EDITOR'S NOTE—Best in Wine Value

TQT3.jpg If you subscribe to Internet retail sites, you will have been bombarded lately with discounts on wine reaching past 50 percent. Those emails are meant to trigger impulse buys–and some may be a steal. But we think you need more thoughtful strategies to handle the changes in the market, which is why we've fashioned all of our reporting in this issue around value.
      We start off with a look at innovation–how your access to wine might improve through creative responses to scarcer resources. Mike Steinberger considers how the recent partnership between CellarTracker and Vinfolio may change the way collectors buy and sell wine. Wolfgang Weber reviews some of the most compelling innovations in value that may alter your drinking habits. And if you're thinking of planting a vineyard, our critics kept their ears to the ground for the latest news on real estate–new locations for vineyards and remarkable opportunities opened up by changes in local politics or the global climate.
      If you're on a summer staycation in New York City–or visiting from further afield–Neil Dorosin put together an itinerary of urban winery visits. Dave McIntyre took 48 hours in Charlottesville to help you discover the local wine culture there. And Toronto-based master sommelier John Szabo organized a short tour of the Niagara Peninsula, if you're looking for an affordable weekend getaway.
      Closer to home, Tara Q. Thomas gathered recipe ideas and wine suggestions for the Cheap Parts, cuts of meat that have come into fashion over the last few years. They first gained attention through chefs, conscious of the local food movement that's putting pressure on industrial meat production, and later as a matter of economy. Here's a strategy for a lot of delicious meals, one that will be valuable long after the economy improves.
      At the heart of the issue, we've assembled a list of the most compelling values we've tasted in the past two years. We looked at all the wines we've recommended during that period and, taking each wine's cost and score into account, used a statistical method to determine which of these overdelivered for their price, and by how much. These are our Three-, Four- and Five-Star Champions of Value.
      We plan to use this method in the future to select and rank the values from our tastings, and we think it will enhance your own purchasing power when it comes to great wine.