The Best of the Web
African American Wine Tasting Society
The African American Wine Tasting Society hopes to be the premier source for African Americans interested in wine. Their mission statement is particulary impressive: "The African American Wine Tasting Society (AAWTS) is an organization that enhances its members' wine knowledge and enjoyment in a relaxed atmosphere, open to anyone. We are committed to furnishing unbiased knowledge about the cultural legacy of wine and wine tasting. We encourage responsibility and moderate consumption of wine. We intend to create an environment where anyone with an interest in wine can enjoy and learn in a comfortable, relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere." http://www.aawts.org/
American Institute of Wine & Food
The American Institute of Wine & Food was formed in was founded in 1981 by Julia Child, Robert Mondavi, Richard Graff and others dedicated to advancing our gastronomic heritage. 11,000 members, 30 chapters worldwide, many events and an excellent newsletter. Members also receive the Journal of Gastronomy which explores the myriad contexts of food and drink. The website does not adequately reflect the activities of this wonderful organization, but it will introduce you to it.
American Society for Enology and Viticulture
The American Society for Enology and Viticulture is a non-profit, scientific society dedicated to the interests of enologists, viticulturists, and others in the fields of wine and grape research and production throughout the world. Membership includes professionals from wineries, vineyards, academic institutions and organizations. Featured articles from its quarterly journal are available online. http://www.asev.org/
American Wine Society
The American Wine Society is a national non-profit consumer organization that promotes appreciation of wine through education. The American Wine Society was founded by Dr. Konstantin Frank in 1967 and has more than 5000 members with local Chapters in half the states and in Ontario.
California Association of Winegrape Growers
The California Association of Winegrape Growers is a trade association with an active lobbying arm and a very reliable section devoted to legal and scientific issues relating to wine growing. http://www.cawg.org/
Chaine des Rotisseurs, Bailliage des Etats-Unis
The Chaine des Rotisseurs is the largest food and wine appreciation society in the world, with members in more than 100 countries. In the Chaine des Rotisseurs, Bailliage des Etats-Unis, there are nearly 150 bailliages English "bailiwick") headed by a bailli ("bailiff") and other officers who plan the individual chapter's activities. The U.S. society is governed by a national Board of Directors and a National Council which, in general, follow the programs and policies set forth by the international society headquartered in Paris. The US Bailliage maintains an excellent website with a tremendous amount of information about the organization and its activities. http://www.chaineus.org/
Family Winemakers of California
Family Winemakers of California is an association of over 400 California table wine producers with an active lobbying group, and an excellent news feed on legal matters relating to California wine. The search engine on pending legislation is especially good. The website also features upcoming tastings, a calendar of significant wine events, bulletin boards and links to websites of many of the members.
International Wine & Food Society
The International Wine & Food Society was founded in 1933 by André L. Simon CBE, Legion d'Honneur, who was a dedicated and knowledgeable gourmet and a superb connoisseur of fine wines. Its key purpose is the promotion of a greater understanding and pleasure in good food, good wine and good company. There are more than 7,500 members, from all walks of life, in over 140 branches and 40 countries throughout the world. The London branch serves as an entry point for the entire organization. http://www.brodie.co.uk/iwfs/
Munskänkarna claims to be the largest wine tasting club in the world. It has excellent tasting notes and description of club activities, which are focussed in Sweden and Finland. In Swedish and Finnish only. http://www.munskankarna.org/
Oxford University Wine Circle
The Oxford University Wine Circle is composed of about sixty graduates and undergraduates from throughout the Oxford University. The site contains an interesting history of the annual wine tasting competition with Cambridge University, a collection of tasting notes, some great photos to get you in the mood of wine tasting in a great university, and, when it works, a fairly active discussion forum.
Splendor in the Glass
Splendor in the Glass is a wine club that conducts both in-town hospitality style and sit-down tastings, primarily in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as customized tours to the Wine Country. Both types of activities bring consumers face to face with the producers of the wines, so that they can explain the characteristics of a particular release and the region where the grapes for that wine were grown. The group also has an online ordering system for ordering these limited releases from primarily small, family owned wineries. Wines are chosen by Wine Section of The Commonwealth Club of California. These individuals act as a "Peoples' Choice" tasting panel. Tastings at the Club are exceptionally well done. http://www.splendorintheglass.com/
TenFolks calls itself "the premier wine events and educational consortium especially for African Americans and other People of Color. TenFolks believes that wine appreciation and enjoyment can form the basis for us to develop social, personal and business relationships, which can be sustained through a shared and mutual interest. Our wine tastings and events are notable for providing comfortable settings for learning about wines, exposure to unique varietals and networking with others who enjoy this form of lifestyle enhancement." A stylish and informative site. http://www.tenfolks.com/
Union de la Sommellerie Française
The web name is snappier -- www.wine-waiter -- but the official name is a bit more prestigious -- Union de la Sommellerie Française. Either way, this site is filled with information about French wine. There is an excellent search engine that describes wines in detail, including a picture of the label. If you are interested in competing for the title of best Sommelier, the rules and past winners are here. And, there's even a bit of history: "The name 'sommelier', meaning wine waiter in English, stemmed from the old French words 'sommerier', 'somier', and 'bête de somme'. In this old french language, a 'bête de somme' was a 'beast of burden' and the 'sommelier' was its herdsman." An excellent resource.
