More Shuffling at ‘Wine Advocate’

800px-Red_wine_closeup_in_glassThe feedback from subscribers must’ve been considerable because Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate will now remain in print, and its headquarters will stay in Monkton, Md. As Lettie Teague reported in the Wall Street Journal (content restricted),

A spokeswoman for Mr. Parker said in an email Wednesday that “while things could always change down the road,” the print edition will stay in place.

The spokeswoman also said the newsletter’s Singapore office will be “a second office,” from which its investors and Singapore-based correspondent Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the new editor in chief, “will be handling various business and editorial operations.”

That’s a great phrase, isn’t it? When someone asks me what I do, from now on I’m replying, “I handle various business and editorial operations.”

In addition, the newsletter will not be running any ads in its print or PDF editions, though the incoming editor in chief told WSJ that it would eventually allow for advertisements for watches and other luxury goods—but certainly not wines. So if Barefoot or Yellow Tail were hoping for the four-color ad on the inside cover, it’ll have to keep waiting.

If you’re wondering how a publication can function successfully without depending on advertising, check out my essay on Christopher Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated. With almost a million paid subscribers, Cook’s takes in no advertising dollars. America’s Test Kitchen, Kimball’s show on PBS, does accept sponsors but for products it has no plans on reviewing. The concept behind Cook’s is simple and logical, and yet it is enormously difficult for other print outlets to replicate: Is yours the only publication where certain information can be accessed and utilized? For many news organizations, the answer is no. But for the Wine Advocate, it seems the answer is yes—people rely on its reviews to determine their wine purchases the way Cook’s customers depend on the magazine for recipes that have been perfected.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

One thought on “More Shuffling at ‘Wine Advocate’”

  1. Cook’s Illustrated is successful because they have consistently excellent content, even when recycled. They are aggressive marketers, but have something to offer. That’s the obvious but critical angle to their success. The essay and interview of Christopher Kimball was terrific, an odd but impressive man who strikes a compelling tone in both the videos and his writing. For the 99% of us who can’t imagine taking on a Bocuse recipe, Cook’s or ATK is very, very good.

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