Searching for New Year Cheer

Looking for that perfect bottle of bubbly to help ring in the new year? These databases help you make sense of the complex world of wine and champagne.

If you're not familiar with the world of wine, choosing a "nice" bottle to celebrate a special occasion like new year's eve can be an intimidating experience. But it needn't be -- thanks to some excellent web sites that offer advice and help you locate the perfect tipple.

Start with Champagne Magic. This site is a comprehensive resource dedicated to sparkling wines, but it lacks the pretension often associated with champagne. Indeed, the site welcomes you with the following quote:


"I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes
I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I
consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not
hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch
it -- unless I'm thirsty." - Mme. Lily Bollinger

The site features separate sections focusing on champagne houses, types, styles, history, grape varieties, vintage years and many other types of champagne information, all written in easily understood language. There are also hundreds of links to other champagne related web sites.

If your taste tends toward non-bubbly wine varieties, head over to the Epicurious Wine Lover's Companion site. This is a wine dictionary with more than 3,500 entries, from basic tasting terms to top-tier vineyards, that relate to wine.

If you're familiar with wine, you can search for a specific term. If you're unsure of a term's correct spelling, just type in the first few letters and the search tool will try to find a match for you. The dictionary is also browseable, using the alphabet menu at the top of each page.

When you're ready to buy, Wine Searcher can help you locate a merchant. This is a global database of wine sellers, so it's a good idea to limit your search to your own country and currency.

Wine Searcher's database lists more than 1,000 merchants with over 700,000 wine offers. You can search by wine name and vintage, and specify either near or exact matches in your results.

Results show the merchant name, location and description, wine details and price. Icons indicate whether each merchant offers world-wide delivery, is a full e-commerce web site, or is primarily a retail business.

For merchants with an online presence, results also offer a link to email the merchant, or see the description of each wine on the merchant's web site.

Happy new year, everyone!

Champagne Magic
A comprehensive resource dedicated to sparkling wines.

Epicurious Wine Lover's Companion
A wine dictionary with more than 3,500 entries, from basic tasting terms to top-tier vineyards, that relate to wine.

Wine Searcher
Wine Searcher is a database of more than 1,000 merchants with over 700,000 wine offers.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.