Trusted Wine Sources for Buying

In an age where we are given a deluge of information about wine via multiple outlets and channels. With a plethora of vested interests.

How do you navigate wine media? What actually inspires you to buy something?

Which sources offer the best buying information?

Which channels do you trust?

  • critics
  • publications
  • wine price aggregators
  • social media
  • personal recommendation
  • newsletters
  • specialist retailers
  • industry websites

It’s an open question with no view to engineering an answer, just double checking I’m not missing any tricks :slight_smile:

I also seem to be late to the party at times :slight_smile:


The only source I really trust and go by without wondering about vested interests etc is this very forum and the good citizens within it.

CT also has some posters whose thoughts I take a lot of notice of; Forceberry and Papies are two obvious ones for me, as their views seem to be consistently always there in front of my eyes with many wines I look into. I’m not sure if they’re in the business or not, but either way they must either get through a whole lot of wine; or our tastes are frighteningly aligned.


100% agree!

I’m also curious and interested in exploring all sources really no matter how niche or not even logical :grin:

Forceberry has come to my attention before, Papies is new to me :+1:


Papies seems to be big into Assyrtiko in particular, and there are few that s/he’s not commented on; usually various vintages, often all vintages.


For me, descriptions of the wine, the clearer the better, are the most valuable tool for my purchases. In this regard, the following sources are the ones that I refer to most.

This forum.
Cellar Tracker
John Gilman’s newsletter View From The Cellar
Jancis Robinson

To a lesser degree.

The Wineberserkers forum
Bill Nanson’s Burgundy Report
Jasper Morris’s Inside Burgundy

I am less concerned with whether the writer really likes the wine, more with what it tastes like, as personal tastes can vary so much. I am particularly grateful to John Gilman for teaching me that many wines can evolve and improve for far longer than many published wine windows suggest. The latter has vastly improved my enjoyment of many wines, particularly with Burgundy.


I have spent years buying books on wine. I like reading detailed analysis and the history of various regions.
I have been a JR PP for years and her team of writers, with one exception, are excellent in their careful critical coverage of regions and their latest offerings.
I know a lot about a few countries (France, Germany, Italy) and little about many others. I have a real struggle with Chile, the USA, South Africa and Argentina. I bought Amanda Barnes’ boo on Siuth America and found her history sections of each country to be fascinating.
I buy growers who over the years I have enjoyed. So I suppose my tastes have become rather eclectic to the point of risking becoming dull.
I am sceptical of writers who go in for gushing uncritical adulation. Peter Liam’s glossy book on Champagne was an expensive disappointment. Don’t get me started on Oz Clarke. His book on English wine drove me to distraction.
I don’t use social media. But I have occasionally used CT.
My starting point about learning something new is reading the relevant chapter in The World Atlas of Wine, then finding a more detailed text on the region. I have bought many of The Classic Wine library series, also Bejamin Leuwin’s guides. The Libraire du Vin books also pack my shelves. I have lost count of the books I have bought about Burgundy.
I will study producers’ websites seeking out tech specs.
I subscribe to Decanter. I keep all my copies.
So after endless careful reading about a wine region and working out which wines might interest me, I go to Wine Searcher and invariably find that they are either sold out or not available in the UK…


I fear I do this all wrong, and am most likely to be influenced by infectious enthusiasm, which makes little sense as @Templeton ‘s point about varying tastes is of course correct, and an evocative description that makes me think: I want to drink that! So I think my main influences are:

  • you guys
  • a few websites (some JR writers, Under the Flor, Paula MacLean’s sherry blog, now sadly semi-defunct due to illness)
  • Some magazines (Noble Rot, when it isn’t glamorising Romanee Conte and other stuff no one can afford, less so Decanter though I subscribe).

Also, occasionally, the merchant, which is obviously flawed. Marcel always makes his wines sound delicious (& they usually are). Pretty much never a newspaper column, though I read them.


