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LA Times List of Top Wine Sites


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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit? Which ones do you like? Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz: Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

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Mary Baker

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Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?
But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Too easy.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?
But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Too easy.

Way too easy.... :laugh:

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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit?  Which ones do you like?  Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Anybody ever visit Winetalk--I believe it is Serge Birbier (sp?) who hosts it.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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A very good well-written article.

Patrick Comiskey is spot on both on Parker and Jancis Robinson.

Thanks for bringing this up.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit?  Which ones do you like?  Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

First--the article is well written and does a pretty good job recapping the current state of affairs.

Comiskey is himself, a good writer in the wine world.

My two cents:

Comiskey left out a very fine site (IMOP): The Wine Spectator's. This could be because he is an editor (I believe) at Wine and Spirits Magazine. He did not include any magazine sites.

As for your pop quiz:

One could ask the question about this quote:

".... at 9,000 members, 77,000 threads and posts approaching one million, it is by far the most far flung and heavily trafficked wine bulletin board in the ether. You'll find winemakers, sommeliers and serious aficionados making regular posts."

Yes Comiskey is right on with the additional quote--combined the two present a fairly accurate description of Parker's bulletin board.

At this juncture--I would point out that I have never posted on Parker's board--I do subscribe to the Wine Advocate as well as --Jancis Robinson's site, Tanzer, Burghound, Wine Spectator and numerous other journals and magazines.

I have a bit of an issue with Comiskey's assessment of Jancis Robinson. I have mixed feelings about her. She is knowledgeable but is she really the "preeminent English language wine journalist at the moment?"

She can very good--she is a good writer--but she also has an annoying (to me) habit of tossing snarky comments without any explanation into her prose (and notes). She often revels in spreading gossip and uses coyness and indirectness to prevent anyone from challenging her views. she is a master of implications and insinuation. OK she is "cheeky."

As for her tasting notes, again, when they are good they are very good but she also can be imprecise and vague behind a glib prose style.

She most definitely can be fun to read though.

Mr Comiskey seems to be dazzled with her MW (lot's of folks have edited wine encyclopedias) and her style. i feel she often hides behind her credentials. To me there is less there than meets the eye.

Lastly, I have recently discovered Daniel Rogov's site. (a nice benefit of eGullet).

He posts here frequently and I have found few writers as erudite and knowledgeable in not just wine but a wide variety of topics. His tasting notes are remarkable for their precision and discipline. I would recommend that anyone interested in wine give him a try!

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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit?  Which ones do you like?  Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Anybody ever visit Winetalk--I believe it is Serge Birbier (sp?) who hosts it.

Yes I have. The innovative combination of wine and firearms is exciting! Just think of the possibilities if they added deadly weapons to the Robert Parker Forum.

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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit?  Which ones do you like?  Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Anybody ever visit Winetalk--I believe it is Serge Birbier (sp?) who hosts it.

Yes I have. The innovative combination of wine and firearms is exciting! Just think of the possibilities if they added deadly weapons to the Robert Parker Forum.

good response!

I wonder what exactly is the firearms thing on wine talk? This is one quirky site.

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Mary,

I visit Westcoast Wine Net, Wine Therapy, Parker's site, eGullet, Strat's Place (Rogov's site), Winetalk, Joe Belmanti's board and Wine Lover's Discussion Group. If anyone wants links, I'd be pleased to post them.

As to the quote about Parker's site; I think its important to look at it from the point of view of someone who is not really into wine, much less a geek about it. Many of the sites I've named could, in all fairness, be accused of such behaviors, when looked at from that perspective. Maybe even this one.

Thankfully, I think those behaviors are the exception, regardless of site, not the rule.

The kind of knowledge demonstrated by posters on these sites is highly specialized and not something that is wide spread. That can be intimidating for the uninitiated. And of course, its human nature to be skeptical of that which one doesn't understand. Then too, this is writer who knows that someone reading his article may visit one of these sites; its always nice to appear discerning when making such recommendations.

Maybe that's a good argument for even the most ardent wine geek to get a grip and keep this hobby in perspective. Afterall, its just grape juice and, at its best, just a nice accompaniment to dinner.

Isn't it?

Best, Jim

Edited by Florida Jim (log)

www.CowanCellars.com

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Jim

Is the Wine Lover's Discussion group to which you refer--Robin Garr's site?

If so that is a nice site--I haven't visited in a while but your post is a reminder for me to visit soon.

also--

You make a good point re: Parker's site actually, many of these sites. Interestingly, Parker's forum site is an adjunct to his web site though he does participate once in a while the forum site really operates on its own. Robinson's site has a place for discussion and remarks from posters but is tightly controlled by her. These are two approaches (I guess).

There are times I like Robinson's approach and times I seem to prefer Parker's (or really Mark's).

