Robin Blackburne's
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Winery Directories.com - Background

Winery Directories.com came into existence, as a stand-alone Portal, partially by accident. Robin Blackburne, the designer and architect of The Global Search Engine WhichBrand.com, when editing the thousands of records for entry into the WhichBrand Portal, came to realize that there were so many wineries that they would literally flood the Wine category.

The WhichBrand.com philosophy is to show all brand names in each product category on ONE PAGE. Golf Club Putters seem to have more brands in a category than most - with less than forty - which fit easily onto one page. But, with an estimated forty thousand different wineries in the world, the one-page culture would have been impossible. Furthermore, the wine hierarchy is not by product category but by geographical region. So, using the same search engine technology that powers WhichBrand.com, Winery Directories.com was born.

It is a "work in progress" and always will be, since a new winery, somewhere in the world, is founded almost weekly. Although the wineries of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa nearly all have websites, many in Europe appear to be slower to embrace the world wide web. Nonetheless, we have included numerous wineries without websites, in order to show the regions in which they may be found. We shall seek to add new URLs as they are brought to our attention.

And on the subject of regions, it has, particularly in countries where there are no long-established "appellations", been difficult to place every winery in exactly the correct sub-region — since the concept of "region" sometimes varies. Should we use political boundaries, such as "counties" as in the USA, or the emerging appellation system, or a combination of both ? Sometimes even the winery owner cannot be sure in which sub-region the winery should officially be placed. So, in short, we have done our best and are happy to move wineries from one region to another at the request of the winery owner - or create a new region in the Directory if appropriate. Our researchers are all wine experts and specialize in certain countries or regions. Indeed we have called on the crème de la crème of wine expertise — Masters of Wine - for much of our research.

The hierarchical structure of the Portal may be studied in more detail by clicking on the Navigation link at the top of the page. But we have sought to build this engine so that it is exceptionally user-friendly and, on every page, the wine-lover may move throughout the portal, from region to region to winery, usually with a single click. The search function is also very powerful for which we are indebted to the lead developer Paul Doerwald.

Robin Blackburne - Background

The Winery Directories.com portal was, as noted above, founded by Robin Blackburne who has spent most of his life in the wine trade. He is among the few intrepid souls to have passed the daunting Master of Wine exam.

He did his first wine "stage" in Bordeaux and has subsequently visited Bordeaux on some forty occasions. He has also spent time in all the other wine regions of France and has made visits to the vineyards of Spain, Italy, Corsica, Portugal, Madeira, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, England, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S.A, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

Although he is devoted to wine, his enquiring mind and inventive nature have drawn him in other directions. He holds dozens of patents in many fields although sadly few of these inventions have yet seen the light of day. He is however the inventor of the ViniCool, the clear acrylic wine keeper-cooler. Nearly every wine drinker in the world owns at least one. He is also the inventor of the Blackburne Double Strung Tennis Racquet which has given pleasure to countless thousands of tennis players around the globe.

His interest in physics and the sciences is balanced by his love of poetry and he is the author of the entertaining collection of comic wine verse — Vintage Versage — which was published in paperback. The sequel, which will include some of his non-wine verse and will be entitled More Vintage and Other Versage, is planned for publication in hard-cover in late 2003 or 2004.

Although Winery Directories.com and WhichBrand.com have consumed most of his waking hours since 1999, his ongoing passion for wine compels him to enjoy and accept speaking engagements and present tutored wine tastings from time to time — usually not more than three or four a year. Prior to 1999 he presented tastings, in the USA, Europe and as the enrichment lecturer on cruise ships, much more frequently.

He dislikes jogging, biking, golf and bridge, but is an impassioned tennis player and skier. His private wine cellar is "modest" and contains less than thirty dozen bottles — with a strong leaning towards Red Bordeaux.

He lives in Bermuda, but spends much of the skiing season in Aspen. He is married to the artist and muralist Joy Blackburne. They have two daughters, Amanda Temple, an accomplished photographer and Sacha, a writer, who lives in London.

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