Google Wine Trends

Experimental "Trends" search engine makes wine research a breeze.



Researching wine trends just got easier. Google has recently added an experimental "Trends" search engine (www.google.com/trends) that allows viewers to pull up data about online wine searches by typing in varietals and key wine words.

Want to know how San Franciscans and New Yorkers compare when it comes to searching for Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir? Trends reveals that in 2006, San Franciscans searched for the following wines, in order of most popular to least:  Pinot Noir; Chardonnay; Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon, while New Yorkers searched first for Pinot Noir, then Merlot, then Chardonnay and finally, Cabernet Sauvignon.

How does it work? A Google spokeswoman said the search engine uses IP addresses from server logs, algorithms and geeky techniques to make a best guess about where queries originated. It further charts news events that might reflect the spike though with wine, news had no real impact.

Info buffs will rejoice—the permutations you can enter are endless (and certainly not limited to wine) and a great way to make fun look like work. But, "You probably don't want to write your PhD dissertation based on this information," says Corey Vickrey, Software Engineer for Google Trends. The trends component was still in very early experimental stage and may contain inaccuracies, including data-sampling issues and a variety of approximations that Trends makes use of.

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