Marcel's Wine Links


 


These are some of my favorite wine related links on the Internet. While the list isn't comprehensive, it represents the best wine content I've found on the web. Since I can't hope to find all of the great pages on the web by myself (who can?), I'm always open to suggestions of new sites to add to the list. My policy is only to include sites with significant wine-related content, and not sites which are just trying to sell something. Also, if you find a broken or outdated link, please let me know.


Tasting notes, discussion forums, articles, and other all-around fun sites:

Robin Garr's Wine Lovers' Page is one of the best wine pages I have found. In addition to Robin's many valuable tips on wines, there is a lively, and well-informed, discussion forum.

Another place to find interesting discussions about wines is the West Coast Wine Net. It's a little more California-centric than the Wine Lovers' Page, but they also discuss non-West Coast wines.

Although the publication has many vocal detractors, the Wine Spectator has a very good (if graphically bloated) website, which includes thousands of easily-searchable tasting notes. Their magazine articles are available online, as is current wine news, often before it hits the pages of their print version. They also have some discussion boards which have had their ups and downs.

Although Thor Iverson no longer writes for the Boston Phoenix (a weekly newspaper), his Uncorked columns, are still worth reading (and re-reading). They're well-written, carefully researched, and interesting, which places them ahead of about 99% of newspaper wine columns. And now you can find direct links from Iverson's own archive, which means that you don't have to sift through the Boston Phoenix site, and you can easily skip the less-worthy work of their other wine columnist.

Does anybody taste as many Zins (both new and aged) and Rhône-style wines as Tom Hill? Not anyone I know. Take advantage of his enormous experience and fine palate by reading the Tom Hill Archive.

Mark Squires has been posting his voluminous, jealousy-inducing tasting notes online for quite a few years, first in various discussion forums, and now on Mark Squires' Ezine.

One of the original places to discuss wine online was the alt.food.wine newsgroup. While it can fall victim to spam and trolls, as can any unmoderated Usenet newsgroup, there are plenty of participants who keep the discussion lively and focused. The newsgroup has a growing FAQ, with details on many wine-related topics.

Strat's Place, run by Art and Betsy Stratemeyer, has a lot of excellent content, including "live" dictionaries of wine region and term pronunciation as well as a huge database of wine bottle labels. They also have thousands of tasting notes, wine auction prices, and plenty more.

Roland Marandino's Tablewine.com is a great non-commercial resource focusing on affordably-priced wines. In addition to weekly wine reviews and a monthly feature story, the site also has surveys, a discussion forum and real-time chats.

Jamie Goode's Wine Anorak site features tips for wine newbies, lots of tasting notes, food and wine matching, wine travel tips and sometimes-controversial articles.

Tired of sites that take wine (and themselves) too seriously? The Compleat Winegeek is one couple's story of their descent into the 'hard-core' wine fanaticism. It's one of the rare sites that manages to balance humor and useful information.

The Gang of Pour shares views, interviews, and reviews on their lively, informative site.

Sure, lots of sites have tasting notes. But one of the best features of Grape-Nutz is that many of the tasting notes come from winery visits. Not only do you get the benefit of detailed tastings through producers' lineups, but you almost feel like you're taking a tour of wine country.

Tom Cannavan's Wine Pages have plenty to read and do, including relatively frequent wine quizzes for you to test your Wine IQ.

The International Slow Food movement brings its philosophy of enjoyment to the vinous arena, with the Slow Food Guide to the Wines of the World. You can find a list of their "top wines", along with maps of major growing regions and winery profiles.

Arthur Johnson's Wine-People page has lots of tasting notes, articles and interviews. It's easy to spend some time there.

WinoStuff features lighthearted articles and tasting notes by John, Bob and Wally, three guys (winos?) who obviously enjoy a good bottle. You'll also find news, restaurant suggestions, and extensive links.

Bennet and Shiela Bodenstein's OnWine site features the writings of these syndicated columnists. There are plenty of columns and wine reviews to read.

The Beverage Tasting Institute claims to have over 30,000 tasting notes and ratings on its site. There is also an interesting wine dictionary.

The Professional Friends of Wine site offers essays and tasting notes from professionals connected to wine, such as grape growers, restauranteurs and retailers.

