Sunday, May 26, 2013

So you want to be a wine connoisseur? - Here are a dozen top online fee-based wine journals

Reading about wine from the pros can be a pricey proposition. If you are in the trade or a serious amateur/collector, here are a dozen online publication options (in English). If you subscribe to all of them they will cost you a little more than $1,000.00 a year, no paltry sum. But then again that’s less than the going price for a bottle of 2010 Chateau Margaux. And when you drink it, it’s gone.

Would I spend over $1,000.00 a year for all of these publications? I don’t have time to read them all, so I probably wouldn’t. But $1,000.00 a year is a pretty small price to pay for some of the best and brightest in the wine world. And if you’re new to the sport, it would be a pretty inexpensive. A season ski pass to Chamonix will set one back $1,500.00 or so.

Why pay when there is all this free information on the internet and the blogs? Indeed. I’d say the reason to do so would be to have recognized sources of information on some highly selected subjects (Champagne, Burgundy, natural wines, etc.).

The dirty dozen listed with yearly subscription fees, from the most expensive to the least:
(after the break)

$145.00 Burghound
$143.90 James Suckling
$120.00 Antonio Galloni
$105.00 Jancis Robinson (£69)
$ 99.00 Robert Parker
$ 95.00 Stephen Tanzer
$ 90.00 Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine
$ 90.00 Peter Liem's Champagne Guide (€70)
$ 65.00 Alice Feiring
$ 49.95 Wine Spectator
$ 29.00 Sommelier Journal
$ 12.99 Wine Enthusiast

Lew's Lagniappe: For you insider baseball types there are several subscription sites around, but the Mother of All Industry sites is Lew Purdue's Wine Executive News - $13.99 a month or $167.88 yearly. Lew knows where all the bodies are buried and his traffic is massive.It's truly a portal, not just a regurgitation of things found elsewhere. I don't know how he has time to scan all the sites he does, in fact, I think he's looking for some help.

What did I miss? One of your favorites? Let us know. Remember, it's online, subscription based (not free) wine journals we're talking about here.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


David Black said...

Really if you are in the trade $1000 to cover the market intel of the great majority of the opinion leaders is a bargain. You are right though, there is no time to read them all. Rather, I use them as reference resources. And again for consumers, you don't have to subscribe to the lot of them. But using one or two of them based on your wine preferences will easily pay for themselves by helping keep regrettable purchases out of your cellar.

hughthewineguy said...

hmm, a little guerrilla perhaps, but shared subscriptions aren't uncommon

Unknown said...

Gosh, yes, who has the time. I have to collect by own data anyways. Second or third hand gives me no credibility with shoppers or diners. If more consumers themselves would go on real fact finding at local or regional level we would see realignment of shelves too. Great wine does not only come from top, nor do everyday bottles have to arrive from big wash of wine.

Wine Curmudgeon said...

This amply demonstrates the sad state of wine writing. You can subscribe to a dozen of the leaders for a grand, while subscribing to a single U.S. newspaper that is not all that great and is not the New York Times can cost as much as one-third of that.

How is anyone in the wine writing business ever going to make any money?

Anonymous said...

John Gilman - View from the cellar $120

John Livingstone-Learmonth (JL-L) - Drink Rhone 40 Euro

I enjoy JL-L, Burghound and Tanzer. IMHO, JL-L and BH do a very good job describing the style of the wine and I think evaluate them on their individual merits, not against their personal preference.

In simpler terms, they tell you which wines are oak/alcohol bombs and which are not, but do not penalize one style over the other.

For me, Josh Raynolds descriptions are very similar to my own impressions of many wines, so I find alot of value in his comments.

I also enjoy the back stories and winemaker quotes, not being ITB anymore it makes me feel somewhat connected.

Alot of great free content as well, Levi Dalton's podcasts and blog and informed amatuer opinions on various sites are increasingly helpful and many times more valuable.

I greatly enjoy your writings Alfonso, this blog is at the top of my must read list.

Anonymous said...

Ken Vastola ‏@FineWineGeek

@JohnBGilman's View From the Cellar should be on your list

doug wilder said...


I think this is a really smart segue from your earlier thread about no longer reading wine blogs, where I commented about the reasons for shutting mine down. In 2011, I founded purely domestic wine report, based in Napa Valley, where I review wines from California, Oregon and Washington, exclusively. Annual online subscription for six issues is $60, and full-color hard copies are an additional $60. Your list contains several names I include on my "Other Resource" page providing links to other writers who cover domestic wines as part of their work.

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks Doug -

It looks like I might have to do a Part 2 of this post....

Best of luck to you.

Mike Dunne said...

Alfonso, you might want to add Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences to your next list of fee-based wine journals. It isn't a website, but a weekly electronic newsletter in which veteran wine journalist Dan Berger vents about evolving wine styles, reflects on recent tastings, offers a buy of the week and so on. The four-page format is old school, but Dan consistently is on top of changes in the wine biz.

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