February 20 2007
Maybe it’s a slow news day, or maybe it’s because a guy, bloodied and beaten, lunged below the belt, a last ditch effort of the street fighter courting defeat, but unwilling to go down without a parting shot.
Wine X magazine announced they were closing down—announced on Decanter.com no less, a U.K. double gun middle finger salute aimed at the U.S. wine industry that allegedly didn’t do enough to support the young target market that Mr. Darryl Roberts cultivated for the last 8-10 years at Wine X magazine. Assuredly, Dale Carnegie would not approve.
And, some folks linked to below are weighing in:
In my pop culture view, there is a 15 year gap in between perception and reality. By that I mean that sometimes fifty year olds think they can identify with 35 years and 35 year olds think they can identify with 20 years olds. There’s a part of us that thinks we can skip down half a generation and still be current.
Rarely does speaking in the same voice occur naturally in between two generations if leadership and mutual respect isn’t also a part of the equation. Ultimately, Roberts was trying to step down a generation without providing leadership to the industry or speaking in the same voice. His scarlet letter is a crash and burn marked with an X.
As a sometime subscriber, albeit frustrated, I wrote a lengthy post on their miscues in June of ’06. Read the full post. In that post I was incredulous at the re-hash they put out as a new magazine amongst numerous other grossly negligent mistakes they were making in trying to appeal to an audience that I occupy. Ultimately the issue that prompted my ire was the last issue published.
I’m not surprised they’re folding up their tent. Very rarely have I seen somebody so completely disconnected and out of touch from their intended audience. And, let’s get one thing straight—they didn’t target millenials. They targeted Generation X and they targeted a hipster Gen X that had long ago ceded the bar scene to more mature lifestyle choices. But, the content and style of the magazine never kept up with Generation X, nor came even close to Generation Y.
I’m not about to dance on anybody’s grave, but I will say that Wine X magazine is and was a good idea that suffered from terrible planning and terrible execution. I have frequently ranted about a lack of a magazine for my generation, not too mention folks 10 years my junior. That opportunity still exists for somebody that wants to approach it intelligently. If you don’t believe me, check out a bookstore—any Border’s or Barnes & Noble will do and look at the music magazine section. In this day and age of plummeting cd sales, Web 2.0, ipods, and digital downloads, etc music information publishing is increasing. Yes, increasing. There are scores of music magazines that did not exist a couple of years ago. Rolling Stone has a lot of company. Oddly enough these music magazines target the same supposed audience that Wine X did, and younger consumers. If you want to check out a magazine that addresses a youthful culturally literate and wine consuming audience check out this link for Imbibe magazine. If you want to check out a music magazine that addresses an adult alternative-style music fan check out Paste Magazine. Whoever wants to create a wine magazine to address Generation X and Y would do well to start with these two examples.
Mr. Roberts rails against the wine industry and their lack of support. Ultimately, this is the defense mechanism of a man who has lost his magazine, his baby. I feel bad for him because an idea without execution isn’t much to hang your hat on. And, unfortunately, Mr. Roberts is still looking for a place to hang his hat. Instead of raising the hackles of others for his poor form, I think he deserves our sympathy in failure.