Defining “Difference” in Wine Media

As a follow up my last post on wine media and writing, I want to draw attention to some very different types of wine media.

POINTS MEDIA—The Wine Blue Book
Bluebook If you look at the right side of this blog, you'll see an ad for THE WINE BLUE BOOK. The tag line in the add is "Better Wines By the Numbers". I originally spoke with the owner after looking over this fascinating journal and after speaking with them about possible PR work. (Wark Communications is not, it turns out doing PR work for them). It's a fascinating media offering.

Essentially, the Wine Blue Book determines value by looking at a wines average score, the average score for wines in the category and the price of the wine. Using these three data points, one can determine whether the wine is a good value…or not. For example, a $250 Napa Cabernet that gets an average score of 91 points from reviewers isn't a good value. A $30 Napa Cabernet that gets an average of 91 points from reviewers is a good value.

Here's the thing, in order or this publication to be of value, you have to believe that the 100 points scale and wine ratings in general are of value and communicate information. I do indeed decidedly believe this.

If one is familiar with the general characteristics of a Napa Valley Cabernet from the valley floor or with a Napa Cabernet from Howell Mountain, or a Paso Robles Zin from the eastside or a Chardonnay from the extreme west part of Sonoma County, then the question comes around to which of the many of these wines should I spend my hard earned money on. There are any number of ways to answer this question: recommendations from friends, group recommendations from Cellar Tracker, ratings given by reviewers.

If you believe folks like Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator or Stephen Tanzer or Wine Enthusiast are reliable, then all of a sudden the Wine Blue Book becomes are remarkably good sources for focusing ones funds on those wines most likely to provide the best value.

Somjourn Since 2008, when David Vogel founded the Sommelier Journal, the publications has slowly and quietly and consistently delivered professional takes on the world of wine giving particular attention to the needs of and the views of sommeliers. Recently, Sommelier Journal was awarded two Folio Eddie Awards for magazine excellence. David contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in giving my readers a taste of the Magazine. I am.

Click this link to have online access to the entirety of the January 2011 issue of Sommelier Journal. The publications can be read on-line and in print. If you get timed out while reading, you can log back in the January issue with the username and password of [email protected] and "sneakpeek".

MEET NEIL BECKET, EDITOR OF World of Fine Wine—Done!
WFW It turns out I can check this desire off my personal to-do list. World of Fine Wine is by far the most ambitious wine magazine in the world as well as its most intellectual and curious. This is largely due to the direction of Neil Beckett, who is in town (Napa) for the Wine Writers Symposium.

During a lovely lunch with Mr. Beckett, I learned that the great majority of subscribers to the quarterly World of Fine Wine are in the United States. I had no idea. World of Fine Wine maintains a diverse cadre of writers and contributors from across the globe with with a bit more attention paid to profile the work of the best English Writers. But what most obviously sets it apart is its aggressive pursuit the connection between wine and culture and its decidedly English approach to exploring that nexus. Beckett has created something at World of Fine Wine that is ambitious, beautiful and relevant!


One Response

  1. George Wroblewski - March 1, 2011

    World of Fine Wine is certainly ambitious. I am really surprised that the majority of subscribers are in the US. I always thought of it as predominantly english – more fool me!

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