably the number one place I would want to see this info.

        1. fredwilson

          I agree completely

        2. RacerRick

          Kortina, would love to talk more about this with you. How do I contact you? I’m rick at feed dot us.

        3. Wayne Young

          you said:”But there are a finite, relatively small number of varietals.”Youre kidding right?ORYou only drink CA wine, and a little Bordeaux whe nyou have some extra £££…Were I am, there are a half-dozen varieties you dont find 66 miles from where I sit, and the same goes for the grapes grown 66 miles away…

          1. kortina

            I’m talking “small” like we talk in science class. Even if there area million varietals (I’m no expert), I would guess the number ofpopular varietals is still relatively “small” and isn’t on the orderof millions.

  7. PhilipJames

    Thats a really good idea – we’ve been meaning to allow users post their snooth reviews to twitter, sounds like we better hurry up and build it.The Paolo Bea Sagrantino Di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro wine you linked to in the main post isnt listed for sale anymore, but is still available at some other stores.

    1. fredwilson

      Good idea. I’ll try to direct message them

  8. PhilipJames

    Fred – I saw Alex and you twittering about a Snooth integration of winetweets. We have the nearest neighbour stuff and local wine store inventories, so we’d just have to hook into the Twitter API. We were thinking of doing it this way, let me know how this works:Create a snooth account, link it to twitter once. Post review on snooth, a snippet and a tinylink then gets posted to your twitter account with “@winetweets” so it posts there too. The link will then take people to snooth where they can look at neighbours, recommendations or stores selling that wine etc.thanks –philip

    1. fredwilson

      Sounds awesome

      1. PhilipJames

        This is live now – if you have a snooth account you can tweet any review and they’ll go to the winetweets group as well as your own twitter thread. The rest of the functionality – shopping, neighbours is on snooth already.The tweet looks like this:…Thanks for the idea!

        1. fredwilson

          PhilipI just joined Snooth and it’s a wonderful service.What about twitter integration the other way?If I @winetweet a wine, it goes into ³my wines² on snoothI often am at a restaurant and have a wonderful wine, I can see twitteringit at that momentI doubt I’ll remember to go home and log in to snooth and add it laterfred

          1. PhilipJames

            Fred – I answered this privately, but thought i should address it here too.Its possible, but somewhat messy. It plays to the unstructured data issue that adaptive blue and many others are trying to solve. Our data is structured, twitters isnt. We could watch @winetweets and scrape new entries, then parse them looking for keywords and then match them to our master wine records on the fly, but it wouldnt be flawless.We do things like this, and its not too hard when you are looking for single phrase matches, eg. blog posts about Napa, but the hit rate drops as you start looking at text strings. It it worked flawlessly we’d just use google’s “i feel lucky” rather than bother to manually select which result is best.So, its possible, but messy, but we are building more auto-tagging tools to help populate some new parts of the site we’ll be launching in a few weeks. Think of these pages as google alerts meets facebooks wall feature for every winery, grape and region. If that works ok, then i’d say we’re ready to do reverse twitter integration based off identifying content from within unstructured text blocks.–philip

  9. Natalie MacLean

    Great idea! I’d also love to know what you ate with your wine, if anything. I’m always looking for more suggestions for my wine-and-fodding matching tool.Cheers,Nataliewww.nataliemaclean.comEditor of Nat Decants Wine NewsletterAuthor of Red, White and Drunk All Over