Slightly off topic, but I have been asked a number of times the online "wine" resources I was using here in the US. As many people know, I have developed an interest in wine tasting and collecting, starting in France and expanded to other interesting wine countries as I was visiting them: South Africa, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and obviously California. Whilst there are myriads of online resources related to wine, here are the ones I am using personally most often:
- Wine Spectator: the famous monthly magazine is also providing a very comprehensive tasting and scoring database. Whilst scores have their limitations, and some like to average multiple sources, I have found them consistent and reliable for a number of years. Because of their coverage of international wine, they introduce you to interesting types, grapes, tastes - not to mention great tips for restaurants and places to visit.
Some features are available for free, but full access to the database and tastings requires a subscription.
- Wine Searcher: once you have figured out which wine you might be interested in, you have to locate it - and possibly at the best price. Wine Searcher aggregates a large number of wine e-commerce sites, and provides a list of places where a given wine can be found.
The basic version is free, and already provides a lot of data. The Pro version, for $30/year, list all shops where a given wine is available, plus price history.
- LocalWineEvents: allows you to subscribe to a newsletter announcing wine tasting events, almost on a worldwide basis.
- Podcasts: I recommend these two weekly programs, produced by wine connoisseurs whose purpose is to make wine accessible to a large audience: Winecast and Grape Radio. Definitely worth a download, and a read
- Blogs: I have not really reviewed a lot of them, but I have recently subscribed to Avenue Vine, The Wine Cellar and Vinography. And for those of you speaking French, there is BlogoVino (on which I guestblog every now and then).
- Wine E-Commerce sites: I tend to buy most of my wines in retail stores or through auctions, but in the US, I would recommend K&L Wine and in France, ChateauOnline and 1855.
- Retail stores: The Bay Area has a lot of good wine retail outfits. My favorite is K&L Wine, which has one of the best selections in its two stores in San Francisco and Redwood City. Don't forget your local Costco, which has a limited, but well priced wine selection. Cost Plus World Markets also carries a good selection.
Oh, and there is my modest wine moblog, on which I record the bottles we enjoy, and add a few tasting notes.
Feel free to suggest additional resources!