The Wine Spectator magazine, which celebrated its 30th anniversary and its 10-year online anniversary in 2006, began as a wine tabloid in 1976. The publication became known for covering more than just grape reviews and sommelier info-trading: under publisher Marvin R. Shanken, the magazine swelled to include reports on vineyard family conflicts, cork taint, and counterfeit wine culture. By 2005, Wine Spectator’s readership included an international base of two and a quarter million. Like the printed magazine, the online content offers a mix of educational programming, vineyard storytelling, and viniculture exposés.
Videos can be found in several different channels, including Wine People, featuring the men (and women) behind the wines; Tasting Journal, which covers topics like the effect of soil on the taste of wine; Learn Wine, explicating different regions and their flavors, including a video of Caymus Vineyards owner Chuck Wagner explaining what you can tell about a grape’s taste from its skin color; Wine Work, about the diligent process from grape to table; Dining and Travel, highlighting restaurants and their extensive or simple wine lists; Feature Stories, with tales of vineyard growth, explanation of new techniques like the Merry Edwards’ dry ice method, and overdue harvest investigations; along with Feature Archives, the video vault, and Most Recent Videos. Each five-minute video has a professional look to it, typical of online magazine video content, well-edited and well-shot. Wine Spectator is also an active site for blogging, wine reviews, and a venue for the Learn Wine forum.
I’m fond of a video that follows Eric Arnold, “the new guy,” on his first day on the job with Wine Spectator as he learns the physical pain of leaf-pulling pre-harvest in Long Island. He gets so frustrated he jokingly threatens to go work for BeerSpectator.com instead.