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04.01.2007

A Special Announcement from Vinography

As regular readers know, wine blogging has seen a huge upswing in both popularity and visibility in the last six to eight months. Numerous major journalism outlets have begun wine blogs of their own, and the field, while not saturated is getting crowded. While blogs are proliferating in number, and generally rising in quality, none of us is really doing anything that different from the others. There is still a large opportunity to become something much bigger than just a single voice typing away at the keyboard.

Which is why, when Marvin Shanken from the Wine Spectator approached me at the beginning of this year, I didn't hang up the phone. Over the course of several months we discussed what the implications, benefits, and drawbacks would be of some sort of relationship, and after many fruitful meetings we both felt that together we were stronger and had more to offer the public than we did separately. I never thought I would ever get to that point, but I have decided it's time to take wine blogging to the next level.

So I am pleased -- no, thrilled -- to announce that Vinography, LLC is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Wine Spectator, which will be investing significant capital to help me take Vinography to the next level.

What will this mean for Vinography? Well first, it means I can quit my day job and start writing Vinography full time, which will mean more wine reviews, more essays, and overall better content for you. I will receive a full time editor from the Wine Spectator staff, which means that you'll not be subjected to my bad grammar by default.

There will also be other small changes. I have agreed to drop the use of my 10 point scale for reviewing wines and adopt the 100 point scale to make sure my reviews align and can be easily evaluated relative to my colleagues at the Spectator. Vinography will also be undergoing a visual redesign in the near future to give it a better look and feel and to create more real estate for advertising (Vinography will now be part of the Wine Spectator's advertising network and prominent wine advertisers will be able to purchase blocks of advertising that will include the pages of the Spectator as well as Vinography -- if you are interested please contact the advertising department at [email protected]).

Finally, and this is the part that took months to agree on and almost killed the deal, I have agreed to start charging for access to Vinography. As you know, I have thousands of articles and wine reviews from three years of blogging daily, and they have just become too valuable to give away for free. My RSS feed will be shut down and the price for monthly access will be $3.99 which I hope you will feel is fair and of significant value, especially compared with the price of a newspaper subscription or a magazine subscription. The fee will go into effect when the redesigned Vinography launches at the end of May.

I want to end by thanking all of you readers for your support over the last three years and I hope you look forward to the next generation of wine blogging with as much enthusiasm and optimism as I do.

UPDATE 4/2/07 -- As some people don't seem to be reading the comments below, let me just say explicitly that YES this is an April Fools joke.

Comments (41)

Jeff wrote:
04.01.07 at 12:20 PM

April Fools?

Doug wrote:
04.01.07 at 12:34 PM

April Fools - let's hope so!

Stuart wrote:
04.01.07 at 12:35 PM

bloody well hope so....
stu

Amy wrote:
04.01.07 at 1:21 PM

That is GREAT!! That is the only April Fool's Day trick that got me this year. I am confident that you didn't ACTUALLY sell out, so thanks for the opportunity to feel completely gullible on this day. It is a needed break from the daily grind...

cruster wrote:
04.01.07 at 1:23 PM

Well, in case, it's not an April Fool, thanks for being here for us over the time. I wish you good luck at Wine Spectator.
Let's look around for another great wine blog.
Bye

Fabrizio wrote:
04.01.07 at 1:51 PM

April fool definitely :) but a good one, indeed

Golly wrote:
04.01.07 at 1:55 PM

Happy April

Alder's mom wrote:
04.01.07 at 1:56 PM

Quit your day job??? Your company is one of the best in the nation. This MUST be a joke!

Woody wrote:
04.01.07 at 2:02 PM

You're a good writer. Perhaps you're flattering yourself on April 1. If not: Congratulations. Too bad for most of your readers. The Wine Spectator is probably not getting what they think. How many of your readers subscribe to it(I stopped over 10 years ago)?

Arthur wrote:
04.01.07 at 3:55 PM

If this is true, I would not characterize this move on Alder's part as selling out.

People gave Lars Ulich a lot of grief over his stance on the Napster issue but the truth is that it takes financial resources to make things like Vinography happen and only the most wealthy in our society are able to make such a thing no-strings-attached free without having a master to answer to.

If Alder did make a deal with Marvin Shanken, then I say:
1) Congratulations, this is the american dream come true.
2) I hope it was a good deal.
3) I envy him a bit for being able to devote all his time to just this endeavor.

Let's just see what happens over the next 48 hours....

04.01.07 at 4:04 PM

Pay to play *and* ad supported? On a blog? I think I smell an April fools rat!

Rob wrote:
04.01.07 at 4:34 PM

Certainly fooled me, then I realised that the more I thought about it, the more this seems to mirror a certain blogger called Neal Martin moving from wine-journal.com to eRobertParker.

too many similarities?

