There is much discussion on the net concerning Appellation America’s decision (really their only option) to go to a $50 per year subscription for the many services it has provided for free for the last six years — free to the public but extremely costly to its long-suffering investors. This amazing site, which contains many hundreds of articles and videos exploring the 300+ AVA’s in North America, the grapes they grow, and as complete a reference as one could wish to the continent’s 5,000 wineries and the wines they offer. Failing to find an alternative method to stay alive (advertising rates are hopeless in such a specialized area), the site is gambling that 10% of its monthly traffic will think enough of the site to help support it.

I’d like to share below a correspondence which many readers may find reflects their own feelings on the subject.

I’ll really miss you. The Santa Cruz Mtn articles were very informative. And the technical shit- no other place to get it. As for AA- Fuck ’em. I knew when they started selling wine they were OVER. I’ve defended the AA “mission” in many a wine geek circle. You’re on your own, now. Like it matters. Cha Ching! I just want you to know that the things you’ve taught me and the technology you have given us all is making me money. Not your kind of money, not BIG money, but money, nonetheless. So I can make non-technology wine on the side. Thanks. Mark

Dear Mark:

Thank you for your kind acknowledgement.

For what it’s worth, my enterprises have not worked out as you imagine, and the job at AA is really all I have left, while my winery hangs on by a thread.

Shame on you. Surely you can scare up a dollar a week for the best American wine information source on the web.


Oh, all right. You’re right. What’s a buck. You sold me. I should probably order some wine from you, too, maybe then your winery will be hanging on by two threads. Two threads are better than one. Ha! God knows I like your stuff. Damn, I’m really easy. Or, you’re really good. Probably a little of both. Sincerely, Mark.