Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Revolution...

...most certainly will not be on the new and "improved" Clearly Marvin Shanken Communications, Inc. just doesn't get it. Fifty bucks per year (twenty-five for print subscribers) to access their website content. And Even better at one hundred big ones per year whether you subscribe to The Wine Advocate or not. Don't get me wrong, I get the profit motive. I'm a management consultant who advises clients on how to maximize the bottom line. I just don't think a pay-to-play model is going to further their (already dying?) cause.

Eight issues into my WS subscription, I'm already unimpressed and a little bored. And at $50 per year for 17 issues with a touted 500 wine reviews per issue that's not good. The Wine Advocate will cost you $60 per year with 6000 wines reviewed over the one-year subscription. From what I gather, WA is more of a no-nonsense publication. So in honor of Mr. Shanken's marketing move...Top Reasons I Will Fire Wine Spectator.

  1. Awkward magazine size that fits in nothing I own
  2. Pretentious photographs of people lying in lawns cradling a glass of wine (don't believe me? Take a closer look)
  3. Shanken's mug toasting me on page ten of every issue
  4. Orwellian influence on my wine purchases
  5. Published ratings for wines that are no longer widely available
  6. Published ratings for wines that were never widely available
  7. Pay-based web site content

So having ranted and bashed WS, I do actually have a suggestion (a concept that might have helped my man Kerry take a couple million votes away from W43). Read a good retailer's newsletter. These folks taste a lot more wine than you or me. At their best, these newsletters are well written and seriously informative. Anywhere from a couple to 30+ pages in length, a newsletter can contain regional tasting reports, vintage reports, wine reviews, spotlights on lesser known wineries...and guess what? When available, they usually give you the WS/WA tasting note and score too!

Biased opinions that are just pushing product you say? Maybe. But do you think WS's Top 100 list is pure and without bias? Plus if you read a few with any regularity you'll get a good dose of "Caveat Emptor" and comparison shopping. So here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Know of any others? Let's stick it to Marv!