The US magazine (Wine Observer) was founded in 1976 by Bob Morrisey in New York and bought three years later by publisher Marvin R. Shanken. It is considered the world's most influential wine publication alongside Robert Parker's "Wine Advocate" and was ranked No. 1 business consumer magazine among affluent readers by the Luxury Institute in 2008. Thomas Matthews serves as editor-in-chief.
The articles on all wine regions of all wine producing countries of the world with their wines are delivered by renowned local wine journalists, regular contributions were made by Hugh Johnson, John Platter, Cyril Ray and Jancis Robinson, among others. 15 issues are published annually, each containing 400 to more than 1,000 tasting notes. These are written according to the 100-point system by experienced wine critics. In the past, these have included former editor-in-chief Jim Gordon, Per-Henrik Mansson and James Suckling, who was responsible for the European office in Paris until 2010. Current critics include Executive Editor Thomas Mathews, Editor-in-Chief Harvey Steiman, James Laube, Kim Marcus, Bruce Sanderson, Tim Fish, James Molesworth, Alison Napjus and Mary Ann Worobiec. The classification levels (see also under wine evaluation):
In 1981, the Restaurant Awards program was introduced to evaluate the wine lists of restaurants. In 1986 the magazine sponsored, organized and held the second round of the famous Paris Wine Tasting in New York. Since 1988, a "Top 100 List" has been published in the last issue of each year, in which the world's best wines or wineries with a wine rating of 90 points or more with the best price/quality ratio are chosen as "Winery of the Year". There is also an online edition with an extensive wine database in which around 280,000 wines can be searched.
The Wine Experience is organized annually and includes wine tasting, seminars, lunches and a prize banquet. The magazine also runs the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation to support wine and food programmes. A sister magazine, published since 1992, is called "Cigar Aficionado" (cigar lovers) and combines the topics "wine and cigars". See also complete lists of relevant keywords on the subject under Literature, Wine Guides and Wine Growers' Personalities.