Wine shipping cost comments from a cancelled Wine Club member survey
Limestone in Paso Robles

Blogs that Inspire

In my "lessons learned from two years of blogging" post from the end of last year, I promised that I would write about some of the other blogs that I'd found particularly inspiring.  This has proven a difficult piece to finish, both because I keep finding new blogs that I love and because I'm always worried that I'll hit "post" and then realize I've left out someone crucial.  But, if I'm going to write it, it has to be finalized sometime.

I hope that you find a few new blogs mentioned here, but I feel relatively confident most of you will recognize most of the names.  I've included the author and his or her city, and broken up the blogs into a couple of categories.

The Gold Standard
Vinography (Alder Yarrow; San Francisco): I mentioned a few of Alder's chief recommendations in a recent post announcing that he'd posted a story on Tablas Creek.  These include (but aren't limited to) that he writes one of the most wide-ranging wine blogs, covering topics that include wine events, wine- and vineyard-related art, the intersection of wine and politics, restaurant and wine bar reviews, and (of course) wine reviews.  He's so well connected, and updates so regularly, that he is often the first to break noteworthy stories like the recent private sting operation set up by  And, he's amazingly accessible and retains his enthusiasm for wine and wine country.

Dr. Vino (Tyler Coleman; New York): Tyler's interests run a little more to food and wine pairing (including the hilarious ongoing "impossible food-wine pairings" series), but he's equally comfortable exploring wine regions, reviewing books, interviewing wine personalities, or investigating the environmental impacts of winemaking and wine consumption.  This last interest even got him an op-ed piece in the New York Times.  The writing is consistently funny and engaging, and the site updated often multiple times a day.

The Professionals
An Obsession With Food (Derrick Schneider; San Francisco): I love Derrick's work for the care he puts into his writing, as well as for the thoughtfulness and length of his pieces.  It's probably not surprising that he's writing regularly now for The Art of Eating, which is unlike any other food or wine publication that I know.  Pieces, often addressing topics far outside the mainstream, can stretch across dozens of pages, and there appear to be no particular concessions to marketability.  In an interview with the Art of Eating's founder and editor Ed Behr, compared it to the New York Review of Books, calling it "sometimes impenetrable, often spellbinding, and never, ever reductive."  Derrick's blog is not updated daily, but when the posts come they are thoroughly thought-out, well edited, and beautifully written.  And, sprinkling his wife Melissa's gorgeous photography across the site also does it no harm.  One of my favorite posts is his advice about writing, which I still refer to occasionally for new ideas.

Wine Anorak (Jamie Goode; London, UK): Jamie is trained as a scientist (his PhD is in plant biology) which allows him to write credibly on some of the scientific topics that the mainstream wine press often glosses over, such as the growing concern over the accumulation of sulfur compounds in screwcap-finished wines).  His talent is in making these technical topics non-threatening to a general audience, and at the same time mixing his more research-driven pieces with cheerful accounts of eating, drinking and living in London.

It's worth also giving a shout out to the no-longer-active blog Amuse Bouche, written by Jon Bonne, who gave up writing the blog when he was hired as Wine Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.  I am thrilled to have Jon in charge at the Chronicle, but miss his informal missives from Seattle and New York on food, restaurants and the world of wine.

The Enthusiast
Good Wine Under $20 (Dr. Debs; Los Angeles): Dr. Debs is a university history professor who started blogging on wine as an experiment for a project.  She focuses on wines that provide value, and despite her blog's name is flexible enough to realize that wines can provide value even if they're over $20 (see her profile of Tablas Creek as an example).  Her blog (just begun in 2006) has become amazingly popular amazingly fast, and I think this is a reflection that her enthusiasm for wine, and her conviction that it's possible for anyone to find good wines they can afford, feels absolutely genuine.  In addition to her regular reviews of high QPR (quality to price ratio) wines, she writes an ongoing "winery watch" series focusing in detail on wineries of interest.

The Advocate
Fermentation (Tom Wark; Sonoma, CA): Tom is a public relations consultant and the head of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association, whose profile has been growing higher and higher as retailers organize to try to protect (or establish, depending on your point of view) their rights to sell wine to consumers around the country.  Tom's investigative pieces reflect a distinctive voice: often outraged and full of righteous indignation, which (given the hypocrisy inherent in most wholesalers' and states' arguments against interstate wine commerce) is most welcome.  He also has taken a lead role in the promotion of wine blogging, hosting and coordinating the annual Wine Blog Awards and writing a series of "bloggerviews", or in-depth interviews with important bloggers across the world of food and wine.

These are just a handful of the wine blogs that are on my daily blog roll; there are new ones appearing all the time.  I highly recommend the Winery Web Site Report both to keep tabs on new developments in the world of online wine and as a clearinghouse for ideas about the values and challenges of wine blogging.

Finally, I maintain a "Wine Blogs" tag for posts on the Tablas Creek blog that include recommendations into the wide and growing world of wine blogs.

Any other recommendations as to great wine blogs?  Please share!