Wine On-line

Wine and the Internet are not two things you would readily associate with each other. Who would have guessed this electronic medium would have opened up such a vast new world of opportunities for one of man's oldest indulgences?
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The Independent Culture
VINTAGE

www.winetoday.com

You'll find - unsurprisingly, given that country's continued dominance of the Internet - that America's wines are right at the front of the virtual wine rack. This is California's wine news source and is packed with user-friendly features and tips; before Valentine's Day for example, it had advice for men on what to buy women (and vice versa). If you're interested in digging deeper into the industry's mysteries, there are plenty of behind- the-scenes reports into individual vineyards. The site also features a wine of the week, as well as profiles and business news. It also emails you news about your favourite wines, and although you may find the US-centric attitude a little irritating, it's an excellent example of what is on offer.

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WINE DOWN UNDER

www.nzwine.com

There are a lot of sites covering European wines, but America and the New World countries take their wine seriously, too. The New Zealand Wines On-line page is, like the Wine Today website, full of information. It even includes a list of local wine festivals, which is ideal if you're planning a visit down under. Also featured prominently are recipes specially created to go with specified wines, along with profiles of some of the country's wineries. The site isn't quite as user- friendly as the Californian wine page, but its profile of the various wine regions is excellent, virtually amounting to an instant expert kit. Spend 30 minutes here and you should have all the information you need to hold your own at most wine-savvy gatherings.

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THE BEST OF THE REST www.wines.com HHH

This site is similar in scope to the Californian Wine page. Although it's not quite as well-designed or as user-friendly, it's still worth visiting.

www.bordeaux.com HH

Good English-speaking sites dealing with the French wine industry seem to be depressingly few and far between. This is one of the better ones, and although it lacks a certain amount of polish, it's quite detailed.

www.germanwine.de/ english/index.htm HHH

One of the few good sites dealing with the European industry, this gives a good overview of the German wine market, and there are plenty of hidden nuggets to find.

www.winecellar.co.uk HH

A UK-based site, primarily geared to buying wine, but it also has a chat- room and a browse facility to help you track down rare wines.

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