Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boo-Hoo! Hand a Hankie to Wine X Magazine

Monday, February 19, Decanter magazine released the news that Wine X magazine has kicked the spit bucket.

If you have ever picked up a copy of the magazine or caught it online, you will remember it for "cutting edge" features like Wine Bitch and X-Rated, a creative XXX system of rating wines. I will remember the magazine as creators of the Jelly Belly Wine Bar. An educational tool using Jelly Bellies to create wine flavors like Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet (Cherry + Plum + BlackBerry + Dr. Pepper + Licorice + Bertie Botts Dirt + 1/2 Buttered Toast = Merlot). In fact, I blogged about this clever use of jelly beans in December, 2005.

Former founder and editor, Darryl Roberts had a great idea. The magazine was designed with young adults in mind. It was way to rid of stuffy wine-speak and make wine less intimidating and more interesting to the future Gen-X wine drinkers. At its best, the Santa Rosa, California based magazine sold over 330,000 issues a month. According to Decanter, Roberts leaves us with the impression that if you are involved in the wine industry, you do not care about future wine drinkers and are to blame for his magazine's unhappy-ending. He says the following:

"There's a lot of talk within the wine industry about marketing to young adults...new wines have been created, new wine divisions have been formed by large wine companies, all with the idea of targeting young adults... yet they give us absolutely no support... no interest in young adults...each issue is a struggle...I forgot I was dealing with the wine industry, an industry still stuck in the 80s. They don't want to market wine to young adults. Young adults don't drink wine."

At this time the majority of wine drinkers are probably from the Boomer generation, but a new generation of wine drinkers are not far behind. The Boomers have risen above in spite of memories from their youth of grocery store shelves filled with bottles of Blue Nun, Lancer and the Jug o' Gallo. We were left on our own to develop a taste for sophisticated and well-made wines. Today I can walk down those same grocery store aisles, but now I find bottles of wine with colorful labels of animals, charactures of "empowered" women, celebrities, and "hip" abstract designs with various prices and all designed to encourage purchases by the new wine drinker. Older generations of wine lovers did not have access to wine education via internet, community classes, and an abundance of books and magazines like we have now.

Alas, I have no answer for the demise of this magazine. Maybe the advertising department wasn't agressive enough? Maybe the magazine project was undercapitalized or maybe it lacked proper management? As the youngsters say, "What-evahhhh." In the mean time, while Editor Roberts points the finger at the wine industry, I am reminded of lyrics from an old Beatles song:

Cry baby cry

Cry baby cry

Make your mother sigh

She's old enough to know better

So cry baby cry.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

And what about the wine we had in the fridge at home?
"Thunderbird" aka "Thunderchicken"

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