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Wine Guide - Price guides for old wine, perfect for your wine selection. The Wine PocketList is a guide to top-rated wines, using our system to deliver solid, usable ratings. We've rated thousands of wines, with new wines added continually as they are released and judged.


Dayton Daily News
Mark Fisher, Lifestyle Food & Nutrition, December 1994

John Vankat [founder of the Wine PocketList] entertains fairly often. He’s in his 25th year of teaching botany at Miami University in Oxford, OH and it’s not unusual for Vankat to have some friends and colleagues over for dinner and a bottle of wine.

His friends occasionally marvel over Vankat’s knack for serving good wines – sometimes pretty darn good wines – that didn’t cost all that much. How does he do that, they wonder? A few of them ask him.

Well, he keeps a little list.

A wine enthusiast since his grad-school days at the University of California, Davis, Vankat likes to pore over wine publications, looking for wines that are reviewed favorably. Those that receive glowing mentions in several publications must be pretty good, he figures, so he writes them down, and keeps them on his computer. When he shops for wine, his list is in his pocket. Friends began asking for copies of the list when they went wine shopping.

Well, eventually – this being America, the land of free enterprise and all – a light bulb went off above Vankat’s head, and the Wine PocketList was born.

Vankat says his publication takes the confusion and frustration out of wine. “It’s like having the wine experts from major wine periodicals helping you select wine,” he says.

....The booklet grades the recommended wines from A+ to B+, based on the reviews of the wines in the publications such as Wine Spectator, The Underground Wine Journal, and the Wine Advocate, though sometimes a wine can gain a plus (or lose a minus) based on Vankat’s own tasting evaluation. Wines that are readily available, and those that have won gold medals in major competitions, are highlighted.

Of course, it’s tempting to say we shouldn’t let self-appointed “experts” guide out wine choices, and to point out that adhering strictly to such recommended wines stifles exploration and discovery. In addition, the booklet undoubtedly discriminates against wines that aren’t made in a flashy, immediately appealing style – the style most likely to wine competition and gain high ratings in competitive tasting – even though those wines may best complement the dinner you’re putting on your plate tonight.

But the fact is there’s a sea of wine out there and selecting wines can be awfully confusing. Spending hard-earned money on a disappointing bottle stifles exploration far more than using a list. For many wine drinkers, Vankat’s publication could be quite useful. And just in time for Christmas, too.

Of course, at this rate of high-tech computerization, maybe wine columnists won’t be needed much anymore. Hmmmmmm.

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"You, too, can play the game – and buy a decent bottle of wine without having to choose the pretty label….."
"The Wine PocketList [is] a truly superb guide for wine stocking and selection on a reasonable budget."
"There is nowhere near enough good wine to go around. It is a lesson that I have never seen spelled out in a beginner's guide."