The Best of the Web
All American Wineries
Bob Hodge started All American Wineries because he believes directory listings of wineries were not as complete as purported. He's been working his way across the U.S., and listing wineries in each state. A useful site to visit if you are travelling and looking for a winery on your route. Bob also provides virtual homes for a few wineries until they establish their own.
Amigoni Vineyards and Farm
Amigoni Vineyards and Farm maintains an interesting site, a short diary with photos about how Michael Amigoni, a hobby wine maker in Missouri grew into a small commercial winery. http://www.amigoni.com/
Association of African American Vintners
The Association of African American Vintners describes itself as follows: "Mac McDonald's latest vision is a marketing group, which promotes the fact that he's not the only African American enjoying the art of making wine. 'We're going to better promote ourselves by uniting our ideas and resources,' said McDonald when recently asked if there really was a need to form a group of vintners of color. 'I passionately believe that there's an audience outside the spectrum of color, so I don't want to see a group that singularly isolates itself. On the other hand, I don't want to miss opportunities, either. We all know there's strength in numbers.' http://www.aaavintners.org./links.html
Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA
Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA owns several leading properties, including Château Mouton Rothschild, a First Growth located at Pauillac in the Médoc, Château Clerc Milon, Château d'Armailhac, Mouton Cadet, varietal wines from Pays d'Oc, Opus One from California and Almaviva from Chile. The site is flashy and well designed; it gives information about the company and its holdings, as well as tasting notes, Château Mouton Rothschild labels, and a number of virtual tours.
Beaux Frères strives to produce high quality wines from Pinot Noir grapes following classical Burgundian winegrowing practices. The Beaux Frères vineyards are located on an 86-acre farm in Yamhill County's Willamette Valley. The property, purchased in 1987 by Michael Etzel and the wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr., was named Beaux Frères (the brothers-in-law). A few years later Robert Roy became the third member of the Beaux Frères partnership. Parker does not review these wines, and they have become something of a cult wine in recent years. http://www.beauxfreres.com/
Bruno de Corbiac provides a "complete" list of all Bordeaux Wineries wineries at its commercial web site. No addresses or websites, just a list of the names.
California Wineries Mall
The mission of California Wineries Mall is to list every winery in California. Wineries are listed alphabetically, by region, and by varietals. Special categories include organic, Rhone Rangers, and Consorzio Cal-Italia. There is a good list of local associations, and information on how to buy direct from California wineries. http://www.cawinemall.com/
Chateau d'Yquem offers a stylish, attractive site (available in French and English) featuring substantial educational material, including winery history, news, details about visiting the chateau (by appointment only, please!) and recent vintage reports, to its commercial content.
Chateau Haut-Brion's high-quality Website is available in French, English and several other languages. It features the estate's 400-year history, a "virtual visit," wine maker's reports and vintage and tasting notes since 1899. The winery staff will answer online questions on an interactive forum.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild's site goes beyond mere advertising to provide useful content about the chateau and its history as well as wine-making information and harvest news. In French and English.
Chateau Palmer is located in Margaux, Bordeaux and its vineyards grow on gravelly outcrops in Margaux and Cantenac. The winery has a very handsome website, with tasting notes and an excellent history of the winery. In French and English. http://chateau-palmer.com
Consorzio Cal-Italia is a group of California wineries producing wines from classic Italian varieties; its goal is to highlight the contributions of the early Italian-American pioneers and to applaud the pleasures of Cal-Italia wines. This stylish site has a good set of links to over 50 wineries and excellent descriptions of over a dozen wine varieties.
David Coffaro owns a small winery in Sonoma Valley, California, and makes premium Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and more, all with an extremely loyal following, partly for high quality and partly for reasonable prices. Coffaro's weekly diary is an informative and interesting bit of wine writing; his exposition on the costs of making a bottle of cult wine (about $15) compared with a selling price of $100 is particularly good.
Joseph Drouhin is a century-old and well-respected wine shipping firm in Beaune, the center of Burgundy in France. Its Website, Drouhin, ought to serve as a model to wineries and other commercial wine businesses, demonstrating how much more of a contribution it's possible to make than merely putting advertising on the 'net: This is a substantial, useful and surprisingly online textbook about Burgundy, well-organized and readable. For a virtual tour of Burgundy's complicated geography, click on "Drouhin Wines" and then follow the links to each specific appellation. This is a fine site, well worth an hour's visit.
