Social Networking Platform for Custom Winemaking Community

Outsourcing Consulting News

March 22-25, 2010 CTIA Wireless Conference and Tradeshow 2010 (Las Vegas, NV)
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Custom Development of Social Networking Winemaking Community

Company profile

The customer's company is the leader in the emerging Custom Wine industry. They enable individuals across the country to participate in high end winemaking - physically or virtually - by providing access to California's most renowned vineyards, professional winemakers and state-of-the-art equipment. Using their proprietary winemaking process, their customers have complete control over the style of wine and can choose their level of involvement in winemaking at their 16,000 square foot facility.

The customer's company wants to allow anyone in any location to turn their passion for wine into a full-fledged commercial wine business - without the high cost, complexity or time commitment normally associated with starting a winery.

Business need

The customer needed a web-based Social Networking Portal to join experienced and first-time winemakers in a special community that provides members the ability to study the winemaking process, learn the tricks of the trade, create their own wines and share them with friends.

Custom social networking Community

Salesforce Integration

The customer uses the SalesforceTM Customer Relationship Management system. SolveITLabs used the Salesforce Custom Object functionality, the Salesforce API and the SOQL simplified query language to integrate Salesforce customer information to the Social Networking Portal. The SOAP protocol for PHP (PEAR SOAP module) establishes communications with the Salesforce module.

Credit Card Transactions

The payments system is used to process credit cards transactions using the Securepay API using HTTPS POST requests. Each transaction is divided into 2 stages - funds reservation during manufacturing, and withdrawal of money when wine is completed and delivered.

Architecture description

The developed social networking portal consists of two sections: the Corporate Site displays general information for the public; the Social Networking Portal facilitates the Winemaker community.

Social Networking System

Key Features

  • My Home Page
    The member's home page displays a greeting, with the member's name, picture, number of private messages. This area also alerts the member to the following events:

    • a new group message has been posted
    • a new group photo
    • a new event in the group calendar
    • a new wine has been created in the group
  • My Group

    • View and change group name and description
    • Invite new members to the group with an introductory message
    • Accept new members
    • Add group photos
    • Links to main Community sections: Wines, Allocations, Messages, Members, Photos, and Calendar
  • Community Network
    This section allows the member to invite others to become members of community. The main area of home page has short description about the community. The community content area can be changed regularly through an administrative tool.

  • Members
    The Winemaker Social Network Portal System supports several key roles to provide different levels of member's privileges.

    There are 3 major groups of members of the Winemaker Social Network Portal System: Primary Leader, Leader or Participant with different member's permissions


  • Wines
    This section allows members to change the current wine status, showing:

    • Vineyard photo
    • Wine description
    • The number of cases of wine allocated to the member
    • The total number of cases of wine that all members of the group have
    • The number of cases not yet allocated to members and saved to the public wine pool by the Primary Leader
    • Current status of wine - Confirmed or Unconfirmed
    • Current winemaking phase
  • Create a New Wine
    To create a new wine, a primary leader of a group chooses a vineyard where the wine will be made. The primary leader receives the detailed information on the vineyard, the wine manufacturing price, and the barrel price.

    The primary leader sets the wine name and description and selects the number of barrels to produce. The primary leader can also send a message to the members of the group the wine will be distributed to.

    When the wine has been created, the primary leader can pay for the entire order; the full cost of the wine will be charged to their credit card.

    Alternatively, the primary leader may allocate some or all of the wine to other members of a group. When a member accepts their allocation, their credit card is immediately authorized to ensure credit availability and guard against fraud. Members' credit cards are charged only when the entire amount of the wine has been allocated and accepted.

    Wine is created in barrels and allocated in cases: 25 cases per barrel.


  • Allocations
    This section displays the information on current allocations of wines to members of group, and allows leaders and primary leaders to change allocations. The page displays the members of group with the full list of wines, each member's current allocation including the case price and quantity.

    Social Networking System for Custom Winemaking Community

  • Messages
    This part or my groups section is very similar to the Yahoo Groups Messages. Unread messages appear bolded until they are read.

  • Calendar
    This section has standard calendar functionality and shows the group's events. Only primary leaders and leaders can add events to the group.


  • Portal administration section with next key features:

    • System settings
    • Vineyard information management
    • Corporate website content management
    • Public News and Events management

List of unique system's features, challenges and specific tasks:

  • Complicated wine allocation logic
  • Internal cash account
  • Messages
  • Multi level groups permissions
  • Replication between local database and Salesforce database
  • Connections between all system entities (links/security/preferences)
  • XML data export
  • Google contacts import
  • Drupal integration
  • Crontab scenarios (based on templates)


SolveITLabs has extensive experience in Web application development including Social Networking System development expertise. The Agile project methodology provides early and continuous delivery of valuable software together with quick positive response to changing requirements. Products and services used.


  • ER model development tool: Sybase Power Designer
  • PHP IDE and debug tool: Nusphere PHPEd
  • Source and version control system: Subversion
  • Bug tracking system: Mantis

List of third-party products and development tools used for the solution:

  • Salesforce SOQL
  • xAJAX
  • Google Data API
  • MCE WYSIWYG editor
  • Securepay API
  • GrabYahoo class
  • PEAR library
  • GD2 PHP library
  • Drupal integration

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