Review of the Wine Media: The Wine News

This is the second in a series of reviews of wine publications


The Wine News really is the most beautiful consumer wine publication available.

Published out of Florida by Tom and Elizabeth Smith, The Wine News takes a substantially tactile and graphic approach to delivering wine lovers with an editorial connection to the vine. Just hold this publication. It’s tabloid sized and printed on thick, semiglossy paper that holds the printing spectacularly. It should be no surprise that every bottle, every vineyard view, every portrait of a winemaker in the magazine pops like in no other wine magazine on the market. There is real effort and commitment to a product coming from The Wine News.

The Wine News is published bi-monthly. Cost: $30 per year. A bargain. But there is more than just pretty pictures.

Consider the list of contributing Editors:
Gerald Boyd: One of California’s most experienced wine writers
Clive Coates: Few have deeper experience with Bordeaux and Burgundy
Jeff Cox: Home winemaking Guru and California wine specialist.
Gerry Dawes: Maybe America’s premier Spanish wine specialist
Richard Kinssies: Washington State based Writer and educator with a keen palate and appreciation for education
Tom Maresca: A GREAT wordsmith with a deep and experience-laden knowledge of wine
Steve Pitcher: German and California specialist who knows everyone
Dick Rosano: Wine writer/historian who can turn a great phrase.

This is just the beginning.

The magazine’s editors are wise enough to let their writers go. They write what they think. This is not always the case in wine magazines. I love writer Lyn Farmer’s statement in a column about Dry Creek Valley from an 2003 issue: “If you’re a grower in Dry Creek Valley and you don’t plant zinfandel, you’re kind of stupid”

The content is a mix of winery profiles, regional reviews, industry coverage, travel features, varietal reviews with a decided emphasis on food. (they employ a “food editor”, “news editor”, “European editor”, “Health editor”, “books editor” and a “travel editor”)

Of course, The Wine News also offers wine reviews. They review wines using the 100 point scale and always include a written review of the wine. They almost always employ a panel to review wines, though on occasion a wine or series of wines will be reviewed by a single person. When this is the case it is always indicated.

Many wine lovers have complained about ratings inflation over the past few years. I don’t think The Wine News falls into that category. When they give a wine 93 points or above it means something special. If you like your reviews to focus on the sensual qualities of the wine in question, you’ll like the Wine News’ reviews. There is clearly a policy in their reviews to focus on what the wine smells and tastes like, and to exclude most other information. Example:

2000 Swanson “Alexis” Estate Red Wine, Napa Valley Deep India ink hue. Ripe plum and cherry aromas with a vibrant menthol nuance. Very approachable and soft with plenty of lush black fruit flavors and a note of milk chocolate. Prolonged finish with charred oak and pepper accents 92 Points

The Wine News has been around for a long time. It hasn’t gotten the attention that the Wine Spectator gets. Yet it is absolutely a great addition to the wine lovers yearly subscription quota and a beauty to look at.

The Wine News

On The Wine News website you can read a number of stories from the current issue, include “Best Wines of the Year” by Steve Pitcher.

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