Edmunds St. John
Edmunds St. John is run by Steve Edmunds, who makes great wine and great music. Steve's wines are among my favorites from California because they are invariably balanced and complex in a "European" style that stands out among his New World competitors. And, the site is a joy to visit, with lots of content and with extracts from his album, "Lonesome on the Ground". http://edmundsstjohn.com/
Hugel maintains an excellent multi-language site devoted to its wines and with plenty of content. This is one of the more attractive uses of Flash, although I expect it's best with a fast connection. http://www.hugel.com/
Kinkead Ridge is practically in my back yard. This attractive website records pioneering strictly vinifera in southern Ohio. The owners had a 40 acre pinot noir vineyard in Oregon prior to this experiment. http://www.kinkeadridge.com./
Louis Latour maintains a commercial site, focused on Burgundy where the family has been a presence since 1731. The website reflects the grace and elegance of the house, with excellent history and breathtaking photos.
It's amazing to find a French wine producer talking about using plastic corks. Michel Laroche does, and furnishes lots of good content as well. There is a small page dedicated to explaining their decision to use plastic corks, a monthly article on some aspect of wine, and "in the general content of the site try to explain as best we can why 'terroir' makes a difference, both in different Chablis appellations and in the South of France." http://www.michellaroche.com
Mokelumne (Mo-KUL-uh-me) Glen Vineyards
It's always fun to get an enthusiastic recommendation for a new site from an online friend. Here's a great example from Gary Barlettano: "I had an absolutely smashing time at the Lodi Winter Wine Wander which took place last weekend and will occur again this coming weekend. With Napa and Sonoma turning into the Disneyland of wines, this down-home, meet the winemaker affair was really refreshing. Best of all, I encountered a fellow named Bob Koth who runs a small, family-owned vineyard called Mokelumne (Mo-KUL-uh-me) Glen Vineyards. He hand-crafts some interesting wines, the most interesting of which was his Kerner, a German grape which I have been unable to locate in the U.S.A. until now. You have to understand that I cut my wine tooth in Germany where I live for 17 years. When I saw his Kerner, I almost flipped because this is my favorite German grape. In any event, his rendition was really genuine. My palate lept for joy because he captured that sense of "herb" which describes so many German wines.
It was different. It was German. It was good. I'd like to recommend that you take a moment to visit his website." http://www.mokelumneglen.com
"A concoction of wild fruits and sundry berries, with crushed ants predominating." This is one of the most famous tasting notes, an attempt to describe an early vintage of Penfolds Grange, one of Australia's most famous wines. The winery was founded by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold in 1844, and the website contains an excellent history of the winery. If you want to know more about this Australian institution, the winery sells The Rewards of Patience, an excellent and objective history of the winery and its wines. http://www.penfolds.com/
Primum Familiae Vini (Leading Wine Families)
Primum Familiae Vini (Leading Wine Families) is an upscale site featuring ten leading wine families, including Antinori, Hugel, Mondavi, Mouton-Rothschild and others. There's a history of the group, a regular newsletter, scheduled tastings, and a good set of links.
