Paul Gregutt's top picks for navigating the sea of wine on the Web
With so much information about wine swirling around the choppy seas of the Web, it's good to get down to sites and blogs that consistently offer wisdom, usually with some wit. Among the choices that wine adviser Paul Gregutt recommends are: Winebusiness.com, 1winedude.com and Wawinereport.com.
Special to the Seattle Times
Pick of the week
Boomtown 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $15
Boomtown is the second label of Walla Walla's Dusted Valley Vintners, recently named winery of the year by a leading wine publication. From a superb vintage, this is sensational juice, smooth, satiny, chocolaty, packed with power. (Cordon distributes)
UNTIL YOU have taken the dive into the deep, roiling waters of social media-generated wine commentary, it is almost impossible to understand the significance, the impact and the sheer ubiquity of this brave new world.
If you have more than a passing interest in wine — whether as a consumer, retailer or producer — blogs, tweets, Facebook and a few key, free Web sites are now as important as traditional media for keeping on top of what's happening.
Be prepared to sacrifice whatever remains of your free time once you get hooked. Information and opinion flow fast and freely. Here is a short list of blogs and Web sites that I follow. It is by no means comprehensive, and I have left out pay-to-play sites, but these are all quite interesting:
Global news and information
Winebusiness.com. This is the first site I visit every day for links to important wine-business news, lists of the day's most interesting blogs, and a running tally of the topics and debates that have been the center of attention over the past few weeks.
Drvino.com. Host Tyler Coleman is the author of "Wine Politics" and an in-demand speaker at wine forums. He combines scholarship, journalism, opinion and a sharp wit to craft a daily blog that is not afraid to take on industry icons such as Robert Parker.
Wine reviews and criticism
SteveHeimoff.com. Steve is the California editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine (I am the Northwest editor). This is his personal blog and has no connection to the mag. Here he is free to cover a wider range of topics, and to get inside the issues most affecting California wineries and those who critique them. His blog attracts a lot of comments, which is half the fun.
1winedude.com. Joe Roberts headlines his blog "Serious wine talk . . . for the not so serious drinker." He pulls no punches, but he knows his subject, has enough self-deprecating humor to leaven the barbs and is quickly becoming an unofficial spokesman for the millennial blogger community. Always entertaining, often provocative.
Hosemasterofwine.blogspot.com. This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes: "In recent years, Oregon has become the home of many Pinot Gris producers, lending credence to the theory that Oregon is where you fly over from California to get to Walla Walla. Interesting fact about Pinot Gris: Pinot Grigio is Italian for 'print money.' " Be advised, the Hosemaster my offend some sensibilities. The blog has been discontinued (temporarily, one hopes) but archived posts are still great fun.
Wawinereport.com. Sean Sullivan's methodical, detailed and statistic-laden blog focuses on Washington wines and wineries. His in-depth winery profiles are often the most current in print or online, and his stated goal is to bring Washington wine to you, and bring you to Washington wine. Tireless, dedicated, thorough and objective reporting.
Wildwallawallawinewoman.com. A local favorite in Walla Walla, this enthusiastic blog makes a great starting point for anyone planning to do some wine touring in the region. Walla Walla is the host city for the June 2010 Wine Bloggers conference. An important blog for updates and previews.
Wine marketing and PR
Fermentations.typepad.com. Host Tom Wark is a Santa Rosa-based wine-industry consultant who frequently lobbies for groups interested in opening up wine sales and shipping regulations. Knowledgeable and well-connected, he was one of the pioneers of daily blogging.
Wine-blog.org. PR veteran Jo Diaz, founder of PS I Love You, which promotes petite sirah, runs this excellent blog, subtitled "Juicy Tales." Lots of blogger interviews and commentary with a marketing focus.
About Wine Adviser
My column is all about sharing the joy of exploring all the world of wine. I want to guide people to make inspired choices, and encourage them to try as many different styles of wine as they can. I will always seek out the best wines at the best prices. Wine Adviser runs on Sunday in Pacific Northwest Magazine.