Archive for the ‘websites’ Category

Best wine websites as of July 2009

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Here is the quarterly ranking of web sites. Webmasters need not apply as the contest includes all sites. The table shows only the 140 ‘best’ — ‘best’ is evaluated with public website metrics. These permit to include all sites — not just blogs.

Holiday contestSo lie back, relax, and enjoy my comments on the results.


Some sites are appearing in this top list. Last quarter their scores were lower than those of the 140 top ones. They include:

Off-line support

You may notice that half the biggest websites are supported — and promoted — by off-line operations. They are Web appendices of successful non-Internet ventures: the Wine Spectator, The Pour, eRobertParker, Avenue Vine, Wine Enthusiast, Jancis Robinson, Natalie McLean.

USA dominates

Stephen Colbert cleans the American flagMost of the top websites stem from operations based in the US. The majority of the listed sites are written from that country. The following facts may contribute: the USA are still the country the most present on the Web, they still dominate the English-speaking culture and they are on a trend to become the top wine drinking country in the world.


So here is a list of all the websites which are pure players (without offline operations), in the Top 140 and not based in an English-speaking nation:

How to participate

Websites are automatically included in the contest as soon as I learn of their existence. To be eligible to the next issue of the Cellarer wine directory, the below conditions must be met:

  1. The main topic should be wine.
  2. Producing estates and wine sellers are excluded. Some of them run wonderful websites but the type of information is different.

If you disagree with the directory criteria, please comment below or e-mail me.

You can follow the directory evolution by subscribing to the feed on websites blog RSS.

Once the above conditions are fulfilled the websites are also considered for addition to another tool: a search engine dedicated to wine and food.

Top food blogs in 2009

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Here is the first issue of Cellarer’s guide to the most popular food blogs. The contest includes all personal sites but the table shows only the 200 ‘best’ — ‘best’ is evaluated with public website metrics.

Herebelow is an overview of the results.

A comprehensive pool of candidates

The sushi competition begins! About 5 professional chefs competed at the JRA Japanese Food Festival on 25th October 2008The number of websites that I retrieve metrics for is 500. This list is close to being complete: it includes almost all the websites that qualify.

The small against the big

I chose to not include magazines, that is sites that are written by many contributors. Press and firms have their means of getting known. I’d rather promote unique voices (blogs). So the top food blogs is a convenient tool for getting to know prominent culinary authors. Please tell me if you spot an item in the list that would have more than 2 contributors.

How to participate

Websites are automatically included in the contest as soon as I learn of their existence. To be eligible to the next issue of the Top food blogs, the below conditions must be met:

  1. The main topic should be food.
  2. The articles must be written by one or two persons (not a team) — so as to screen firms.

You can follow the ranking evolution by subscribing to the feed on websites blog RSS.


There are ways to discover food-related sites. You can browse the list of Times Online guide to 50 food blogs; You can also take the tour at Cellarer search, a search engine dedicated to wine and food.

Build your own search engine in 5 steps

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

You can set up your own search engine by applying the below method: optionally get a domain name, get hosting, get a PHP wrapper or a blog engine, obtain an API key, copy the Yahoo BOSS caller.

Web hosting

Your website will be accessed from anywhere on the Internet but it actually will reside somewhere: in a computer connected to the Internet. This step is described in the recipe to cook a deft website.

Set-up the website

Open an account at the hosting company. Download an FTP client.
Choose files to wrap up the PHP script. An option is a simple file named index.php. It would start with a few HTML lines.
Another option is to consider a CMS (content management system). You will interact with this software to manage your website. Wordpress is an excellent CMS in that it is both engaging and tremendously enabling.
In your FTP client upload your PHP file or the Wordpress files.

API key

keys to your doorObtain an application ID from Yahoo.

Search engine PHP script

This PHP script will take a query and gather search engine results. You can change the way these results are displayed. If you learn some PHP you can even transform the results (or recombine them).
What the PHP script does:

  • display a form where the user will enter her query;
  • capture the query (named $secure_query);
  • call Yahoo BOSS;
  • receive and process the Yahoo BOSS results;
  • display the results.

How to copy it

This PHP script can be placed in any file named something.php. It can notably be inserted into a PHP blog platform. I would advise you to consider Wordpress which is one of the best blog engines and whose license is the same.

You may reuse and propagate this script with this license:
the GPL v2.

Usage: launch a text editor, open your HTML or PHP file, copy and paste this script.


A version of this script runs if you trigger the search box at the top of this page.

Niche quality vs most popular

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

I am progressing. Thanks to the feedback of some fellow bloggers I have come to realize that the directory of wine sites is not so much about quality as it is about popularity. It shows the big names because it is based on Google and traffic. This certainly is useful to have a view of who is important in the wine domain.

I will publish something similar for the food business. It will show the 100 most popular food blogs. So come back here in June.

I am already working on this project. This gives me a view of the food blogging field and enables me to spot interesting authors. I read them and incorporate some of them into the food engine. Cellarer is a search engine with a bias: it prefers lesser-known authors over big firms. Type any food-related query into the top box and you will obtain custom answers: from niche experts.
Cellarer search is about quality related to the niche — which is food, cooking and wine. It takes you to a tour of interesting bloggers.