Ex-Microsoftie and longtime Queen Anne resident, Eric LeVine, was declared Wine Person of the Decade by DrVino.com on Monday, January 4. For those of you who don’t know Eric and haven’t seen him working out of one of the many Queen Anne coffee spots that make up his virtual office, he founded and runs CellarTracker.com, the world’s largest wine-centric social networking site.
The site, which is free to use and operates on a donation basis, allows users to create an account and immediately begin cataloging their wine collections, building a database of wines, profession reviews and tasting notes that are all user-generated. Thought of as the “Granddaddy of wine social networks” in the industry, CellarTracker is noted for having one of “the most comprehensive and useful databases on the web.”
I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric, who first fell in love with wine while vacationing in Tuscany in 1999, a few months ago to talk about the site. “Wine went from something I was interested in to something I was obsessed with,” he said. Eric founded CellarTracker in March 2003 while on sabbatical from Microsoft (if you’ve ever had an error message pop up on your PC that gives you the option to “Send” or “Don’t Send” the report, you’ve witnessed a little bit of his work in action. Eric co-invented that message). Today CellarTracker has over 82,000 registered users who have composed over a million consumer wine reviews (around 1,100 a day) on the site, making him an obvious candidate for the auspicious title that personifies leaders in the wine industry from 2000 through the end of 2009.
After five days of nominations and 2,842 votes cast, Eric beat out Gary Vaynerchuk, a wine retailer and host of close to 800 episodes of Wine Library TV, for the title. Congratulations, Eric! Queen Anne is proud.