Here are some of my favorite online wine resources- from videos to forums to wine blogs and more. I’m compiling a list of my favorite “Lesser Known” wine blogs and websites as well and hope to publish these in the next week. I have no competing interests in any of the sites, except for www.wineinterview.com, where my blog is also published. That said, my only compensation is link-backs, so there is no financial motive for me to put them here! If you have suggestions on other great websites, let me know! (image from dreamstime.com)
For entertainment and general wine info:
WineLibraryTV.Com: Wine Library’s director of operations Gary Vaynerchuk has become somewhat of a wine legend. Say what you want, “he is out to sell wine”, “he can be annoying”, “he compares wine to WWF Wrestlers” (how again does this help me know what a wine tastes like?)- but he’s a damn good businessman and a great wine educator. In the 3 years since WLTV was launched, Vaynerchuk has “changed the wine world” as he often reminds us. His “trust your pal(ate)” campaign reminds wine newbies and enthusiasts that no matter what anyone thinks about a particular wine, if it tastes good to you, then drink it as much as you’d like. He also advocates trying new things which is a great way to develop your palate. WLTV airs 5 days a week, with each show including a brief region or wine overview, a wine tasting, and a “question of the day” in which you respond to in the comments section (he loves comments so be sure to leave one!). The archives are filled with tons of information on tasting wines, wine pairings, wine regions and more. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on an old episode, then head over to the forums- tv.winelibrary.com/forums- which are filled with hardcore Vayniac’s who love to share stories and tasting experiences. Don’t forget to check out the Wine Library free offers (free shipping, discounted items) which can be found through a link in the forums.
http://www.wineinterview.com: This fairly new website brings hundreds of winemaker interviews, vineyard profiles, educational shows and comedic satire from the camera of professional film studio Ecstatic Films. Definitely worth checking out! (Competing interest declaration: My blog is published on this site as well).
For quality discussions with peers, experts, critics and more:
WineSpectator Forums: A more laid back group than you’ll find at Mark Squires board (below), the folks on the WS forums are witty, passionate wine enthusiasts from all walks of life. Expect great advice on wine purchases, drinking windows, recipes and more. Don’t forget to check out the “Offline” forum for local wine tastings and meet-ups, or the “buying and selling” forum for great deals on wine between collectors new and old. Just don’t try selling anything your first month or two there- you’ll quickly be chastised for “spamming” and won’t be taken seriously until you develop a relationship with the members of the board.
Mark Squires Bulletin Board on ERobertParker.com: Robert Parker is considered to be one of the most influential people in the world of wine dating back to the release of his Wine Advocate in the 1970′s. Perhaps no other single individual has changed the ways wines are made, distributed and drank over the past 35 years. His website, which requires a paid subscription, is a thorough compilation of wine ratings, wine tutorials, region information and the like. It may not be worth the cost (it’s not cheap) since you can find the same information all over the internet for free (try Google!). There is one aspect of Robert Parker’s site that I highly recommend: Mark Squires Bulletin Board. Let me first say though, that the amount of censorship on the Squires Board has been called into question many times before. Squires hands out “bans” as if they were going out of style quickly- attack Parker, Squires, Jay Miller, or any other of the crew and you are looking to be kicked off the forum as quickly as you joined. That said, if you play by his rules, the Squires Board is filled with winemakers, importers, distributors, expert critics, sommeliers, rich collectors, newbies and more. This eclectic mix of people makes this an outstanding place to ask questions and learn new things. The group is gentle with beginners and is always willing to contribute their opinions and expertise. You can find experts on almost any wine region at all hours of the day and night just waiting to share their experiences and tasting notes. To join: http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/index.php?.
Best Cellar Management Tool (Free):
CellarTracker.Com: Former Microsoft programmer Eric Levine’s Cellertracker is a powerful wine cataloging system that is fully integrated with many wine websites and search engines. Features include personal valuation, community tasting notes and scoring, and an easy to use (albeit simple looking) interface. Eric is a great guy who can be found on the many internet forums (including those above) answering questions, troubleshooting issues and listening to the community on ways to improve his already great software. Highly recommended for people with anywhere from 2 bottles to 20000 as a way to track purchases, consumption and tasting notes.
For Basic Wine Info:
http://www.winepros.org: A great written resource for information on wines, grapes, regions and producers. Well organized and very approachable with easy to read articles and an easy to navigate site.
http://www.ilikewine.com/: Very comprehensive resource that tells the history of wine in many areas of the world, as well as tips on how to store, buy or basically do anything with wine! Highly recommended.
Six Outstanding Wine Blogs:
Goodwineunder20.blogspot.com: Dr. Deb’s has an outstanding wine blog that is not only well written and informative, but is also very entertaining. Most of the entries tell a story rather than just list a few details on a wine or region. As you’d expect, most wines are under $20 while the quality of the website is priceless!
Fermentation.Typepad.com: President of the SWRA and wine guru Tom Wark is an outstanding journalist and wine writer. Don’t expect to find too many reviews or wine region overviews on Fermentation. Instead be prepared to contemplate philosophy, politics, and wine journalism as Wark’s laid back yet thought provoking writing style takes you on a journey into the wine abyss.
RedWineBuzz and WineSooth: Doctor of Nuclear Medicine Arthur Prezbinda runs one very popular wine blog (RedWineBuzz) and one very new, soon to be very popular wine blog (WineSooth). RedWineBuzz is a great wine news and review website (be sure to sign up for his newsletter), whereas winesooth.com takes on issues in wine pertaining to politics, science and journalism. Both are highly recommended as they bring very different things to the table from a passionate, open-minded, scientists point of view.
The Pour: I wasn’t going to include this as it’s already a very popular blog, but I am really a big fan of Asimov. While I don’t always agree with him on things, I really respect his writing and enjoy his style. He takes on topics from wine events to wine scandals and being a nationally syndicated (and paid) blogger and writer, he is often invited to many events and tastings that other bloggers only dream about! I’d sign up for the NYTimes online as well as he often has full-feature articles in their Food and Wine section as well.
Wannabewino.com: Daily wine reviews of whatever Sonadora (a DC attorney and expert wino!) drank last night. No ratings to be found, but straightforward tasting notes, fun stories, wine recommendations and more.
Vinography: Alder Yarrow’s wine blog, vinography.com, is one of the most popular blogs out there. He addresses controversial topics and always seems to say just the right thing to spark a great debate (or argument!). Some call him pretentious, some call him genius, I call him a great wine journalist and a lot of fun to read.