You either have to be crazy or passionate about your topic to launch a new print magazine in today’s economic condition. I think a little of both could be used to describe the launch of Washington Tasting Room magazine. Founders John and Adean Vitale hope to provide a “wealth of tasting experiences…as we celebrate the truly amazing wines being produced across the state.”
I received the first two copies of Washington Tasting Room as an industry sample with the intention to review.
The magazine is a quarterly publication that intends to explore tasting rooms across the state. Each edition is divided into Tour (wineries and vineyards), Taste (culinary, restaurant, food pairings), Travel (hotels, resorts, bed & breakfasts) and At Home (general wine info, art, etc). Every edition also covers key news, trends, tasting room openings and an event calendar. The advertisements were not overwhelming and each was nicely placed on the page or grouped together to not distract from the article.
As I flipped through each edition, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the writing, including two of my online favorites Kori Voorhees from www.winepeeps.com and David LeClaire from www.vinolover.com. Other writing contributors varied between publications but each article was nicely crafted. To me, the star of each edition is the photography. The panoramic landscape photo’s of vineyards and the thumbnail shots of various tasting rooms gave me an overall impression of visiting each space. A few of the centerfold type shots had me holding the magazine up akin to a teenage boy with those “other” kind of magazines that people read for the articles.
While there is nothing negative to say about the magazine, I do have an observation and a suggestion. My observation is based on my geographical bias. So far, with two issues there is nary a mention of the Spokane wine scene. While I realize that Spokane is not an AVA, nor is it synonymous with wine (ala Walla Walla or Lake Chelan), however Spokane metro is 350,000 people strong and has 18 very good wineries. Several of Spokane’s wine makers are fathers of wine in the state. I would hope to see some sort of representation in the Spring edition.
My suggestion revolves around the very nature of the print medium. Of the 34 pages that had article text, 5 were dedicated to events. The lead time of print to publication to distribution to ending up in my hands means that there are probably several events that don’t make the list (and others that have come and gone by the time I pick up my magazine). Building out a robust event section on the web site would allow for more real time addition. A few of the articles (not all) should be available on the web site with some features published online between issues. I’m sure several WA wine bloggers would love to syndicate their content. In short, I think the survival of the print medium is a synergy between print, web, and social media. Readers are going online. One magazine I read regularly starts the article in the magazine and then references a second part or additional information that is online…very clever.
Washington Tasting Room is a good magazine for wine lovers in our state. I’m a huge fan and supporter of anything that promotes the beautifully crafted quality wines that come from Washington. I wish John and Adean success with their venture. Be looking for a subscription order from DrinkNectar.com.
Tags: Magazine Review