While bouncing around Twitter one day, I was turned on to a new-fangled wine search engine site by the incomparable Lisa Adams Walter (Twitter). She directed me to GoBYO (Twitter), a wine search engine that might revolutionize the Bring Your Own Bottle searches in your local restaurants, taking out the calling and questions surrounding the corkage policy at restaurants around the country. It is a very user-friendly website that is already exhaustively detailed about wine, corkage and restaurant information in now, 10 metro areas in the US. Devon Segel (Twitter), along with her family and the DiningInfo team launched this effort two years ago and it is continuing to build up at a rapid pace.
1. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You have created the single, most comprehensive central resource for Bring Your Own Bottle restaurant service that I have ever seen with GoBYO.com, not to mention all of locale-specific BYOB regulations. When did your start this project and what all does it encompass?
Devon Segel (Twitter): First, thank you! The GoBYO project was started in 2007, by the DiningInfo team. Led by my grandfather, Joseph Segel, we built an online restaurant database with exceptionally current and accurate information. We did this by directly contacting every listed restaurant by telephone to confirm current data within the past 120 days; most within the past 30 days. As a result of that intensive confirmation effort, hundreds of restaurants listed elsewhere on the Web were found to be closed and have been so marked on GoBYO.com. Many people have fallen in love with GoBYO.com because they love to savor wine – we also have a following among those who are looking to save by bringing their own wine. We serve those who save and savor.
2. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): What is your background in the food and wine biz and how did you originally discover these passions?
Devon Segel (Twitter): My background in food and wine began with my family. My grandfather and grandmother bring our family together almost every Sunday night at a Philadelphia-area or Southeastern Florida BYO friendly restaurant. My grandfather makes sure to share interesting wines with us and always explains their origin. I look forward to these dinners all week. My love for food began with my mother and grandmothers, and continues with my stepdad who is a caterer and uncle who is a professor of culinary arts at Drexel University. My professional background is in fine arts, cognitive psychology, marketing and management – food and wine certainly made learning those subjects very enjoyable.
3. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You work in “Wine 2.0” and live in Philly (as do Jason (Twitter) & Kim, the founders of WineLog!). Do you find the state shipping laws restrictive over there, or do the state-run distributors do a pretty good job of providing good, varied access to fine wine?
Devon Segel (Twitter): Hi Jason and Kim! I find that the PLCB system does a good job providing access to wines for Pennsylvanians. Since we focus on finding BYO friendly locations to enjoy wine, I think that we complement each State’s distribution systems and look forward to expanding into other cities in the near future.
Devon Segel (Twitter): As my friends will agree, I am a lover of all cuisines and wines no matter where and when. To choose a favorite would be like a parent selecting a favorite child! No can do 🙂 I can say this, my favorite food is the pickle.
Devon Segel (Twitter): As we continue to build out the features of the database and our offerings to our restaurants/clients, we are also focusing on raising the GoBYO profile through social channels where our users are spending time. You can follow us on Twitter at @GoBYO and find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GoBYO. We will soon be launching a Facebook campaign – become a fan of GoBYO.com on Facebook and stay tuned for a chance to win some very cool prizes this summer!