The Latest Scoop:

WineBusiness.com has very good coverage of news and events related to the wine industry.

And you can find more industry news and events in the online version of Wines and Vines magazine.

If you're searching for wine events in your area (or someplace that you'll be visiting), you should take a look at LocalWineEvents.com, which lists wine tastings, dinners and other happenings in a large number of cities worldwide.

The reference shelf:

Another excellent site for information about various winemaking regions is La planète-vin. The site includes regulations for various winemaking regions, as well as some excellent articles. Unfortunately, it's only in French, but much of the content is pretty easy to decipher even if you aren't a native speaker.

Brad's Wine FAQ is one of the most comprehensive online wine references. It started as a Usenet FAQ, but has become a lengthy, detailed introduction to wine. It's one of the best Internet resources for wine novices.

If you're interested in learning about the first wines ever made, you might want to check out The Origins and Ancient History of Wine. Fittingly for a university site, there's a quiz to check if you actually learned the material.

For the wine-techie:

The wineserver at the University of California -- Davis has lots of technical information about wine, including some winemaking resources.

Since chemistry is one of my favorite subjects, I couldn't forget the Alchemist's Wine Perspective, which tackles various wine-related subjects from a scientific point of view. The only problem is the somewhat confusing organization, as the site listed above is supposedly the main gateway, but there is a more complete repository at a different location.

If you've ever had to dump a bottle of corked wine, or if you've ever had a bottle ruined by a leaky cork, then you probably know that one of the biggest technical problems facing the wine industry today is finding a reliable closure for wine bottles. If you want to learn everything there is to know on the subject, you should start with Corkwatch.com, wine writer Robert Joseph's extensive reference on corks and alternative closures.

Is it legal?

If you want to know about legal issues affecting wine (including shipping regulations), I can't think of a better source than WineLaw, a division of the Wine Institute.

Shipping regulations are some of the biggest legal issues in wine these days, particularly in the USA. Freethegrapes.org is a site dedicated to the legalization of direct shipping, and offers information about how to campaign for their cause, along with a discussion of the reasons underlying shipping regulations.

The regional approach:

Spanish wine is becoming more and more popular these days. I suggest the highly informative Spanish Wines site set up by Jens Riis.

Are you a Bordeaux fan? Don't miss Winemega.com, which compiles tasting notes from several sources, publishing average scores with standard deviations; they also have a nice vintage chart for the various sub-regions.

Gambero Rosso is one of Italy's premier wine, travel and food publications, and their online site makes a good first stop when investigating the country's wine scene.

German wines are well-represented on the web. One of my favorite examples is Peter Ruhrberg's German Wine Page. If you're a fan of wine scores, you can also try the Gault-Millau German Wineguide, which would be much better with more notes (and if it had an English version). The German Wine Information Bureau's German Wine Pages has some good information on (surprise!) German wines, along with lots of useful links to wineries, importers, and other information sites.

For fans of south-of-the-equator wines, I recommend checking out Winestate, a great online magazine focusing on Austrialia.  If Kiwi wines are more your style, you should take a look at WinesOfNZ, an informative site with a good map of the country, information on winemaking regions and links to wineries.

Moving on to a different part of the world, but still below the equator, if you're looking for news about South African wine, you might want to try the aptly-named South African Wine News. Sure, the site sells some wine, but it's also a great source of information about the region.

Where do I go from here?

OK, you've read about some wine regions, and now you want to visit. There don't seem to be too many good sites geared toward wine vacations, but one excellent one is Steve O's California Wine Touring Guide. It seems to be best for Napa Valley, but contains information on a variety of regions in the state.

Some previously-mentioned sites also have travel information. Robin Garr's Wine Lovers' Page has a wine travel forum, where you can get tips from other online travelers and wine country residents. The Wine Spectator has frequent travel guides to a wide variety of wine regions, though the Spectator tends to target travelers who have plenty of cash to burn. Also, if you want to find a company that specializes in wine tours or a wine travel guide on the web, try the Open Directory Project's Wine Travel category.

