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Meet the New CGCW


For thirty-five years, Connoisseurs’ Guide has been the authoritative voice of the California wine consumer. With readers in all fifty states and twenty foreign countries, the Guide is valued by wine lovers everywhere for its honesty and for it strong adherence to the principles of transparency, unbiased, hard-hitting opinions. Now, it is becoming the California winelover’s most powerful online voice as well. And, our new features provide an unmatched array of advice and information for aficionados of every stripe.


Our monthly newsletter, noted for its accuracy, independence and thoroughness by both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle remains the focus of our activities. Connoisseurs’ Guide reviews thousands of California and West Coast wines in peer-to-peer blind tastings. Our guest panelists are all industry professionals including other wine writers, sommeliers, retailers and distributors. Almost all other wine reviews are the result of “single palate” tastings and do not match the depth of knowledge and powerful analytical talents brought together at our table.


We buy a high percentage of the wines we taste, and while we accept samples, we do not limit ourselves to reviews of wines submitted. And we never engage in the highly questionable tactic of tasting wines at the winery with the labels showing. Many limited production wineries insist on that bias-inducing scenario. We politely tell them that we do not do it. As the result, we may miss out on some limited production wines, but we do not compromise on our guarantee to you of complete independence and total objectivity.


The new CGCW uses the Internet to bring its readers and fans a series of new features including wine country restaurant recommendations, book reviews, touring advice, wine and food pairings that work because we have perfected them over years of serving meals at the end of our blind tastings. And, our unprecedented REPORT CARDS, issued every Thursday, will tell you which wineries and writers have got it right and which have got it wrong. Subscribers to CGCW will receive the REPORT CARD by email on Wednesdays as well as advance notice of the daily extras that will appear in the Connoisseurs’ Blog for the coming week.


Subscribers also receive discount purchases of our best-selling book, The Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wines and Wineries, published by the University of California Press. Newly minted and up-to-date, this handy tome is part atlas, part encyclopedia and part tour guide, and its introductions to the leading California wines and wineries is fast becoming must reading for everyone who enjoys California wine.



To learn more about Connoisseurs Guide, TAKE THE TOUR and be sure to VIEW A SAMPLE ISSUE.


Inside the Current Issue

The turning of the year is a time for reflection as well as one in which optimism about what is to come always runs high, and, after a year that was as successful for California wines across the board as any we can recall, 2017 appears to be starting out on a most positive note. In addition to our report on exciting new releases of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, we also offer our thoughts on what 2016 has meant and pause to honor the past year's very best wines as well as naming our annual "Winery of the Year."

Zinfandels from many of the variety's most capable, well-known makers are featured in January, but there are some eye-opening surprises from less-familiar names as well. Zin's fervent fans will find lots to like in our latest look at their favorite grape, and new pleasures aplenty await those who are not yet versed in the ways of good Zinfandel.

Routinely overlooked in fine-wine discussions, Sauvignon Blanc can be far more than a lively, food-friendly refresher, and, led by such names as Dragonette, Grgich Hills and Joseph Phelps, this month's collection demonstrates just how good it can be.

Wine lovers seem unable to get enough good Chardonnay, and, in all truth, neither can we. Our brief survey of newly arrived offerings once again confirms that there are reasons why it remains the state's most popular white wine.

To say that 2016 was a good year for California wines is an understatement, and, while we anticipate great things in 2017, we look back over the last twelve months with great satisfaction. There were many high points, and Charles and Stephen take a moment to acknowledge those wines that were the most memorable of all.

There is no need to forego good wine even if budgets have been a bit bruised by holiday spending, and the month's Best Buy picks in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling are sure to start the new year out right.