You are correct that a lot of the discourse can be intimidating--additionally, there is often a lot of posturing with wine which is, I believe, actually encouraged by a lot of the wine press themselves.

The good news is the web is rife with all sorts of information and discussion about wine--something for everyone!

By the way, I have enjoyed a feature on the Wine Spectator site--a compilation of their weekly features where tasting notes for a specific wine are presented and one has the opportunity to 'guess" the provenance of the wine. Tis can be very educational and a lot of fun.

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The good news is the web is rife with all sorts of information and discussion about wine--something for everyone!

John,

If learning is your goal I suggest you drop in on winetherapy.com.

You needn't post (unless, of course, you have a death wish) but the amount I have learned on that site from the regulars far exceeds any other source I have available.

If you do drop in and want guidance on authors of note, just e-mail me and I'll fill-in the program so you'll know the players.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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The LA Times (may require free registration) presents an interesting article on the most well known wine sites on the internet.

Which ones do you visit?  Which ones do you like?  Any sites you'd add to the list?

Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?

But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.

Anybody ever visit Winetalk--I believe it is Serge Birbier (sp?) who hosts it.

Yes I have. The innovative combination of wine and firearms is exciting! Just think of the possibilities if they added deadly weapons to the Robert Parker Forum.

I thought it a little self serving. It doesn't get a lot of interchange.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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One could ask the question about this quote:

".... at 9,000 members, 77,000 threads and posts approaching one million,  it is by far the most far flung and heavily trafficked wine bulletin board in the ether. You'll find winemakers, sommeliers and serious aficionados making regular posts."

But that part could apply to several sites. It's the other quote that really identifies it to those of us in the trade who scan the wine sites, which is why we get a chuckle out of it. Understandably, Mr. Squires is upset about this rather colorful description of his site's dynamics. There are some great people there and a very broad range of well-written wine reviews by members. When Mr. Parker posts he is always very gracious; his post about his wife's recent neck injury had me all teared up--so sweet and romantic! However, that site is heavily trafficked by cork dorks and Squires is the only moderator, so there is a lot of unbridled snarking, entitlement issues, and clique-y behavior. You generally don't find it in threads about specific wines, wineries, or regions, however--just pretty much in the more controversial/issues threads. If you're going there for specific wine information it's a very safe and often entertaining place to be!

This could be because he is an editor (I believe) at Wine and Spirits Magazine. He did not include any magazine sites.

You are on top of it! Amazing that in 3 pages of flap about whether or not the LA Times qualifies as birdcage liner, no one has pointed that out.

Many of the sites I've named could, in all fairness, be accused of such behaviors, when looked at from that perspective. Maybe even this one.

Gosh, I hope not! But you may be right. Heck, I was intimidated by this forum at first. I think we've done a good job of expanding the range of topics and information here so that novices feel as welcome as experienced wine posters. That reminds me, I need to get busy on those Wine 201 articles.

Maybe that's a good argument for even the most ardent wine geek to get a grip and keep this hobby in perspective. Afterall, its just grape juice and, at its best, just a nice accompaniment to dinner.

Isn't it?

So true. It's not like it's foie gras or something. :rolleyes:

Where's the Dover Canyon Blog? The LA Times did not do their homework, so I will highly recommend it!

Thank you! To return the compliment in true eGullet spirit, I have just volunteered you for something. Like you need more projects, right? Details to come by email. :biggrin:

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Mark Squire's site can be intimidating, but the folks there are REALLY into wine and have the money to pay for it. I'm suprised that Wine Spectator did not make the list. Another site that I participate in and enjoy is vinocellar.com.

All the sites have their pluses and minuses. Some are moderated so tightly that they can be stifling, but they do keep the focus on wine. Others are so free wheeling that they can get to be very frustrating because of a couple of insulting and sophomoric folks who use the site to put down others and rant.

Another I like is winodepot but is fairly new. Winetalk is Serge's site, and is interesting at times but I don't participate much there.

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Mary!

My point was that according to the writer of the piece--Squire's bulletin board is "....the most far flung and heavily trafficked site in the ether..."

So according to him, these numbers do not apply to other sites.

I agree, the Squires site is huge--covering just about everything under the vineyard sun.

So it is no wonder that one finds the very best and the very worst in the ethernet here. IMOP the good far outweighs the bad though.

You raise a very interesting issue when you differentiate the behavior in sites between the threads dealing with specific wineries and general information, tasting notes and knowledge etc and those dealing with more "controversial issues."

Also you note the trade's perception of the site. This is IMOP somewhat ironic because I firmly believe that it is the trade itself that raises issues and incites people in many of these "controversial" areas.

(the wine press is plenty guilty here as well).

This is certainly fodder for a separate thread sometime.

