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Wine 101 is a FREE OnLine Wine Education Course Includes: Dionysus vs Diogenes | Why Wine? | Wine & Health | Social History | Sensory User's Manual | Wine Growing | Wine Making | Varietal Profiles | Sparkling Wine Consumerism information on Bottle Shapes and Sizes, Reading Labels, Selecting and Buying Strategies, Recommendations for Corkscrews and Glassware, Serving Order and Temperature, Cellaring, etc. Taste includes the compiled Wine Tasting Notes from our monthly panel, Reports on public tasting events and a Food & Wine section with Pairing Suggestions and even some wine-friendly Recipes. Aftertaste includes one section we call "Wrath", serving our Opinions and Editorials, and another we titled "Bacchanalia", with our Reading List suggestions and pages of Links to additional wine information. About contains information on Site Conventions used, stories of the Group Formation & Website Genesis, Acclaim & Awards, Biographic Sketches of our Tasting Panelists and Contact & Sponsor information. Return to the starting point.

PfW Mission Statement

PfW is dedicated to increasing wine appreciation by providing wine education, wine information, and wine training, and offering wine opinions. Our mission is to spread wine knowledge and enthusiasm and to dispel any and all snobbery and myth regarding wine.

The information and knowledge here is provided FREE of charge. No "cookies" are left on your PC and there is no "registration" requirement for access. We have nothing for sale (yet...). If you find us useful, PLEASE visit our sponsors, just to show your appreciation...


PfW GROUP HISTORY: During the 1990s, wine coverage by our local Northern California newspaper was limited to syndicated reviews (frequently truncated versions, at that), mostly written by Mid West- or East Coast-based writers, supplemented by an occasional feature story on wine. The reviews rarely had relevance to wines available in the local marketplace and the features were few and far between.

In early 1998, Alan Cannon approached several friends and associates with the idea of forming a tasting group to evaluate wines that are both current and locally-available. Alan contacted the newspaper's feature editor with an offer to produce a wine column with local appeal. The editor agreed and insisted on having one of his staff attend, participate and write-up our results.

We gathered in May, 1998, for our first bi-monthly blind tasting. After six or seven meetings, the newspaper showed no interest in publishing our tastings, but we continued to meet and taste monthly. Participation waned somewhat in Spring, 1999, as our voluntary coordinator, the late and fondly remembered Ron Radoicich became seasonally inundated by his vineyard and nursery responsibilities. I offered (like an idiot!) to take over.

At that June, 1999, session, we discussed the possibility of putting our notes on a website, formalized a name: "Professional Friends of Wine", and agreed to a few simple membership parameters and tasting ground rules. We relaxed the original "current and locally-available" requirements and ever since have shared and enjoyed many delicious wines, compared in some fascinating contexts of origin, price, and age.

PfW SITE HISTORY: A coworker of mine, Bob LaFond, had some experience building websites and was first to suggest the idea of a website for the tasting group. He offered to get us up and running and train me to take over, although my very first experience on-line was in April, 1999.

PfW members pooled startup costs on a voluntary basis. Bob registered our domain name and uploaded our first-generation pages in July, 1999. This was comprised of group tasting notes from two sessions, supplemented with monographs I had been utilizing to teach wine appreciation classes over the years.

From Dummy to WebDrone
After a couple of training sessions with Bob, I began reading web-design books, surfing, and asking questions of anyone who seemed web-savvy. At the end of August, 1999, I undertook to redesign the PfW logo and the site. I uploaded the new look at the end of October, 1999. In April, 2000, I added a search engine, reorganized the entire site file structure, and added a lot of content that had been accumulating since January.

In March, 2001, with the goal in mind of making the site faster-loading and more easily navigable, I implemented a new design. The file structure was again reworked to allow for future expansion without the necessity of continually rebuilding the site.

From Reverie to Catastrophe and Back
Summer, 2001, was a season of site schizophrenia. Late in June, PfW was nominated as a
TOP 100 Wine Site, voted upon by readers at Chef2Chef. In the first week or so, we hovered in the "TOP 10". On July 2, our host-server mistakenly deleted the entire PfW site. Can you imagine my mood when I found they had no back up, contrary to their advertising pitch? As visitors could no longer find us, low-score votes began dragging PfW down the rankings.

Trying to find a new host-server extended the nightmare. Of five candidates which I e-mailed with simple questions about issues that were either not addressed or not clearly explained on their respective web sites, only one bothered to answer. I took a chance and wound up with a bare-bones provider that had no documentation of the features they advertised and no customer service (five unanswered e-mails over an eight-day span).

Finally, to my relief, a friend and long-suffering fellow webmaster recommended CybrHost. What a breath of fresh air! Although the company was was purchased, the new ownership retained redundant back-ups, easily configured e-mail and helpful and available customer service, all resulting in our very amicable business relationship ever since.

Final Remarks
The present design was uploaded October, 2002, with a new logo and navigation buttons. My plan for PfW is to continue to improve the functionality and to continually refine, update, and gradually expand the content. I invite and welcome all comments, pointers to typos, requests, and suggestions.

CREDITS: People whose assistance, ideas, inspiration, patience, praise, and tolerance have significantly contributed are Bob LaFond, Steven Grigory, Roland Marandino, Alan Cannon, Ray Krause, Sonny Martin and Jane Ann LaMar. And last, but not least, all the PfW visitors who have e-mailed suggestions, pointers and kind words. Thanks & Cheers.
TOOLS:Made with a Mac illustration. Life's too short to drink bad wine OR to use a PC that drives you drink for medicinal purposes!

- Jim LaMar




Page created December 11, 2004; last updated August 9, 2011
Except as noted, all content, including design, text and images, is property of the site owner.
No part may be reproduced or used in any form without prior documented consent.
All rights reserved under the DMCA of 1998. © 1999-2011 by Jim LaMar.