An Ode to K&L Wine

As an aspiring wine lover, one of the toughest parts besides the wine hangover is discovery. How do you find good wine?

Walk into an average grocery or alcohol store and you’re met with an overwhelming wall of hundreds of different bottles. How to pick? Most consumers are left to buy what’s pretty looking or priced right.

But for a wine enthusiast this won’t do.

An easy starting point are the pros. Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, Steven Tanzer, Connoisseurs Guide and others have been giving trusted reviews for years. Arguably too powerful, their impact on sales is well known – a good review will make any wine fly off the shelf. Yet, like any media coverage, these critics favor established, connected wineries with famous winemakers. And even the most objective critics like Robert Parker are subject to being influenced or manipulated. Criticisms aside, they still provide a great baseline for quality.

So how does K&L make these accessible on the site? Wisely, they include numerical ratings and relevant excerpts in the description. As Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast hide all their online reviews behind a subscriber paywall, this is a great benefit to have for free.

Adding another level of description, K&L buyers and employees write personal reviews, ‘fan’ or promote bottles as a “Top Pick!”. From any review, you can click on a K&L employee’s profile and find related wines that he or she has reviewed. Users can contribute, too, adding their two cents in reviews.

I like social recommendations. And I like personalized ones even more. K&L makes both extremely easy and I’ve found countless gems from around the world at any price level. My current affordable favorites: Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, Malbecs from Argentina and any red from Spain.

As The Wall Street Journal said a year ago, “From soup to nuts, [KLWines.com] is the best wine Web site in the U.S.” I couldn’t agree more.

[Photo credit: Tablehopper]

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