“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” –Don Draper, Mad Men
Anyone who is aspiring to write about wine (or really write about anything) arrives to a point where they have to cut their own path. So today I’m launching my own online wine magazine for those willing to support independent, original, quality content. It might be the craziest of endeavors in the current publishing landscape, but seeing general trends of the last year, it seems like the best way forward.
For the last six months, I’ve been working with a coder to flesh out this site into a full-fledged wine portal with a membership component. The initial work has been followed by a beta testing period (which is why the site has been slightly less active than usual) that has led to this day when the site is being re-launched with a new concept, new content, and new features.
There’s also a new logo by a local designer who also designed the cover of my Georgia Wine Guide as well as an overall re-design of the site. Moreover, you’ll notice that the site is even more user-responsive than before, including being better-adapted to mobile phones and tablets, because who reads on a computer anymore, right?
Wine review database
One of the key components in this revision that was a tremendous amount of work is a full-fledged wine review database, including scores, of all the wines I taste. This database can store the literal thousands of wines that I taste annually but for which no print publication ever has enough space for as they usually only feature 10-15 “highlights”. This simply isn’t fair to all the cellars who take on the time and cost to send samples for tasting. So, all wines I receive from cellars, unless deemed faulty are rated and posted. Most importantly, unless it’s physically not possible, all wines are tasted blind.
Tasting notes are great but they need cohesion, so there are now the reports which are thematic wine tastings whether that means a region such as Roussillon or a grape such as Carinyena/Carignan. These are accompanied by extensive analysis, seeing how they fit in with overall wine trends and drinking habits to give the reader, whether passionate wine drinker or active wine professional, a useful reference dossier.
While there are several of such reports that are already live with the launch, I have a few more in store that are ready to go live in the coming weeks. These include Vintage Port, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, multiple reports on regions in Catalunya, as well as the Republic of Georgia.
The physicality of print doesn’t allow writers to “deep dive” as much as is sometimes necessary and so we end up with a great many fly-by articles that often lack the immersion needed for complex or extensive topics. I still believe that any story worth reading needs whatever space it takes to tell it, so with these changes, there will be a shift to longer-form articles whenever they merit it. This will of course be kept in check as I’ll readily admit that many articles out there could often shed a few paragraphs.
Subscription content at your fingertips
Sadly, well-researched in-depth content, and extensive tastings in the regions takes time and money to produce. So, in order to make all this possible, or at least not to lose money doing it, there is now a subscription system. All the energy, time, and expense I’ve put into this is that there’s clearly a growing hunger for in-depth wine knowledge as illustrated by the ever-increasing enrollment in wine education courses.
I’ve been tasting wines, following trends, traveling to different wine regions, and writing about them for more than 10 years now with a focus on California, Spain, south-eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The media landscape has been shrinking for nearly two decades now and long editorial turnarounds (not to mention even longer payment cycles for writers) has made it impossible to get current news stories published in a timely manner or to properly report on certain topics or geographic areas that are overlooked or more often, misunderstood.
The subscription price for a whole year (12 months starting from the date of subscribing) is merely $60 USD. But to make it more attractive for those who have been regular readers, I’m launching an Early Bird special of “First 50 @ 50”. This means that the first 50 people to subscribe will get a whole year for half the price at $30 USD.
By subscribing to this site, you are essentially hiring myself (and perhaps other future authors) directly by supporting independent wine journalism. I support many publications myself so I’m not just an author, but a reader as well. So, I’m open to hearing feedback from readers, both positive and negative, as well as suggestions on what they’d like to read about. Please contact me any time.
Real Content, No Influence
This new publication is author owned and there will be no advertisements or sponsored posts. Wine publishing (and to a certain degree, publishing in general) has had its editorial narrative bent to an often unacceptable degree through various commercial influences despite the fact you’re paying to subscribe to it!
Your subscription here pays for an independent voice in an ad-free reading zone which is a small wonder in this day and age. There will also be additional benefits to subscribers early next year once a regular flow of content and a stable critical mass of subscribers is established.
If this sounds like what you’re looking for Subscribe Now and hope to see you around!
* Paid for advertisements that are made to look like actual articles in otherwise respectable publications.