Their Mission Statement puts it best: "The Wine Brats are an active group of adult wine enthusiasts who are mostly young in age but absolutely young at heart. We enjoy sharing our passion for wine with our peers and we take pride in breaking down the cultural walls that for too long have mystified this beautiful beverage. Ultimately, as a non-profit organization, the Brats' purpose is to attract a whole new generation of adults to the wonders of life with wine." The number of chapters is growing, and some maintain interesting web sites of their own. http://www.winebrats.org/
Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy association of California wineries. It represents 525 wineries and wine-related businesses for lobbying, marketing, public relations, research and education programs for the California wine industry. Its comprehensive site features industry news and statistics, research and education, legal issues and much more.
WineAmerica, formerly the American Vintners Association, is a trade association with a mission the public perception and business environment of American wine-growing through marketing, public information and grassroots government representation initiatives. There is a good index to member wineries and information on a number of legislative initiatives. http://www.americanwineries.org/
Winetasters Society of Toronto
The Winetasters Society of Toronto is maintained by Peter Curran and Ted Richards, who are both frequent contributors to the Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. The site is a model for a city or regional wine society page, with excellent graphics, an up-to-date calendar, list of local wine resources, and excellent tasting notes. A very impressive feature is a vintage chart prepared by the directors of the Society. An excellent site, and interesting even if you don't live in Toronto.
The Rest of the Web
Beefsteak and Burgundy Club Inc.
The Beefsteak and Burgundy Club Inc. was established in 1954 in Australia, and has grown to 165 branches, most in Australia and New Zealand, and a handful around the world. The group's logo is a bull thoughtfully considering a glass of wine. http://www.beefsteakandburgundyclub.org.au/
Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine
The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine is a light hearted "association of individuals who share an appreciation for and an interest in the Vines and Wines of America." The group has several chapters (information available from an interactive map on the site), funds scholarships and holds local wine events. The history of the Brotherhood is priceless, for example: "Wine knighthood ended in France with the French Revolution. The effect of this disaster was as severe as that felt in American vineyards during Prohibition. By 1855 France realized the need for good and great wines and began the process of classification of growths, reestablishing the nobility of vine stocks."
Chicago Wine School
The Chicago Wine School is an independent wine school in Chicago, Illinois run by Patrick W. Fegan. The school maintains a good Vocabulary section online. http://www.wineschool.com/
German Wine Society
The German Wine Society in the USA, formed by Americans who attended the German Wine Academy in Geisenheim, is a society of oenophiles devoted to the wines of Germany.
Grape Lakes Wine Appreciation Guild
According to their informal charter, "there is a group of people in Wisconsin and Illinois that get together every so often to rip open a few corks. Well, over the next year or so, it turned out that the same group of people just kept coming, so decided to make it official." The result is the Grape Lakes Wine Appreciation Guild, featuring tasting notes, reports on tastings, wine trips and biographies. This is a very nice effort at documenting the activities of a group of wine lovers. http://www.grapelakes.com/
Hospice du Rhône
Hospice du Rhône is an international affiliation of wineries that produce Rhône varietal wines and blends thereof. Originally founded as The Viognier Guild in 1992 by Mat Garretson, the HDR's primary goals have always been to increase awareness (and consumption) of Rhone wines, and to celebrate the wide range of expressions these varieties are capable of in vineyards throughout the world. "Twenty Three Varieties. One Vision."
Houston Wine.com is a slick site put together by wine lovers in Houston, Texas. Filled with content, and with excellent coverage of the wine scene in Texas and beyond.
Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission
The Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission is online with an attractive Website.
O.I.V. (Office International de la Vigne et du Vin)
The O.I.V. (Office International de la Vigne et du Vin) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1924 devoted to scientific and technical matters related to vines and vine products. The databases relating to vines and wines are authoritative. http://www.oiv.int/
Wine Society of Texas
"Texas - It's Like a Whole Other Country". The theme of the Wine Society of Texas tells it all! But, it covers the wine scene in Texas very well, particularly the wines of Texas itself. http://www.winesocietyoftexas.org/