Alder?

Pim wrote:
04.01.07 at 6:01 PM

If I hadn't already been foolishly taken by Sam's April Fool's post I would've believed you!

Good one Alder.

xx
Pim

Alder wrote:
04.01.07 at 6:21 PM

OK there are WAY too many people freaking out, for me to let this go on without comment. I've gotten about twice as many personal e-mails as I have comments on this post, so let me just say YES it is an April fools JOKE. Whew, eh?

Honestly, the flood of shock, outrage, congratulations and more has been really touching. I'm glad you folks out there are actually still reading.

Happy April.

John wrote:
04.01.07 at 7:44 PM

Medium brown on the page, it comes across at first with a heady bravado, developing into an incredulous sellout before simmering down into a full-blown self-parody.

The part about the full-time editor was my tip-off.

Overall score: 9/9.5

How much? $3.99, apparently

Eduardo wrote:
04.01.07 at 8:02 PM

I REALLY hope this is not true.

Mariëlla wrote:
04.02.07 at 4:56 AM

You had me fooled too, and I started to feel disappointed when I read the part about having to pay for Vinography. Until I read the first comments. Glad to hear you will stay on the bloggers side.

Fiur wrote:
04.02.07 at 5:35 AM

totally had me!

Vino Girl wrote:
04.02.07 at 6:29 AM

Alder, you totally got me! I was forwarding your announcement around so now I look like a complete idiot. Thanks alot. Seriously, glad you will still be blogging.

04.02.07 at 7:21 AM

I didn't figure it out until the end of the post. Great April Fools post!

Julie Ann Kodmur wrote:
04.02.07 at 10:39 AM

Wow. Well done. May the (independent) flag of Vinography long wave!!!!

Barrld wrote:
04.02.07 at 12:50 PM

Nicely disguised with two posts on 4/1. What remains is the unanswered question, what would you do if WS came a calling with an offer you couldn't refuse??

04.02.07 at 1:12 PM

Wow -- it took me until the 3.99 part before I clued in...

Arthur wrote:
04.02.07 at 1:50 PM

I have to second the question: What WOULD you do?

Steve wrote:
04.02.07 at 2:36 PM

Yeah, it sounded too much like Neal going
over to Parker.

I'm glad it was April 1st!

Sobre Vino wrote:
04.02.07 at 2:49 PM

I'm glad it was just a fool's day joke.

Regards,

Sobre Vino
todovino.blogspot.com

Anonymous wrote:
04.02.07 at 4:01 PM

Got me.

Alder wrote:
04.02.07 at 6:51 PM

If someone actually offered me enough money to retire on? Yes, I'd sell.

But don't worry y'all. My retirement goals are pretty lofty.

diana wrote:
04.03.07 at 10:31 AM

good one, alder since it appears no one plays these good april fools day jokes anymore.

Geoff Smith wrote:
04.03.07 at 1:00 PM

Ha Ha! That was a good one! I also liked Beau Timken's April Fools' sale to Oprah at truesake.com!

Cheers,

Geoff

Dezel wrote:
04.03.07 at 9:36 PM

A little late here but you had me going since its now the 4th (lol).

That one got me...hook, line.... - great job!

Tyler T wrote:
04.03.07 at 9:44 PM

You are good. Got me.

Cheers,
t

tom merle wrote:
04.03.07 at 11:53 PM

I knew it was a spoof because Informed Sources have indicated that the new WS house blogger's position was actually offered to... Darryl Roberts....

T.O.M.

04.04.07 at 1:17 AM

Alder:

And here I thought we had a deal...

Mary Baker wrote:
04.04.07 at 10:28 AM

I bought it hook, line, and sinker! Egads.

Jerry D. Murray wrote:
04.04.07 at 6:37 PM

I was close to giving up hope that the prolariet would reclaim the wineworld. Nice one!

Marvin R. shanken wrote:
04.04.07 at 7:01 PM

Cute. And not a bad idea.

The real marvin Shanken !

Alder wrote:
04.04.07 at 8:08 PM

This is like the movie Spartacus!!!

Thanks Marvin (the real one). I'm glad to have provoked this sort of response instead of a cease and desist letter.

Jathan wrote:
04.05.07 at 4:54 PM

Haha, nice. It would be nice to quit the day job and do this full time though ehh?

Cheers.

Bertrand wrote:
04.07.07 at 5:43 AM

Hi Alder
I was just discovering this post and preparing my congrats (and B.'s) when I checked the entry date, then the comments and finally, your aknowlegment of this april fool...
I really thought it was true and deserved. Who knows, the WS is already buzzing right now with projects about working with you...
Bertrand

Jean-Louis wrote:
04.09.07 at 5:34 PM

I bought it too! I feel better I am not the only one. Best poisson d'avril of the season!
Congrats!

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