Tastemaker: Wine Webmaster | Neil Monnens

© Ethan Hill

Four years ago, Neil Monnens grew frustrated trying to expand his wine collection. When he called distributors to ask for a particular bottle, they'd tell him it had sold out three months earlier. The San Francisco¬óbased online-advertising consultant realized there was no collective source for wine-release dates and decided to launch WineRelease.com. "It's not only for snobs," says Monnens of the Web site, which covers almost a thousand American wineries and attracts 11,000 visitors a month. "For example, many users are eager to buy Robert Sinskey Vineyards' $16 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir blush. It always sells out a few weeks after it's released." Now Monnens is working on his next venture, QPRWines.com, a site that offers a quality-price ratio for wines. Monnens uses a mathematical formula to find the best bargains, matching low prices with high scores from critics. Combined, his two sites give Web-savvy oenophiles a competitive edge.

PUBLISHED October 2004