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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
11 Apr 2013

We have already published some aspects of the overwhelming response to our recent Brief survey of your wishes. The rather equivocal views about the frequency with which we should email you are in Part 1 and your responses to the question 'How could the mobile version of be improved?' were published yesterday in Part 2.

We are now turning our attention to your much-valued responses to the question 'How could be improved?' If we were pleased that as many as 1,582 of you bothered to answer our survey during the three days it was live, we were thrilled that as many as 786 of you - more than half - took the trouble to write in an answer to this question. Even more gratifyingly, more than 550 of you kindly wrote completely appreciative comments such as 'Can't think of anything', while 230 out of the1,582 had constructive, often very constructive, criticisms or useful suggestions as to how to improve our site.

We intend to publish almost all of the constructive ones, omitting only direct repetition, and immediately below we give just a flavour of the more appreciative ones, plus the lone nasty one*. (As in Part 2, we have not edited responses.)

The survey may have been brief but the responses certainly weren't - in toto anyway. They tended to fall into various categories, which, to save you indigestion, we intend to publish in four long articles, ie three further ones, thus:

Brief survey results - part 3
General comments 

Brief survey results - part 4 
Specifics we think we can help with immediately

Brief survey results - part 5 
A second, less comprehensive 'lite' version?   
Concerns with logging in and passwords
Suggestions concerning tasting notes and/or search

Brief survey results - part 6
Content suggestions


Can you do part of my job so that i have more time to read it? :) I think you're doing an excellent job!

I cannot think of any major improvements that would be needed. The only general remark would be my suggestion to keep in mind that many of your subscribers, such as myself, are located outside the UK. That means, for example, that reports about activities of UK-based importers or retailers are usually of little interest to this category of subscribers.

You've done a great job. The content - the most important thing - is terrific. I think, though, that more and more people are using iPads or tablets to actually read online articles, rather than on laptops or PCs. The forum, for example, is a little fiddly to use on iPad. I've said above that you should email people weekly, as I sometimes miss the articles (daily is fine too, if the vote goes that way). For example, I subscribe to the daily forum updates. Works well, but I'd be equally keen - keener - to see what articles you've put up each day/week. Don't overdo it but you should not be afraid to email members as often as possible to bring them back to the site. Email is still the most important way to connect with your tribe, methinks. With so many other distractions, not least social media, it's perfectly acceptable to email us. Decanter sends daily emails, and that's no problem. Overall, a weekly update would be best. Perhaps, even, at a weekend, to coincide with your FT piece. A word or two on the forum. Is there any way you can get contributors to (a) be brief and (b) stick to the point? I feel it's gone off a bit, through no fault of your own. It might improve if Jancis and the JR team start threads occasionally. It would be a good way to engage members, especially in relation to the articles you've just posted. And I've sometimes wondered why there are no comments from women, unlike on Twitter. Comeback Patience W[addilove]. Finally, keep up the good work, and more on Bordeaux, please. ;)

I think you publish too much material. I cannot keep up reading so much!

Keep it accessible - in the widest sense of the word; price, content and technology. I think that there is a good balance between fine wine and everyday wine comment at present, please keep it that way, and also keep the breadth of coverage across all aspects of wine.

You are trying to cover too much

'Less is more' - there is so much information coming through (I know you work very hard) but often I cannot spot the crucial or important information from the routine.

I like it very well the way it is. The only reason I seldom access the site and the only reason for the lapse in my membership is that I am so short of time, I rarely have time to actually use the site. Ms Robinson writes beautifully, and there is no wine critic whose opinions I respect more.

It's a great site - the best independent wine website of which I know. The mix of articles and tasting notes seems judicious. And some of the comments in the discussion threads are so informative (pace the recent Beaujolais thread). Perhaps more guest articles - from winemakers or professionals in the industry. More tasting notes are always a help. As an individual on a limited budget I try to seek out the best value wines which offer the most interesting drinking, broaden my experience and mental reference library of tastes, and represent best expressions of terroir on my budget, so more wine tasting notes on modestly priced wines are always most welcome.

This is not a suggestion for improvement, but just a note that - until I answered this questionnaire - I hadn't twigged that there were monthly digest and tasting note articles. I suppose I've read some of these in the past, without realising they were part of a series, and so ticked the 'rarely' box in the form. But now I know they exist I shall definitely make the effort to read them when they come out. I'll also make the observation that one of the main incentives for me to subscribe has been the automatic upload of TNs from this site to Cellartracker. I hope you keep this feature!