The vast proportion(s) of my 2 cellars - here in the UK and the one in France - are stocked with wines I have purchased directly at winery or cellar door visits and brought back; or repeat buys of the same wines in subsequent vintages. The original choices of places to visit in the first place would have been informed by JR’s Atlas or winemakers which have featured in the TWS Lists over the years. Hence last night I was drinking a Pisano Uruguayan Tannat - a place I visited in 2020

For the rare excursions into BDX EP I rely on Jancis, because of inter-vintage variability (which is why I’m not buying Angludet '22); but even for them I would have at some stage in the past, visited the respective cellar door tasting room.

However I acknowledge I am extremely fortunate in having both the time and resources to do all this, and the motive to occasionally reply to a fellow posting with a picture of the winery or cellar door is just to share that in case it generates interest and puts the subject wine in context. (Though I have toned down the frequency of such posts lately as I suspect they are annoying to some !)


I spend far too much time reading about wine.

I subscribe to Winedoctor.
I used to subscribe to Jancis.
I am fairly active on Winebeserkers.
I am fairly active on Cellar Tracker.
I enjoy but don’t share preferences with Wine Cellar Insider.
In EP season I look at Wine Words and Videotape.
In EP season I look at Bordoverview.

My favourite but unfortunately sporadic poster is Vinolent for the Farr tastings.

I have probably forgotten some.


Only ever trusted, as far as critics go, Clive Coates (and hangs his head in shame, Robert Parker in the one-man Wine Advocate days). Now don’t bother with any critics and really only buy based on my long-term developed prejudices plus one specific one merchant (who is also a long-standing friend).


As a Rhone fan I like JLL. His love for the region shines through and I’ve come to trust his tasting notes. His writing is totally idiosyncratic and manages to be vivid and artistic without being remotely pretentious (IMO anyway).

Most other critics I take with a pinch of salt, although I think Jancis Robinson writes about wine in a very accessible way, helping casual wine drinkers who may not typically spend more than a tenner a bottle find the gems among the dross, as well as catering for more nerdy types who spend far too much of their disposable income on the stuff.

Beyond that, forums like this have a big influence on me, helping me broaden my horizons beyond my traditional drinking regions of France and Spain into the likes of Germany, Greece and South Africa far more.


I wasn’t aware. A great shame as it was always very readable.

I always have a look at Tim Atkin’s weekly tasting note as his likes seem to align with mine.


Some excellent advice so far. Looks like I’ve got a fair bit of research and discovery ahead. Thanks all!


I have purchased directly at winery or cellar door visits and brought back; or repeat buys of the same wines in subsequent vintages. The original choices of places to visit in the first place would have been informed by JR’s Atlas or winemakers which have featured in the TWS Lists over the years.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a vivino type app but for winery tastings. Just type in a location and it gives you a list of the options ordered by distance / style / rating


I’m not sure we need an app as long as we have @PHarvey


:smile: how do i upload the good @PHarvey on to my phone for my upcoming trip to France?

My destination seems to me to be between wine regions (give it’s a toddler + small children focused trip, vinous input was low), could be a challenge :grin:


No issue here. I really enjoy reading your travelogues, as I am sure is the case for the majority of others. I can’t see why anybody would have an issue. I also used to really enjoy @Robin63’s regular missives from South America. I think that he has moved to Saudi now, though, so presumably less opportunity to write about such things, although it does prompt memories of a story I was once told about the American ambassador to Saudi and his leaking grand piano…


one exception :thinking:

I will admit @PHarvey isn’t as instantaneous as an app, but if you post here it won’t be long before he appears, Siri-like, to tell you that he knows about 8 wineries, 4 of which are pretty close to you…

He also has the benefit of being ad-free, except perhaps on the subject of Norton when he gets a bit evangelical :grinning:

And for the avoidance of doubt, I’m in agreement with @Templeton , I’m certainly not tired of @PHarvey posting about winery / cellar door visits, very educational for me so keep them coming


ah but you need the occasional frightful visit - rude and perfunctory hosts with terrible wines, or mingy pours in little plastic cups, for example - which puts the good 'uns in their proper context !!