The focus is on the fruit:

I admit it, I'm a Zinner. So it isn't surprising that I have found a pretty good collection of sites devoted to Zinfandel. You can start with Vivian Nagy's Zin Zealot, which focuses on Sonoma County wines. Next, head over to Zow!! Zinfandel On the Web, which is an excellent site that unfortunately doesn't seem to have been updated since late '98. And I couldn't talk about Zin without mentioning the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP), an association of producers and fans of Zinfandel which holds tastings in various locations every year.

Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, may not be as well-known as some other varieties, but it is a favorite in South Africa. Peter May's interesting Pinotage Club site offers lots of information for fans of this variety.

Any good winery sites out there?

Given my admission above, you probably aren't surprised that one of my favorite winery web sites (and favorite wineries) is Ridge Vineyards. They make excellent wines, particularly the Montebello Cabernet, their various Zinfandels, and their Petite Sirah. The website offers some good information about their wines, along with tasting notes from various sources.

Although the philosophy of the website is almost exactly opposite of ours (lots of graphics and video), I have to list the Baron Philippe de Rothschild page (French version here). Why? Because it the most impressive example I have seen of what a winery can do with plenty of bandwidth. Yes, it's very "Flash-y," but there's a lot of steak along with the sizzle. If you have a good computer and a speedy connection to the Internet, you can get a wealth of information about this producer. However, if you have a slow connection, expect some frustrating waits (even using the low bandwidth version); still, if you can afford the wine, you can probably afford the hardware. And would you expect anything less from Mouton?

I can at least vouch for the quality of the wines from the sites on my Wines of the Month Wine and Producer List, even if not all of the sites are the best on the web. You'll find a list of all of the producers of all of the wines featured since the monthly column began in May, 1999. Links have been provided for all of the websites I could find. The featured wines have been listed beneath each producer, along with links back to their reviews.

Forget the wineries, how do I make my own wine?

One of the first places I would look is the rec.crafts.winemaking newsgroup on Usenet. Lots of friendly home winemakers participate, offering recipes, protocols and advice. They had a good FAQ, but it seems to have disappeared from the web. If anyone finds it, please let me know.

The Winemaking Home Page also contains recipes along with a useful glossary.

UC -- Davis has a home winemaking book available for download in PDF format.

Dreaming about starting your own vineyard? You might want to check out the story of Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards. Monthly updates provide insight into the process of building a vineyard from scratch.

If opening your own vineyard seems a little too ambitious (or costly), you might want to consider getting a job in the industry to see how you like it. Don't know where to look for one? Try WineCountryJobs.com, which has plenty of searchable listings.

What if I just want to buy wine?

As I stated at the top of this page, my policy is not to list sites that are just selling something, so I'm not going to list any retailers here. Try one of the more general link sites if you want to find companies that sell wine. However, if you're looking for a specific bottle of wine, I will recommend checking out the very helpful Wine-Searcher.com site. Wine Searcher doesn't sell any wines, but it does list more than 200,000 wine prices from hundreds of different retailers. It's a great reference site if you're trying to locate a rare bottle of wine, or if you just want to check prices at different shops.

Want to make sure that the shops don't sell out of your favorite wines before you stock up? Head to WineRelease.com, which has lots of listings of North American release dates, so you can be first in line.

If you buy wine by the label (or if you're one of the many label collectors), you might want to look at The Wine Labels World. This multilingual site offers lots of label pictures grouped by themes.

What if I have too much wine?

That was a trick question...there's no such thing as too much wine, right? However, many people find that they have trouble remembering each and every bottle that they own, so I suggest trying a free cellar management service like Warpa, which also includes user-contributed tasting notes and a discussion forum. The ISWN (International Standard Wine Number), which is similar to ISBN for books, assigns a unique identification code to each brand and vintage of wine, making catalog maintenance even easier.

These links are ok, I guess, but where can I find more?

Probably the best list of wine sites is the Open Directory Project's Wine category, and I'm not just saying that because I'm one of the volunteer editors (I receive no compensation for editing). It has thousands of links to wineries, along with links to various other pages of interest (including all the other major directories of wine-related sites).

Travel Envoy's Wine Guide has a huge list of links to wineries all over the world. They also have some tasting notes and wine articles, making the site even more useful.


Last Update 9/14/02


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Copyright 1999-2002, Marcel Lachenmann.