The Success Of A Nerd at Heart and His Love of Wine

May 24, 2011 No Comments by Marula

Eric LeVine is recognized for his outstanding contribution to the success of Microsoft. One of his more public input are the classic error messages you see in Microsoft applications when things go bonkers. His wife, Suzie was also a part of Microsoft. They lived a comfortable life in a Queen Anne house, immensely appreciated by Bill Gates for their dedication to Microsoft.

Life changed unexpectedly for LeVine when he took a leisurely trip to Tuscany with his wife. LeVine felt an instant affinity to wine-making. Seeing the grapes being crushed and fermented triggered a fascination that grew stronger long past his wine-tasting trip. In particular, he enjoyed the different methods used by small villages in coming up with different kinds of Chiantis. This began a new chapter in his life as he began to delve deeper into wine-making and wine collecting.

With a quirky smile, he says, “I got the bug, and in a serious way.”

That was an understatement because soon after his trip to Tuscany, a wine cellar was constructed in his home. He began to host wine parties and got to know the well-respected winemakers like Bob Betz, a wine connoisseur who soon became a personal friend. As his knowledge grew, so did his collection. At present, his most treasured wine bottle is the Château de Beaucastel. True to his expertise in Microsoft, he used it to create an online application which he called the CellarTracker.

The CellarTracker became his personal wine library. It contains information on specific wine bottles in his cellar such as its vintage, inventory, price. It also includes LeVine’s personal comments on each wine bottle. On April 2004, with the help of some wine enthusiasts such as himself, CellarTracker went online. The response was so electric that LeVine left his job with Microsoft a year later to go full time with CellarTracker.

LeVine says, “I left because I was excited by CellarTracker. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneurial guy.”

Feedback from visitors to the website spurred him to further develop and enhance the site. To date, over 82,000 people have registered with more than 16,000 subscribers all paying $40 a year. Members are allowed to post their reviews on listed wines. A daily average of 1,100 users have publicly commented on listed wines, and the estimated worth has surpassed $1 billion.

Calling himself a “nerd at heart” LeVine has managed to combine two loves into a smash hit website. Truly, the nerd has come to his own.

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