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The concept of VinVillage is simple; join, get together, and experience


VinVillage offers everything wine online - By Mark Stuart, La Jolla Light

The concept of VinVillage is simple; join, get together, and experience everything wine. is the brainchild of Rob Barnett, a technology entrepreneur and wine lover. He has parlayed these two passions to create what may just be the next great resource for wine lovers.

Barnett began collecting and sharing wine in 1990. "My wife and I really enjoy entertaining, and the events were always centered around wine," he says. "After a while, people began coming to me for wine advice and recommendations."

Now he is in the business of uniting collectors and connoisseurs via his flashy new online community.

VinVillage is an interactive Web site at which members can blog, post messages, and even wiki on wine. VinVillage in return organizes local events and offers premium products and services for its members. "It is all about the community contributing to it," Barnett explains. "It is an avenue to share their wine lifestyle." Membership to VinVillage is free.

Barnett's mission has taken nearly four years to come together, but all the hard work is now paying off as local "Villages" are being formed all over the United States, including right here in San Diego. San Diego's Village sold out their first event November 9th of this year. The nearly 200 in attendance were able to taste through some of Germany's greatest wines paired with food prepared by the accomplished Chef Chuck Samuelson.

Currently, VinVillage offers wine and wine clubs, but has plans by summer of 2008 to expand into offerings to cellars, glassware, and even travel. Barnett wants to "make available all things related to wine."

The nature of this online community allows it to bridge the gap between consumers and the micro-production winery. At a recent boutique wine tasting in Sonoma, Barnett approached attending winemakers by stating, "I spend all year gathering wine consumers and you spend all year creating wine. It is easy to see the synergies that exist between us."

Twenty-two of the 23 wineries that met with Barnett wanted to sign up right then and there.

Dustin Jones, wine director for the iconic La Valencia Hotel, also carries the title of Director of Wine Education Services for VinVillage. He will be the cornerstone of their wine education programs including blogs, classes, and even podcasts. "The wine world has been looking for a platform like this," says Jones. "VinVillage will be paramount to wine's continued growth in our society."