Great wine websites

In Cyberspace, anything goes. There’s a whole helluva lot of useless info on wine. But since there’s no SAT test or wine certification required to put up a wine Web site, sifting through the morons and blowhards is no easy task. But not an insurmountable one. The following is a list of Web sites that I use for reference, wine news and wine geek fun.

www.yumyuk.com Yumyuk brings wine education to the masses. With cool, down-to-earth verbiage and simple instructions, this Web site is invaluable for the dazed and confused. It’s user-friendly, interactive and educational. Do a fun “taste interview” that helps you figure out which wine reviewer on the site most fits your preferred taste profile. Then explore yumyuk’s recommended wine section with your newfound knowledge. Move on to the unconventional food and wine pairing section that might make your eyebrows raise, but certainly teach you a thing or two.

www.winespectator.com This is the beefed-up online version of the subscription-based wine magazine, The Wine Spectator. Although sometimes referred to as “The Wine Speculator” due to some alleged influenced-by-the-advertiser articles, this Web site is super useful for straight-up wine info. It not only gives you the magazine’s info for free, you can explore wine dictionaries, wine trivia and pretty much anything else wine-related. The content is a bit high-brow (read: wine snob); the info is comprehensive and wine-geek entertaining.

www.wine-lovers-page.com A virtual playground of well-written, approachable wine information, the jam-packed Wine Lovers Page tempts everyone from the wine novice to the connoisseur to uncover nuggets of knowledge. Founded by wine writer Robin Garr, this comprehensive site is the assemblage of many years of fervent wine worship. I especially enjoy the “30 Second Wine Advisor” section that offers a brief synopsis of a recommended wine and its region. You can also sign up to receive this info in e-mail. Armed with several wine columnists’ opinions, the site offers straightforward, non-snobby articles delving into different regions around the world, as well as varietal studies. Other entertainment includes surveys, wine label decoders and a wine “questionary.”

www.freethegrapes.org Free the Grapes is a nonprofit, grassroots lobbying organization that is trying to lift the restrictions on interstate wine shipments to consumers (for an in-depth look at this, watch Corkscrew in the next few weeks). The site educates you on what laws your state has for wine shipments from wineries outside your state. Read it and weep … it’s ugly out there.

www.wine.com provides direct shipping of wine to states where it has licenses. In the Southeast, they provide service for North Carolina and parts of Florida. The selection depends on your state, but they do carry some hard-to-find wines. It’s pretty easy to use too. You can search by varietal, region or winery name and the site stocks cool gifts like unique corkscrews and fun wine books.

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