Making Wine Tasting Great Again


Sensible and Informative

Just when I was about to give up the search for an online wine site that not only offers good wines at good prices but also serves as a vehicle for educating and teaching about wine, I found one.

The Weekly Tasting, a relatively new site related to,  is refreshingly sensible and informative. No membership requirements or hard sales tactics involved. No superficial program or pretend algorithm to create your tasting profile. Just two sommeliers working hard to select wines and to help you learn more about wine.

Such a change from the many sites that use sommeliers to shill for some overpriced wine by their rambling wine descriptions, overflowing with buzz words and baloney, to lead up to a rating of 95-100 points.

Each week, The Weekly Tasting usually offers 4 wines organized around a theme, and the packages are selected by two sommeliers, Elizabeth Schneider and Laura Maniec. Both are the real deal.

The themes are usually on a region or a varietal. As someone who has taught wine classes for many years, I can say It is not as easy as people think and so much comes down to selecting the best wines to illustrate the point or points you are trying to get across.

So, to get to my point, I find the wines selected for the different weekly tasting themes to be first-rate and reasonably priced. The package includes a video, tasting notes, wine pairing suggestions, all arranged in the box containing the bottles.

Let me cite a few examples to demonstrate why this is a vast improvement over the other so-called “curated” packages found elsewhere. The current weekly package focuses on Cru Beaujolais, a type that is probably not known to many, is not sexy or trendy, but might just appeal to red wine lovers looking for something different and delicious.

The current package is brilliant and performs a real service to those who truly want to learn about wine.  Here is it:

“Cru Beaujolais. Do not confuse the Cru of Beaujolais with Beaujolais Nouveau or even regular Beaujolais – these are serious wines. In fact, the region of Beaujolais has officially designated these villages as the best of the best. Many people compare Gamay, the grape in Beaujolais, to Pinot Noir in Burgundy. They have similar textures, but Gamay has softer acidity and is more plush on the palate. At this price point, I’d go so far as to say these four wines have more finesse and elegance than any Pinot Noir.” -Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW

The price is $69.99 but with free shipping.

Then, I suspect many new wine drinkers buying Malbec by the boatload are curious about the difference between Malbecs from Argentina and France. So, here’s what is selected in another package:

What Elizabeth Schneider Has Picked For This Tasting

  • Domaine Des Bateliers Cahors 2009
  • Château Vieux Poirier Bordeaux 2014
  • Pascual Toso Reserva Malbec 2014
  • Famiglia Bianchi Malbec 2014

The price for this is $59.99, with free shipping.

Though everyone reading this is a wine expert, if you happen to know someone who would like a solid introduction to different wine varietals, consider this 6 bottle package:

See What Laura Maniec Has Picked For This Tasting

  • Seven Hills Oregon Pinot Gris 2015
  • Bernardus Monterey County Griva Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Domaine Les Chenevieres Mâcon Villages Blanc Chardonnay 2015
  • Windmill Valley Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Metz Road Pinot Noir Mesa del Rio Monterey 2013
  • Château Tour du Moulin Les Terres Rouges Fronsac 2014

While unfamiliar with Windmill, I can understand how the other 5 are typical examples of the respective varietal.

Now don’t get me wrong; this is not master sommelier classwork. But the site and its packages are excellent starting points to wine education. The list of terms is solid as in the breakdown of the major wine varieties.

And yes, the point is to sell more wine.  Learning about the wine before you buy it is not a bad thing.

Heads up for a Wine Sale Well-worth Exploring

  • When: October 16 through the 19th.

  • Offered by: vintage wine estates

  • Website:www.

  • Look for daily updates and special offers

  • The deal: over 150 wines offered, with discounts as high as 50%

  • Shipping: free on all case orders (12 bottles)

Background on vintage wine estates:

This company has been acquiring wineries over the last decade and now owns over a dozen real wineries and brands.

The top names are B.R. Cohn, Clos Pegase, Swanson, and Sonoma Coast Vineyards.

Its private labels and brands are best ignored such as Purple Cowboy and Pro-mis-Q-ous.

And it is also responsible for the Game of Thrones wines which are frequently sold on E-Bay.

Here are two teasers of what will be included in this sale

  • 2015 BR Cohn Silver label Cabernet Sauvignon, $15 (usually $25)
  • 2014 Viansa Sonoma Coast  Pinot Noir Reserve for $27 (usually $45)

Insider information:

Though no fan of global wine companies, I am comfortable with this one…so far.

To date, the parent company has maintained the integrity of wineries such as BR Cohn, Swanson, Clos Pegase, Sonoma Coast and Firesteed.

A few wines from Both Swanson and Clos Pegase have been hyped and discounted at vivino, so this is not the one and only online sale opportunity.

Before buying any wine, check out the price at to se if you are getting a genuine deal

Partial listing:

Vintage Wine Estates is a group of winery estates and brands that include Clos Pegase, Cosentino Winery, Girard Winery, B.R. Cohn Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Viansa Sonoma, Windsor Vineyards, Cameron Hughes, Firesteed, Tamarack Cellars, Cartlidge & Browne, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Middle Sister, Tall Dark Stranger, Pro-mis-Q-ous, Monogamy, Girl & Dragon, Purple Cowboy and a number of exclusive wine brands.