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Wine on the Web

Originally Posted: June 27, 2007

Lenn Thompson

The Wine Spectator. The Wine Advocate. Wine Enthusiast. Decanter…there is a seemingly endless array of wine magazines on the market today. To many, they are the go-to sources for information on wine and the wine world.

Beyond glossy wine magazines and newsletters, there are literally thousands and thousands of wine books. You can, pretty easily, get a basic level of wine understanding by just reading a book or two. One of my favorites is Karen McNeil's The Wine Bible.

But, over the past few years, Internet has become a premier—and free—resource for everything wine.

And while the "big guys" in wine publishing—those glossy mags—all have websites (of varying quality), wine blogs are the most exciting frontier in online winedom.

A blog—short for web log is a website that is usually run by a single person (or small group) where stories are posted in a journal style and displayed in reverse chronological order. The best examples combine quality writing, passion for their subject matter and interesting commentary and/or opinion.

Things like podcasts (audio) and vlogs (video blogs) have also grown out of the blogging movement and offer unique looks at topics that range from knitting to baking to cancer to our topic today—wine.

There are hundreds of wine blogs, vlogs and podcasts available online, but here are a few of my favorites.

In the video blog category, it's hard to do it any better than Wine Library TV (tv.winelibrary.com). Tied to online wine retailer WineLibrary.com, host Gary Vaynerchuk blends down-to-earth attitude, infectious energy and a deep understanding of wine in each of his almost-daily episodes. I dare you to watch just once—it's that addicting.

Wine blogs come in as many flavors as there are styles of wine, but for general-purpose wine information—with a healthy dose of passion that borders on obsession—visit Vinography (vinography.com). Founded and run by San Francisco resident Alder Yarrow, Vinography represents wine blogging at its finest. There are detailed wine reviews, event information and blunt, to-the-point commentary that is always thoughtful and refreshing.

Recent winner of Best Wine Blog and Best Wine Blog Writing in the 2007 American Wine Blog Awards, Dr. Vino (www.drvino.com) is published by Tyler Colman who actually is a doctor (he has a Ph D) and he definitely knows his wine. With a wide array of content, Dr. Vino is a veritable one-stop-shop if you only have time to read one wine blog. He also teaches wine classes at NYU and in Chicago.

There are also blogs that have very specialized, focused content. For instance Tom Wark's Fermentation blog (fermentation.typepad.com) is maintained by Tom Wark, who owns and runs a PR firm in California wine country. He can always be counted on for up-to-the-minute information on various industry topics, including shipping laws, wine trends, label and branding issues and of course winery promotion and public relations. I read it every morning.

Regionally focused wine blogs are among the most interesting and useful. They cover wine regions that either go ignored—or nearly so—by larger media outlets.

If you enjoy Spanish and Portuguese wines and want to learn more, check out Catavino (catavino.net). For Italian wines, visit mondosapore (mondosapore.com), published by a former teacher in New York City. Virginia wines are gaining popularity in wine circles these days and Dezel of Virginia Vine Spot (vinespot.blogspot.com) does an outstanding job bringing his local wine country to his readers.

And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my own blog here, LENNDEVOURS.com, where I focus on the wines of not only Long Island but the entire state of New York.

Lest you think wine blogs are yet another spot for wine snobbery, there's even a blog for lovers of boxed wines. The Box Wine Blog (boxwines.org), as its name suggests focuses on affordable wines that are often found in alternative packaging like boxes, cans and the like.

Again, these are just some examples of what the wine blogosphere has to offer. For a near-comprehensive list of wine blogs, visit Wine Blog Watch (wineblogwatch.arrr.net).

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