This is tough for me. My biggest problem is time enough to find and read what interests me. I think if there was a way to set my account settings for different topics or regions, say, headline type news and France, then I would get more out of it. Every year I question if I'm getting anything close to value for my subscription, not because it's not a great site, but because I so rarely access it. Regular emails would help! is the best international information source about wine available. If I may suggest anything this might simply be to cover less ground in more depth. Personally I have grown weary of so much hype about wine, for this reason I read less and less about it (I mean hype in general, not that you are particularly "hypist", in fact you are not)

I think you've got it cracked - just what I need and easy to access

More promotion of features? I had completely forgotten about the Top Wines and Purple Pages digests. More my fault than yours! Keep up the great work.

I think one of the reoccuring themes is how en primeur is not really the best indicator of the quality of the wine further down the line. To that end I find in bottle tasting's really helpful. Also it is not just about the more expensive wines. The tasting non classed growth Bordeaux 2009s was hugely helpful and I bought ten different wines off the back of it. A similar exercise in 2010 would be helpful. Another areas that would be much help would be a style guide i.e. x bordeaux chateau produces wines that are full bodies, modern in style, powerful in fruit, quite sweet. It occurs to me that unless one has grown up with a large cellar, has the cash to buy expensive old one off bottles to try, most people including myself are buying different chateau en primeur while not really knowing the style of what they are buying.

I know it isnt very helpful to you, but I really cant think of anything, it is such a great website. I will carry on thinking about it though.

It feels very 'cliquey' at times and I don't feel like a typical 'purple pager' for some reason - but I do love the wine reviews and access to the database

More writing by Jancis herself!

More Julia Harding

Well, I really like it as it is. I use it for myself, to improve my knowledge and also to give information to my pupils. I teach French students to talk about wine in English, both those on degree courses and those currently unemployed and wanting to work in the wine trade. I've been a fan of Jancis no nonsense approach to wine for a long time! Thus I recommend them to join her site. I don't like ads in my mail box but I'm always happy to have news from Jancis... not advertisements though.

At the risk pf being unhelpful, I think it is pretty close to perfect as it stands.

I think it works quite well. As we say in the IT industry if it works don't even breathe

For its depth, scope and thoroughness JR is hard to beat for wine analysis .....I am constantly astonished at the sheer amount of work that goes into the researches. Improvement? I find it difficult to envisage how the service could be improved further, The very question itself reveals a refreshing lack of complacency, so I, for one, will continue staying 'purple'!

I'm stumped... already spending too much time on if it keeps getting better I'll never get anything done! That's why one email per month will suffice.

It seems difficult but I'm sure you'll find something. Nothing concerns me. I come to it for news and, thanks to your membership, as well as your spread of knowledgeable writers, you are excellent.

Its excellent. There really isn't a huge amount to improve on. The mix of content (articles, tasting notes, forum). As an Australian, I guess the one improvement for me would be to have an Australian-NZ correspondent. I love the input of Walter on Italy, and yourself / Julia on France. I just wish there was a little more input on the Antipodes.

1. Less random tasting articles (e.g. the portfolio of a certain shop) 2. More columns (such as those of Alex Hunt or Alder Yarrow) 3. More articles with general thoughts on developments in the wine world, the trade, certain regions, etc. (good examples: the short Muscadet piece, the article on wine in India) 4. More tasting articles on less popular regions such as the Loire, the Languedoc and Roussillon, South West France, Spain in general.

*It might be less self-involved, less snooty, less exclusionary-sounding and less of an inveterate name-dropper which is what, I'm afraid, it is seen as by some. I do not care about the Queen's cellar, even less what is in it or how many equerries were at a such-and-such tasting or even whether Sam Neill the movie star (please!) showed up one afternoon [five years ago! JR] with bottles of Two Paddocks. The strength of the JR website is in publishing balanced and thought-provoking articles (FT is fine) as well as reliability and consistency of tasting notes. Unfortunately for me, as a one-time subscriber, the former inclinations all too frequently outweigh the latter attributes and I now rely on Meadows, Tanzer etc. whose commentaries are to the point. I am not an American.

and my favourite:

More coarse language and nudity! ...It's very good, but will necessarily miss small regional wineries....

Parts 4, 5 and 6 will follow.