Romance is Dead: The Demise of the Quarterly Review of Wines Magazine.

QRW: They foresee a bleak future for wine!

The Quarterly Review of Wines is calling it quits for its 145,000-circulation magazine after more than thirty years.

“No one really wanted to go, but we all knew it was time,” said publisher/owner Richard Elia. 

The QRW has been checking out vintages and profiling winery owners since 1977.

Elia decided it was time for last call because of an aging staff, declining ads and readership and an industry that’s not much fun to cover any more.
In a post on their website, they write:

On November 1, 2011, when we ceased publication of the Quarterly Review of Wines, not a few people wondered why an otherwise healthy wine magazine like ours would cease publication after more than 35 years. Beyond the usual explanations — upcoming retirements, the magazine world is in perilous shape, advertising is down, the digital age is king, out-of-state wine delivery problems — what initially attracted us to wine was the romance of it. Now this passion is spent. Gone are charming tales (mythic or otherwise) about wine, about enjoying wine, about iconic wine characters (charismatic Andre Simon, charmer Alexis Lichine, pioneer André Tchelistcheff, gentleman Julio Gallo, all stuff of legends). We miss stories about winemakers, about their hard work and their purple hands. The wine world changed, evolution was inevitable. Wine became so commercially successful that romance was lost along the way.

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts

I can quite happily sit on the fence with this one. I know what they’re saying, and I don’t disagree. It’s sad. It is however a sign of the times. 
It probably needs to be reiterated that the dwindling readership of magazines in general didn’t exactly happen overnight. The Wine Spectator has been making a HUGE push towards their online subscription service, as they well should, because they realize what the future holds in store for those who don’t conform.
Personally I think the Quarterly Review of Wines wussed out. I always found the magazine to be the most well-written pieces of wine literature available. People still want the cool stories, more now than ever! It’s just the way that information is delivered that needs to be altered.
If only the QRW had hired some of today’s wine industry pioneers (Rick Bakas and Gary Vaynerchuk, I’m looking at you) as consultants, they no-doubt would have painted a very clear picture of what was/is to come. Based on the full post on the QRW blog, I don’t think they would have ever listened though …

The demise of the Quarterly Review of Wines is just the beginning. I spoke to the owner of a small Californian winery last week who bared the opinion that “…the Internet and all that Facebook and Twitter Social Media stuff is a big waste of time…”
I told him to call me in 3 years and see if he still had the same opinion.
I won’t hear from him, not because he’ll forget to call me, but because he won’t be in business.

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