The Ultimate Wine News Web Site?

Rupert Murdoch, the very walking, breathing definition of Mogul" recently offered a challenge to he news media. His message: Get with the digital program or be left behind. In a  rambling talk on the future of newspapers, their presentation on the Internet, the power of news portals, editors’ lack of understanding of what its readers want and the necessity to accommodate the younger readers, Murdoch essentially laid out a  future of the newspaper.

In one interesting comment that affects speaks to the rise of blogging, Murdoch suggested that bloggers should be included on newspaper sites. This got me thinking of the state of wine news and information as presented on the Net.

If you wanted a single source of wine news to go to on the net, where would you head? Is there any one site that is presenting all wine news, all the time? The answer is no. Should there be such a site? The answer is yes. Will there be such a site soon? The answer is probably not.

There was once a site on the net that attempted this heroic feat., owned by the New York Times Company, made a good stab at it during the height of the Internet book in the late 1990s. it has a full staff or reporters across the globe, directories of wineries, a rating panel, news feeds, bulletin boards. But it failed to be profitable. It simply couldn’t bring enough eyeballs to the site to garner the advertising dollars to support it. And one has to ask if there are enough wine loving eyeballs out there to achieve this status with any kind of ambitious wine news website.

Today there are  a couple sites that try to be the king of wine news sites. The Wine Spectator’s Online edition is one. Everything on this site is produced by the M. Shanken Company, the umbrella company that owns the Wine Spectator as well as other food and industry related publications. It also is home to a moderately active bulletin board of contentious wine lovers.

It is a good website, but it really doesn’t offer enough updated content to make it the powerhouse wine news site that is possible.

Popping Corks is a recently created wine news aggregator site that is full of potential. It, very simply, lists links to wine news and wine reviews found across the Internet. If it could create a more comprehensive listing of wine related news items on the site drawn from newspapers, blogs, wine forums, podcasts and other wine sites, categorize all these items in an easy to understand and easy to access way you would have the quintessential wine information portal. It might get there one day but clearly more investment is needed. But it’s on the right track., the online presentation of Decanter Magazine out of England is also a nicely run wine information site, but it too suffers from not quite being comprehensive enough. If you want the Decanter or Wine Spectator "take" on all things wine then these two sites do a fine job.

But the site that people flock to because they know everything they want will be there doesn’t exist….yet.

The issue is not that we don’t know what a comprehensive wine information website would look like. And it’s not an issue of the technology not being there to create what is necessary. The problem is marketing. How does one bring enough eyeballs to a Wine News Portal site to pay for and make a profit on the extraordinary amount of time and money it would take to build and maintain this web site? Answer this question and you will see the emergence of something special.

Posted In: Wine Media


5 Responses

  1. Jack - April 15, 2005

    There’s also WineBusinessOnline, which provides news for They seem to be the best at the moment, drawing from all of the sources you mentioned, along with local newspapers in wine areas, like the Press-Democrat and St. Helena Star.
    I have not found a Wine News Portal that I really like, either. WineToday was probably the best, but I wouldn’t have given it more than an 85 on the 50-100 wine point scale.

  2. Mike - April 15, 2005

    There is Wine Science News ( which is not all that well named as it has sections on viticuture, wine making, wine business and wine drinking. Its updated daily, and you can get email updates as well. Seems to cover the world. Its still in beta and I would imagine if the site gets some constructive comments that it might end up being a good resource.
    Of course there is always the Google News option. Just put in the search word and away you go. I use one on Shiraz.

  3. Jonathan Medford - April 18, 2005

    With the proper programming in place, a site could be administered by just a couple of people while allowing dozens of contributors the ability to make updates. Maybe organizing the best wine bloggers would be the best way to do it. Make it a blog on steroids.

  4. tom - April 18, 2005

    Thanks for stopping by. The idea of organizing bloggers is a very tempting one…isn’t it. But I’d also like to see this site commission some regular and orignal work too. You’d need a couple good programmers and a couple editors I’d think.
    A blog on steroids…Hmmmm…

  5. Jonathan Medford - April 19, 2005

    You are right about the editors. My business is in the process of creating three different “side project” websites right now, but I am interested in getting a project like this together after they are complete. I have some designers and programmers on staff. Email me if interested.

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