All in all though, I thought the article was pretty good for what it was attempting to accomplish.

I do agree with Jim--this is, in the end, about wine--a beverage to enjoy with food--we need to step back once in a while and remember this.

ok-- Now on to those misguided barbarians who like their chardonnay oaked!..............................

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Pop Quiz:  Can anyone guess which site this quote refers to?
But there is often the feeling that you've just stumbled onto a room full of men who haven't quite learned how to play well together: The posts can be arrogant, peevish, sycophantic and hysterically passionate.
(I haven't read the article yet. But if you posit the existence of hypothetical individuals for whom that characterization is excellent -- i.e., most observers would agree -- do you suppose that the individuals would perceive it themselves, or accept it?)

Wine online has a rich history, it's true. The original public Internet wine forum turned 24 years old this week for instance. I still consult unique material from its early days. What's rarely mentioned in today's journalism is just how thoroughly the range of people's online behavior patterns was established by the early 1980s or so. It was even written down and has been available, as guidance, for those who bother to seek it. That's old news. But (maybe this is in the nature of guidance!) most people like to repeat history rather than read about it.

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:blink::blink:

Max, could you be more specific? I've only had internet access to food and drink discussion forums for 12 years, and I was way ahead of my companions (aka rural peerdom) at the time. What is the oldest public Internet wine forum? Can we still access those early bad boys?

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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  • 2 weeks later...
Maybe that's a good argument for even the most ardent wine geek to get a grip and keep this hobby in perspective. Afterall, its just grape juice and, at its best, just a nice accompaniment to dinner.

just as long as he or she is wearing this which celebrates a favorite oenophile of mine ... a hobby indeed! :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Maybe that's a good argument for even the most ardent wine geek to get a grip and keep this hobby in perspective. Afterall, its just grape juice and, at its best, just a nice accompaniment to dinner.

Isn't it?

Best, Jim

Blasphemer :shock:

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Maybe that's a good argument for even the most ardent wine geek to get a grip and keep this hobby in perspective. Afterall, its just grape juice and, at its best, just a nice accompaniment to dinner.

Isn't it?

Best, Jim

Blasphemer :shock:

I hope not.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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  • 1 month later...
Max, could you be more specific?  I've only had internet access to food and drink discussion forums for 12 years, and I was way ahead of my companions (aka rural peerdom) at the time.  What is the oldest public Internet wine forum?  Can we still access those early bad boys?

Here's public Internet access "at a glance," going backwards, to put the answer in context.*

Major Web browsing dates to the middle 1990s, the era also when large private US dial-up services firms (some of which had their own wine fora) ceased competing with the Internet and opened its services fully to their subscribers. (Salus's Internet-history book documents this.) Mosaic, the first browser I used, came earlier, 1993 (US National Science Foundation celebrated its decade in 2003). These tools used the HTTP and HTML protocols whose inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, announced them to the existing Internet in 1991 in This message, including the new term "Web" (now widely misunderstood). The public could use Internet-connected email and forum services from the middle 1980s in North America via dial-up "public-access" computer services whose impact shows in archives; other Net nodes were at universities, technical firms, and government offices. Online Internet-connected fora were called newsgroups or "news" (dating to 1979). A famous 1989 history snapshot was by a well-known participant.** Food and wine newsgroups began winter 1981-82 as I detailed on eGullet last July, and became popular among the tens of thousands of users then. These fora survive (though unmoderated, and needing user self-education on protocol, for instance RFC1855). The Internet itself (a name replacing the earlier "ARPAnet" in 1980) began 1969 with four sites (three in California and one in Utah). Recently I pointed this out, and someone responded that the Internet of 1969 was very different from 2006's. That understates the situation: the Internet even in 2003 was much different from today's, and on back to 1969, continuously.

It wasn't obvious to most folks using these facilities in the 1980s or even 1990s what directions growth would take. (Just as, for instance, you can talk up a good Cabernet for 25 years and be surprised then by sudden interest. Which also happened recently.)

--------

*I witnessed much of what's mentioned here and in Brad Templeton's history, though I didn't see the Internet in action before 76.

**Some Net jargon reflects Unix, a favored software platform for DARPA-funded Internet development in the 1980s. (A novel side effect was family reactions if you casually mentioned that you worked all day with Unix.)

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:blink:  :blink: Max, could you be more specific?  I've only had internet access to food and drink discussion forums for 12 years, and I was way ahead of my companions (aka rural peerdom) at the time.  What is the oldest public Internet wine forum?  Can we still access those early bad boys?

Max mention a newsgroup dating back to 1989. I confess to not being enough of a techie to know how that differs from a forum of this type. But I know of some people who participated in a discussion on Prodigy in the early 90s (which they call the Prodigy board) that pre-dated many others.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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