Raptor Ridge, a tiny Oregon winery, has a primarily commercial site, but it adds a worth-while educational component with its series of monthly columns from the Oregon Wine News, titled
"Winemaking, Viticulture, and Enology for the Small Scale Winemaker." Also features Poetry, Oregon wines and Oregon wine events. A model for a small winery page. http://www.raptoridge.com/
Ridge Vineyards was founded in its modern embodiment in the 1950's. Known initially as BCRZ Ridge Vineyards, Ridge was founded by four electrical engineers from Stanford Research Institute, and their wives. "B" stood for Dave and Fran Bennion, "C" for Hew and Sue Crane, "R" for Charlie and Blanche Rosen. The "Z", Howard Zeidler, who left the partnership after a fairly brief involvement. Paul Draper joined in 1969. The history of Ridge thereafter has become a fundamental part of American wine history. Ridge was in fact one of the first wineries on the web, with an agonizingly slow loading picture of the winery, and an immense amount of information about the wines. The site has become much quicker and much slicker, but the density of data has, if anything, increased. Ridge remains a remarkable institution. http://www.ridgewine.com/
Sapros: Botrytis Wine Club
Sapros: Botrytis Wine Club is an association of French wineries which specialize in sweet wines made from grapes infected with botrytis. The group asserts: "Mellow or botrytized wines obtained exclusively by natural concentration are rare in France." The name SAPROS is the first word in ancient Greek, which associated the notions of rot, of overripe fruit, of nectar, of mellow and of noble within a wine. SAPROS is plural, a symbol of the richness generated by the diversity of the founding members and their experience. Winemakers from all over France are members: Alsace, Condrieu, Coteaux du Layon, Gaillac, Jasnières, Mâcon, Montlouis, Quarts de chaume, Sauternes. In English and French. http://www.sapros.org/
Sean Thackrey maintains a commercial site including a database of those who handle his wine. A fascinating feature of the site is "The Thackrey Library: an Archaeology of Pleasure." "It is an attempt to provide an online archive of early texts on the making and understanding of wine, not excluding those somersaults and mysteries, jokes and inspirations that are part of the pleasure this is all about. Since, to my knowledge, no such anthology has ever been offered, even in print, it is by far the most important contribution I can hope this site might make." Fascinating reading.
Tim Rice has put together an excellent collection of links to US wineries at Weekend Winery.com. I've spent some time browsing through the pages for Indiana and Kentucky, where I live, and where the wineries are generally small and obscure, and was really impressed by how thorough a job Tim has done. This site certainly earns its subtitle, "The essential guide to American wineries." http://www.weekendwinery.com
WineRelease.com's mission is to keep wine enthusiasts informed about the release dates for fine wines. Neil Monnens makes release dates available online or by a monthly email. "Defy the law of supply and demand."
This is an online cooperative of California’s leading wineries selling directly to wine lovers. This gives customers unique access to limited-release wines not available outside the tasting room. For full information, visit Winetasting.com. I have known these folks for a long time and can confidently recommend them.
The Rest of the Web
Alex Gambal is an unusual winemaker --
an American who has started a negociant firm in Burgundy. He went to Burgundy with his wife and two small children in 1993 to spend a year learning about France. But his kids loved the culture, and he stayed, worked for an exporting firm, spent a year at wine school in Beaune, and started his firm with just 60 barrels in 1996. His current level is about 5,000 cases, where he plans to stay. One unusual quality control policy: he pays for a vineyard's crop at the maximum yield permitted under AOC regulations no matter rather than the amount actually harvested. The policy gives him significant control over quality, and the difference shows in his wines. http://www.alexgambal.com/
Burgundy Talent is devoted to the younger wine makers of Burgundy, and especially the members of GJPV, the professional association of young Burgundian winegrowers. Excellent content, especially useful in an area where the winemaker is of such importance. French and English.
Canyon Road has a pretty web site emphasizing its wines and its pretty location in Geyserville, Sonoma County. http://www.canyonroadwinery.com/
Cayuga Creek Vineyards
Cayuga Creek Vineyards is located on the west side of Cayuga Lake, along Footes Corners Road, just north of the village of Interlaken, New York. The owners, Tom and Betty Barbolt, plan to document the growth of their winery so you will "be able to watch the establishment of the vineyards, the winery, and then the wine-tasting room where our wine will be sold (or over the Internet if things keep moving as they have been). Check on our progress, and watch as these plans unfold like grape leaves in early Spring. Be patient, because this is a long-term plan, not for those who want to hurry through life. Remember, life is the journey, not the destination. Enjoy it with a glass of red wine!" This is your chance to live someone else's dream. http://www.cayugacreek.com
This is a charming site reflecting a small producer, Champagne Brugnon, and a charming family, Yasmin Brugnon is an American married to Alain Brugnon. I like the way they provide information without any "hard sell".
Chateau Grand Traverse
CN^ is located near Traverse City, Michigan, and was established in 1974 as northern Michigan's first winery. The winery is situated in a beautiful location, and has a small inn with rooms for travellers. A pleasant stop.
