The Wine Experts Our OC Experts Listen To

I practice my wine passion every night. I am dedicated to my cause. Though I read, drink, and study wine daily, I am in no way an expert.   Like nearly all wine consumers, I rely on the ratings of actual experts to help guide me in my wine choices. However, experts abound these days.  I’ve had the benefit of being a fly on the wall at many O.C. wine functions and meetings over the past few years, and have learned who our aficionados listen to and trust amongst the wine media and critics. Here are a few:

Robert M. Parker Jr. / The Wine Advocate – Parker was the first independent wine critic of distinction and created the 100-point rating scale used across the industry today.   His newsletter, The Wine Advocate, which is subscription accessed, is a leading resource for knowledge on vintages and specific wine ratings. Parker has a slate of talented contributors and critics, including Jeb Dunnuck, Monica Larner, Neal Martin, and Luis Gutierrez.   He also has a free online pub called the The Wine Journal. You’ll find all reads, subscription or not, available on the website. Follow your favorite reviewers on Instagram and Twitter. It is great fun to follow along on their travels, meals, and wines.

Wine Spectator – This magazine has been at the forefront of wine media since its inception in 1976 in San Diego. Current publisher Marvin Shanken purchased it a few years later, turning it into the dynasty it is today. Wine Spectator was my foray into wine.   As a kid, I loved its larger-than-life print size, the beautiful pictures of vineyards across the globe, and luxurious dining rooms that were far from my realm in southern Idaho. Current reviewers I follow include James Molesworth, Tim Fish, Harvey Steiman, Bruce Sanderson, and James Laube.

Antonio Galloni / Vinous Media – Galloni was part of Parker’s The Wine Advocate team until 2013 when he went independent, creating Vinous. Galloni’s original wheelhouse was Italian wines, but his expertise spans the globe to include Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Champagne, and our nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Vinous Media also has a team of talented reviewers including Stephen Tanzer and Joshua Raynolds.   I enjoy the depth of information on a particular region per vintage, such as the Oregon 2013 piece and the vertical tastings.

James Suckling – James Suckling joined the Wine Spectator team in 1981, becoming a widely recognized expert, but specifically on Bordeaux and all of Italy. He left the magazine in 2010 to launch his own venture,, which offers a wide swath of wine reviews, vintage perspectives, and events.






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