Appellation America: Clarifications

Yesterday I wrote about what I considered the demise of Appellation America. Tom Welch, CEO of Appellation America emailed me to clarify a few items. That email is reproduced below.:

Hi Tom

Thank you for the the prominent mention in your Blog.
I would like to clarify a few things.

1) Subscription is alive and continues. There is no change.

2) We have made deep cost cuts, but Appellation America is not gone. It is no longer is bleeding financially and therefore healthier than it was last week.

3) The Best of Appellation (BOA) program is continuing as are the stories that directly relate to BOA.. I am currently working on a deal to get wider exposure for the BOA results with a nation print publication. I also expect in the near future that our "Blue Book" of grape varietal profiles will become the gold standard that wine judges will refer to when judging wines. The Blue Book continues to evolve.
We expect to have even greater influence in the future.

So Appellation is very much alive.

Thanks for your continued support.


In addition to my commentary on the state of Appellation America that ran on this blog, Wines & Vines On-line published a report on the changes at the ground breaking on-line wine publication. Wine Industry Insight also reported on the changes at Appellation America.

Posted In: Wine Media


5 Responses

  1. Taylor Senatore - July 28, 2009

    Said to see it go. But go it will now that they are charging for content. This is an unsustainable business model.
    I’m surprised they couldn’t make an ad model work, but in the end I think they just started to lose focus on their core business model. I rarely read content and I think the demise started after they started selling wine.
    Eh, but what the heck do I know!
    Taylor Senatore
    California Wine Merchants

  2. Morton Leslie - July 29, 2009

    I sat in on a presentation made by Appellation America to an AVA. Afterward the group discussed the web venture and unanimously voted not to support it as an organization. What makes that interesting is that the business model was essentially selling a product to the wine industry. And though on paper it looked good…favorable reviews for all wines, favorable stories about those wineries who participated, favorable stories about all appellations, a “spotlight” on an appellation if they reached a certain “participation, “a page for any winery who wanted to write one, links to buy the wine, etc…it failed. Where it failed was not recognizing that the customer was not the winery or the appellation, it was the wine buyer. And they totally missed providing content that was of value to their real customer.

  3. Dylan - July 29, 2009

    This response sort of reminds me of the Jeff Goldblum incident a few weeks back. “I’m not dead”-Jeff Goldblum.

  4. Thomas Pellechia - July 29, 2009

    Did they miss providing content to the consumer or did they simply step over the line?
    It’s one thing to have a pay to play system, but it’s quite another to provide the illusion that it is not a pay to play system.

  5. Charlie Olken - July 29, 2009

    Might I just say a giant BRAVO to Morton, whoever the hell he is, Leslie. I have heard this story from others as well, but since I never heard it directly, I have not spoken of it.
    But, what all this reminds me of is the old “if we provide content”, people will buy wine from us. Go ask if it worked for them.

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