Chrysalis Vineyard in Middleburg, Virginia is committed to the proposition that Norton is America's "true grape". The site contains an interesting history of this grape, and commits itself "to restoring the native American grape, Norton, to its position of prominence as a source of world class wines."
El Dorado Wineries
The El Dorado Wineries have created a nice website with excellent links to wineries in the AVA and with pretty pictures of this beautiful area. http://www.eldoradowines.org/
Erie Shore Vineyard
Erie Shore Vineyard is located on the north shore of Lake Erie in the Designated Viticultural Area -- Lake Erie North Shore. The site contains an very good description of the winery and an excellent set of links to points of interest in the surrounding area. http://www.erieshore.ca
Field of Dreams in Leelanau County
Michigan wine? Jim Rink is an artist and writer in Michigan's little-known and under-rated wine country, where his family owns the Boskydel winery. His lovely Field of Dreams in Leelanau County page is well worth a visit. http://www.leelanau.com/nmj/living/dream.html
Lagier Meredith Winery
Carole Meredith is perhaps better known for her work in identifying the family trees of grapes, and her husband Steve is perhaps better known as a consulting winemaker and pickup basketball. But together with three cats, they have started a small vineyard, 100% Syrah, high above Napa Valley. A charming website for a small and charming family winery.
Manischewitz Wine Company
The Manischewitz Wine Company has put together a sophisticated site promoting their wines and food products, but also providing excellent information about kosher wines, Jewish holidays, a winery tour and, for every taste, some very interesting recipes. The wine may be too sweet for your taste, but you can learn a great deal here. http://www.manischewitzwine.com/
Paradise Ridge Winery
Paradise Ridge Winery is located in Sonoma County on a ridge overlooking the Russian River Valley. The website is stylishly presented, and the Art, Nature and Local Heritage pages are interesting and quite beautiful. Worth a visit. http://www.paradiseridgewinery.com/
The logo for Thunder Mountain is striking, and Milan Maximovich the winemaker is a well known Web personality. The wine is pretty good too. Worth a visit.
Tulbagh Mountain Vineyard
It's tough to beat the description of the owners of Tulbagh Mountain Vineyard: "Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards is a newly formed venture. It is the huge gamble of two mad Englishmen, Tom Garnet-Wolseley and John Merriman.... They purchased their farm in Tulbagh in January 2000 and are now on their way to planting their very first vines with the highest expectations of producing pure nectar in a glass. [On a monthly basis they will] give their perspective on this investment. Share with them the decision making process involved in every stage of their venture, and what strategy they are using to work towards their goal." And, the scenery is beautiful. http://www.tulbagh.com/tulbaghmountainvineyards.htm
Tulocay Winery in Napa has an amusing web site with some good wine related quotes; for example, "O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!" -- from Shakespeare's Othello, Act II, Scene iii. And catch the four lynx photograph adorning the Lynx Page. A charming site for a visit.
Villa Mt. Eden
Villa Mt. Eden has created an interesting marketing site. In the words of a marketing expert, it "evokes the wine-drinking experience with economical use of Flash technology. The experience begins with a graphic of red wine swirling in a wineglass to mellow techno-pop sounds -- which happily can be turned off. Content woven throughout the site features vineyards, wine-tasting notes, winery news, wine club information and touring details. A vineyard tour begins with a clickable map of California depicting the north and central coast regions, where the winery sources its grapes. Choose a specific varietal and up pops a photo of the bottle and the winemaker's notes. The age range for the target consumer is 35 to 45, a tech-savvy cohort that is just beginning to appreciate wine." Well, you may not buy the marketing hype, but it sure is fun to visit, at least once, just for the effects.
Wein Guide Deutschland 2001
The Wein Guide Deutschland 2001 is a useful guide to addresses and telephone and internet addresses of wineries in Germany, especially if your German is competent. Comprehensive.
The Austrian winery Weingut Himmelbauer hosts this well-done page (German and English), which includes a lot of information about wine and downloadable tasting-notes databases.
Wines of Oregon
Wines of Oregon is maintained by 168 wineries located in Oregon. Wineries, tasting notes, research, travel information, events. Well presented.