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Buying Guide to Wine, Beer, and Spirits

According to the Chicago Tribune, the oldest written recipe in the world was for making beer. It was written on a clay tablet in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, in about 2000 BC. Here are some good buying guides and resources for info about wine, beer, and spirits, listed alphabetically. For some good dead tree buying guides, click here.

  • Brewers Association.
  • Drink of the Week. Jonas Halperin's extensive site tells us how to stock a bar, plan a party, mix the drinks, and make the toasts.
  • Dr Vino. Tyler Colman's award winning commentary on wine news and what to drink. He's a PhD in economics and understands well how the wine industry ticks. His latest book is "Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink."
  • Flavor Wheels of the World.
  • Great American Beer Festival. The largest beer judging in the world.
  • International Beverage Network. A world directory of the beverage industry.
  • Into Wine.
  • Imbibe Magazine. News and buying tips on wine, beer, and spirits.
  • Jancis Robinson. Jancis is an English master of wine, a prolific writer, and a great taster.
  • Local Wine Events. Find a wine tasting near you. OK, so they don't have wine reviews, but there's an old Talmudic saying: "Let not your learning exceed your deeds, lest you be like a tree with many branches and few roots." In other words, the best way to learn wine is to pull a few corks.
  • The Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Natalie MacLean. A Canadian, Nat has won tons of awards, knows her stuff, and has great recipes. Her wine and food matcher is good, but her barbecue matching needs some work.
  • Schaefers. Since the 1930s one of the nation's best wine shops. Located in Skokie, IL, near Chicago, they ship nationwide. I buy from them.
  • Tastings. A searchable database of thousands of wines, beers, and distilled spirits reviewed by the panels of experts at the respected Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. They also have an extensive database of beer and spirits ratings. Disclaimer: I founded BTI, sold it in 1999 and left the company in 2000. But I still sit in on their judging panels occasionally.
  • Vine Connections - Reflections from Grapeland.
  • Wine Business.
  • Wine Enthusiast. A popular wine magazine.
  • Winegrape Glossary.
  • Wine Industry Insight.
  • The Wine Spectator. Home of the leading wine mag. There is a fee to access some parts of the site.
  • The Wine Institute. The advocacy group for the California wine industry. Lots of interesting data.
  • Wine Lovers Page. Robin Garr of Louisville, KY was one of the first wine experts online. His site focuses on value.
  • Wine-Searcher. Enter the wine you want and it will find it for you in a database they claim has inventories from 8,000 wine shops. They also catalog the results from many of the top wine competitions.
  • Wine & Spirits. Josh Greene's intelligent wine magazine.
  • Wine Television.
  • Wine Zone. Napa & Sonoma wineries, wine country tourism, lodging, maps, tours, weddings, hot air balloons, golf, more.
  • World Beer Cup. A large beer judging.

...more to come (to be notified when new recipes and other articles are published, be sure to subscribe to our free, spam free, email newsletter "Smoke Signals").

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