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Food

Social Networking for Vinos!!

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As California transplants, my family home up north has been a revolving door for visitors ever since we arrived in the Bay Area. While the constant influx of visitors can sometimes get a little tiring, it has had its benefits, primarily that my family has gotten to know NorCal's tourist destinations pretty well, particularly the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

For some reason I always seemed to miss out on wine tasting excursions when I still lived at home and so a couple of summers ago, right after I became legally able to drink in California my mum and I, along with my good friend Maysa, headed to a Napa to check out a few notable wineries including Domaine Carneros, V. Sattui, Artesa, Hess and Cakebread Cellars.

“This is their first tasting,” my mum would gush to our pourers. It was as if I was being lead through some sort of coming of age ritual after the completion of which I would be a truly cultured woman, capable of handling myself in any social situation involving wine.

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However, I do have to admit that a lot of the questions my mum asked our pourers that day flew right over my head.

French or oak barrels?”

How long were the grapes on the vine?”

“What kind of soil was the crop grown in?”

“That one's quite tannic isn't it?”

Admittedly, neither Maysa nor I had any idea what my mum was talking about. We just nodded our heads in agreement and downed the few drops of wine remaining in the tasting glass.

Over the past few years I have started to develop a better understanding of wine and the vocabulary associated with it. However, I still feel relatively ignorant most of the time. Fortunately, there are several online communities to help me on my quest to becoming a true “vino.” These sites are dedicated to building an online social network of wine lovers through the sharing and discovering wine. Many of them feature user reviews, wine catalogs, frequently asked wine questions and a way to connect with other wine aficionados.

Find out about great social networking sites for vinos after the jump!

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adegga- An up-and-coming site for wine lovers. This network supports profiles for individual users, types of wine and wine shops. Users can recommend a wine, rate it, leave comments, mark wines they've tasted as well as those they still need to try. Although currently in private beta, individuals interested in joining the social network can fill out an invitation request form and wait (patiently) for one to arrive in their inbox.

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Vinorati- Based out of France, this site can be enjoyed in English, Spanish or French! Vinorati allows users to explore wine by region, tags, and grape varietals, create or join a common interest group, and keep an online tasting journal.

Cork'd- This site offers several different features for users. Through the WINE JOURNAL users can catalog, rate and review wines they've tried. The WINE CELLAR will help users to keep track of bottles they own but have yet to try. Members can also write online wine shopping lists, link to “drinking buddies” and recommend favorite wines.

Snooth- Calling itself “a revolutionary web-based social shopping experience” Snooth aims to “simplify how people select, interact with and purchase their favorite wines.” This site offers features similar to the other sites, including a comprehensive wine database, personalized wine recommendations, ratings & reviews, and a wine information search tool.

Most of these sites are pretty new. In fact, all of them are in beta versions so there may be a few kinks that still need to be worked out. Still, it's a great opportunity to get in on the next big Web 2.0 phenom! So instead of checking your Facebook every five-minutes go get your vino on!!

Photos by dcortesi and pixelchick via flickr