As a lot of travelers, I rely on the Web to organize my wine trip and, very often, I’m disappointed by the quality of the information I find. Can I really complain about it? Yes, if I consider one should publish only reliable information. No, say others, because the information is free and not always issued by an expert.
One of the key issues of on line publishing in the wine travel business is the difference between subscription-based sites, others that rely either on advertising, or on sales through hotel bookings etc., or the idea of only recommending or highlighting places that pay to be on the site. Let’s give up on sites like Expedia or sites relying only on advertising. I was impressed lately by a wine travel site published by Wink Lorch, a British journalist and writer living in France, and publisher of the Wine Travel Guides.
The Wine Travel Guides is a subscription-based site but it’s well worth the money. The site is now only about French wine regions: there are 46 micro-guides on the main wine regions (Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Provence, Jura, etc.) written by 12 different contributors, experts of the area and its wines. Each region is divided in micro-guides: for example, Burgundy is divided in Chablis, Côtes de Nuits, Côtes de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Northern Beaujolais and includes the “Heart of Beaujolais”. When subscribed, you can download each of those micro-regions guides and access extensive and reliable information on the wine, the geography of the land as well as very practical information on how to get to Burgundy by train, plane or car, where to eat, sleep, where to taste, the major estates. Your guide can be printed or downloaded on your computer.
As today’s date, France is the only country available but Lorch announced recently 2 micro-region guides to Rioja in Spain planned to be on-line in early January; earlier than that there should be 3 micro-region guides to the Mosel in Germany and then 2 micro-region guides to the key areas in Tuscany by late January.
If you don’t know what to offer to a wine lover or think he/she doesn’t need an extra bottle, offer a subscription to the Guides. Several plans are available – for all budget and traveling in a wine country. A subscription will be a well-inspired gift!