Would You Like Some Tools With That Wine?
This service was mentioned in the April 2007 issue of Food and Wine, and I thought I'd try it out. Using your mobile device, you send an email or text message containing the vintage, name, and varietal of a wine along with your zip code. In response, the service sends you a message containing the local retailers that carry the wine as well as the various prices. It's an interesting idea, and may eventually be useful, but I would say that it needs a much larger database. It's possible that it could be targeting higher-end wines than the ones I was looking for, or maybe it works better if you're located on the west coast, but the only wine I got any return on was a non-vintage Yellowtail Shiraz, and it only listed one retailer. After repeated attempts with no results, I looked for this wine specifically because it's one that almost every retailer carries, including run-of-the-mill grocery stores. So for now, this isn't much use to me, but I will keep an eye on it. If their database of retailers grows, the service could be handy if you're looking for something specific.
On a more useful note, I highly recommend the article "50 Wines You Can Always Trust" from the same issue. I know a little more about wine than the average person and I'd like to know a lot more, but right now I'm a relatively casual wine drinker and I rarely find these sorts of lists useful. I find that the wines are completely unfamiliar, I don't remember them, and even if I do I rarely run across them at a store. This list, however, has a lot of familiar names on it. I see many of these wines on a regular basis, and many of them are very reasonable in price. If you like wine but don't know much about it, or would just like to know enough to pick out a decent bottle, this article is a keeper!