The Drinker

wine web guide

Most surveys of websites are rubbish, which makes me applaud the people behind The Good Web Guide series. Their books are written by specialists and come with not only a CD-Rom, but an exemplary website (www.thegoodwebguide.com) for updates and extra resources.

Most surveys of websites are rubbish, which makes me applaud the people behind The Good Web Guide series. Their books are written by specialists and come with not only a CD-Rom, but an exemplary website (www.thegoodwebguide.com) for updates and extra resources.

One of the new additions to the series is The Good Web Guide to Wine, written by Tom Cannavan, whose name makes occasional appearances in this column. Tom runs his own excellent site called Wine Pages (www.wine-pages.com). He says his research "brought up more turkeys than great crested grebes", with the turkeys falling into two groups: "First, sites that flattered to deceive with nice design, but content that was often poor, out-of-date or insubstantial - often all three at once. Second, sites that had good content, but were so badly put together that they were rendered unusable - either poor design, bad technical realisation or dreadful navigation."

The Good Web Guide to Wine covers the full range of online wine-ing, both merchants and resource sites. Ever-eager to exploit (without payment) the views of someone who really knows what he's talking about, I asked Tom to assemble a list of his top 10 wine websites. The top five are listed below. I've visited each and would not disagree with any of the inclusions. The comments are Tom's.

 

vine2wine (www.vine2wine.com)

"Nothing more than a vast repository of links, vine2wine has been around for a while. A recent makeover has improved its functionality and given it a smart look. But it is the quality and reliability of information that sets the site apart."

Winepros (www.winepros.com)

"A commercial site from James Halliday and Len Evans, arguably Australia's top wine journalist and wine-maker respectively. The bias towards Australia limits its usefulness, but the money and talent behind it promise great things - there are already a couple of indispensable attractions: a complete on-line version of The Oxford Companion to Wine, and Clive Coates's magazine The Vine."

The Wine News (www.thewinenews.com)

"At first glance, this site appears to be nothing more than a puff for the print version of an American magazine, but scroll down towards the bottom of the home page to find the link to "past issues". Here is the hidden gem: an enormous repository of complete articles, all with illustrations and photographs. An excellent resource."

Wine Sense (www.winesenz.co.nz)

"This is a fine reference source, with a lot of very well-presented and high-quality information and advice. One of the best web-based resources for those wishing to make the leap from casual glugger to a deeper appreciation of wine."

Yak Shaya's Wine Page (www. yakshaya.com)

"Six hundred-plus fine wine-tasting notes, often presented with a story of the events surrounding the drinking of the bottle, or a little mini-essay on the wine and its background. As much about the bon viveur behind it as about wine. Highly readable and extremely entertaining."

"The Good Web Guide to Wine", published on 21 September, costs £12.99 from booksellers and at the company's website. But IoS readers can buy it at a special price of £9.99, including p&p. Send a cheque to The Good Web Guide Ltd, Broadwall House, 21 Broadwall, London SE1 9PL. The book is worth it, whatever you spend.

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