A New Insider’s Guide To California Wine


Ambition is the mother of success. But ambition, combined with experience, is the mother AND father of success.

Ambition and experience are the watch words that underlie a new website devoted to covering the world of California wine. California Wine Web is the child of Jim Gordon. Gordon has been working the journalistic fields of the California wine industry for a very long time. His new website appears to be the culmination of this experience and a particular ambition to create something that, amazingly, does not exist: a professional media outlet devoted alone to California wine.

Gordon’s most recently was editor of Wine Country Living, a beautiful periodical that covered the "wine country lifestyle." Previous to this he was the Senior Editor for the Wine Spectator. Wine Country Living began as a California-focused lifestyle magazine that eventually became a magazine focused on the wine country lifestyle wherever it was found around the world. For those who read it closely you always got the feeling that behind the pages there was a desire to make it more focused on wine than on lifestyle. I always assumed that was Gordon projecting his bias in the face of the publisher’s demands.

At the Wine Spectator, Gordon basically headed up the Wine Spectator’s coverage of the California wine industry, no small area to cover.

Now Gordon has complete control of a publication and from the outset you can see it’s going to be something that every CA wine lover must read.

The first set of features at California Wine Web indicate the ambition behind the project. One article assesses the vintages of California Cabernet Sauvignon from 1994 through 2004 to get a handle on how each vintage is holding up. A second article takes no the question, "Are people part of terroir?"

Meanwhile, a robust section of reviews of California wines begin with an evaluation of Russian River Valley Chardonnay. All together, California Wine Web begins its existence with reviews of upwards of 500 reviews of California wine (there is a nice little search function that will help you cull through the reviews that I would bet will rapidly grow in number. The reviewing is done with helpful and complete descriptions of the wines, a 100 point rating scale and designations to indicate wines for the cellar, value wines, widely available wines and wines of particular distinction.

I’ve always wondered how there could not be at least a niche publication produced by professionals and devoted to California wine. We have newsletters devoted to this topic, but nothing that looks at this vast source of wine from complete perspective rather than just from the perspective of a review-based newsletter.

California Wine Web marks the second web site to emerge in recent months that has great talent at its base. Wine Review On-line, headed up by Robert Whitley, delivers commentary and review from a number of wine writing pros. It takes broader focus, looking at the whole world of wine.

So, enjoy. There appears to be a new, ambitious, experienced wine voice in town.

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