Swirls: wine news – wine-searcher.com, Lafite-Rothschild in Asia, Pa.’s wine vending machines,

SWIRL: Patrick Comiskey has a must-read article  in today’s Los Angeles Times  on wine-searcher.com, the price comparison and availability search engine that has transformed wine commerce. 

ws-bottle-logo wine-searcher 

If you haven’t used it, you should. I’ve relied on wine-searcher  for years to find out what retailers charge for wines I review. It also give you a good sense of the availability of any particular wine. It’s simply the best reality check out there. The basic version is free and is more limited than the “Pro Version,” which costs about $30 and is money well spent. As of yesterday, by the way, wine-searcher had 18,072 wine stores listed worldwide with 3,952,617 wines offered.  In 2009 it had 56.5 million pageviews. You  begin to get an idea of the site’s scope and lafiteinfluence.

SWIRL: “No other wine has captured the imagination of the  Chinese wine connoisseur like Château Lafite-Rothschild,” begins   an item in artdaily.org. With that in mind, Sotheby’s in Hong Kong will hold an auction of almost 2,000 bottles of Lafite on October 29. The famed winery will supply vintages from 1869 to 2008 from its cellar. Estimates of the sale range from $1.5-$2.5 million.

SWIRL: On the other side of the sales spectrum, sales at Pennsylvania’s two pilot wine vending machines in supermarkets have gone better than expected, pa liquorsays the head of the state’s Liquor Control Board. Plans are moving ahead to  install almost 100 more of the machines, whose sales require a breathalizer test and are monitored by Control Board employees via a video hookup. Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek and my recent commentary on the machines.

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