From the May issue of GQ: The internet has made it easier than ever before to discover wine. Traditional print media necessarily saw the gathering and dissemination of wine information in the hands of the few – a small group of self-appointed authorities delivering their pronouncements from on high. What the internet has done is to democratize the debate around wine – via blogs, discussion forums, Facebook and Twitter – and it’s a lot less elitist as a result.
Here is a list of useful online wine resources:
CellarTracker! was built in 2003 by Eric LeVine, a former Microsoft programmer. It provides cellar management software and allows those participating to record their own tasting notes. Out of this has grown one of the world’s most comprehensive wine databases. 192 566 users with some 1.2 million bottles of wine in the database at last count.
Founded in 1999, Wine-searcher.com is a search engine of the price lists of 32 454 wine stores around the world. Want to know where to buy Cheval Blanc 2000 and at what price? This is your site.
Prominent personalities on the web
All men (and women) are created equal on the internet but some more equal than others. The granddaddy of them all is Robert Parker, US based and arguably the world’s most influential wine critic. His website eRobertParker.com, which is kept up to date by him and a small group of affiliates, contains over 200 000 searchable tasting notes plus in-depth articles. You have to pay to subscribe, the cost being $99 (R807) a year.
Parker’s UK counterpart is Jancis Robinson MW. Her website JancisRobinson.com provides access to nearly 65 000 tasting notes and nearly 9 000 articles. Full membership costs £69 (R835) a year. Other prominent UK wine writers with worthwhile sites include Tim Atkin MW (Timatkin.com) and Jamie Goode (Wineanorak.com), both of whom cover the South African scene fairly regularly.