There can be no doubt that the Internet and the new power of social networking has made the level information available to wine consumers almost incomprehensible. When I think of what is available today compared to when I started learning about wine it is astounding.
I can’t think of a better example of this information bonanza than Bill Nanson’s Burgundy Report. Nanson passionately and precisely covers that most difficult of wine regions and it’s all free. If you follow Bill’s recommendations you will never doubt the greatness of Burgundy again.
Another gift of the Internet for wine lovers is the rise of small, dedicated online retailers that offer selections based on their own palates rather than someone else’s. In other words, they’re real wine merchants in the old sense. Two examples of this new type of retailer are Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman from wine blogger Catie McIntyre Walker and Domaine 547 from yet another blogger, Jill Bernheimer. Catie is offering small production Walla Walla wines that you’re unlikely to find outside the Northwest and Jill is creating a new type of wine retailer that, while she ships nationwide, has also developed a loyal local following to whom she delivers direct.
Innovators like these are making real cracks in the American three tier distribution system (of which the traditional wine press is often a silent fourth tier) and educating consumers on wines that they would never hear about as big American distributors, press and retailers just aren’t interested in them. If you are seeking distinctive, small producer wines, writers and retailers like these are where to look.