We all have our daily internet tours, maybe weekly, where we catch up on what’s going on out there in the ever changing world. There are all the favourite sites on wine, spirits, cigars, or whatever. The casual browser will quickly become overwhelmed by useless information overload, or in many cases a complete lack of information. You could conceivably google a wine from a restaurant list and it wouldn’t even come up. It happens to me often. Perhaps because of the sheer volume of information, or because of variations in shipping laws and availability, wine writing on the internet tends to speak to very particular audiences. This has always led us to lean on expert reviews, which are carefully tucked away behind expensive subscription fees and other red tape, not a recipe for the quick info we desire. The internet-wine relationship is still in a very nascent phase, which it may never emerge from. Imagine the wine buyer trying to discern information 50 years ago, and we’re certainly in a better position even in this unevolved state of public wine information.
This site for me leads the charge in terms of a one-stop shop for wine browsers. Eric LeVine started this database in 2004 and it has ballooned to 50 million monthly page views. Probably the most complete database of wine bottles in existence, Cellartracker is composed of users who input their own wine cellar inventory and then write their own public reviews of the wines as they drink them. The individual reviews are fraught with poor adjective use and irrational taste profiles (“medium plus tannins”?). However, once a wine has several reviews they start to come together to form a more cohesive and useful whole. Cellartracker is also teaching amateurs to get better at tasting and thinking about their own wines, it’s not just a database for millionaires. If you find a bottle of 1997 Campofiorin in a dusty store shelf, there is a pretty good chance you can come here and get a recent tasting note. Cellartracker does much more than just inventory, like integrating professional reviews and giving up to date valuations.
A blog for the hipster wine nerd. Focusing on what’s new and hot in the wine world, Tyler Colman has done some great work to shed light on the realities of modern wine farming practices, the behind the scenes world of wine professionals, and the newest ideas in food and wine pairing.
Leading the charge as a wine reviewer who wears his biases on his sleeve, unlike the mainstream critics. Bundles of in-depth information focusing on Bordeaux and the Loire in particular, with other regions thrown in as spice. Chris Kissack has snuck up the ranks to become a leading site for informatin on Bordeaux, no small feat.
Alice Feiring has become a huge voice for naturally made wines, or as she calls them naked wines. Her spirited writing cuts through the modern tricks of wine consumerism and boils it down to wine, food, and sharing good times the way we did in a simpler time. Sound familiar?
Keith Levenberg provides deeply intellectual perspective on the state of wine today. Sure the articles come “fortnightly” but they are real gems stock full of insight and often humour.
Slate’s Mike Steinberger blends wine news and opinion in expert editorial content that grabs your attention and always sparks good debates in the comment sections.
A real innovator in new media, Gary Vaynerchuk carved a huge niche with his free online wine video series. He has since retired from wine videos, leaving behind 1,000 episodes filled with and intuitive and emotional reviews and educational wine info. You can’t watch this guy and not feel energized about the exciting possibilities of what’s in your glass.