Much has discussion been brewing this past two weeks around the announced demise of Wine X Magazine. For those who are unfamiliar with the rag, it was going to be the wine magazine For a New Generation. Full of attitude, super hip, and dedicated to talking about wine in ways that GenX-ers and GenY-ers would understand. Frequent references to sex, celebrities, and pop-culture pervaded the magazine and its tasting notes which were scored on an “x,” xxx,” and “xxx-rated” basis.
In a somewhat bitter lament as part of the announcement of its closing, founder Darryl Roberts blamed the wine industry itself for the magazine’s failure: “”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.” Presumably, Roberts means that none of them paid to advertise in his pages.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t find this topic worth commenting on except for the fact that amidst all the coverage of this magazine’s extinction no one seems to be pointing out what I though would be obvious: the real reason the magazine failed was because it wasn’t any good.
I wonder how many of the folks out there in the media pontificating on what the failure of Wine-X might mean in the face of current theories about the millenials and their media consumption have actually ever picked up a copy of the magazine and read it? The writing ranged from good to mediocre to just plain bad, the photography and design of the magazine was lousy, and their operations seemed erratic to the point of not even being able to publish the magazine at a predictably regular interval, let alone managing to populate the pages with regular columns and contributors. And don’t get me started on their wine reviews, which for all their cheeky pop-culture descriptors which at times could be quite funny, were essentially useless to the consumer (my recollection is that they never provided prices for the wines).
I say, good riddance. Someone will eventually figure out how to write a good magazine for the youngest generation of wine consumers, or perhaps blogs will provide all that is needed by this perpetually online generation.