Photo: Final issue of Wine Access
For those interested in wine, Friday’s Wine Access announcement was shocking.
RedPoint Media Group of
announced that Wine Access magazine
was being shut down immediately. The announcement likely also kills the
Canadian Wine Awards and the International Wine Value Awards. Calgary
Wine Access magazine was established in
in the 1990s by Toronto David Lawrason. Somewhere in its early history, it
was taken over by Warwick Publishing of Toronto.
From firsthand experience, I know that
Warwick was one of ’s most inept publishers
because they published my 2001 book, Icewine:
The Complete Story. The agent who steered me to Canada said I would benefit from the synergy
of being published by a firm who owned a national wine magazine. Warwick
As if. Wine Access never published a single house ad for my book. Now did
Warwick do much
else to sell the book, finally sending part of the print run to a
distributor where the books actually disappeared. U.S.
In 2004 RedPoint bought Wine Access and brought considerably more resources and editorial expertise to the magazine, as well as adding complementary publications and services. That included the Canadian Wine Awards, one of the most credible and ably judged of Canadian wine competitions. If no one picks it up, it will be a major loss to the Canadian wine scene.
In 2006, Wine Access also began publishing The Canadian Wine Annual.
Lawrason, then the editor, wrote that “we were inspired … by a similar
publication in .”
There were about 250 wineries in the 2006 CWA. Last year’s issue included about
550 wineries. New Zealand
As dynamic as the Canadian wine industry had been, it appears the CWA, which was available on news
and in wineries, was not being purchased as briskly as one would have expected.
And when a version for the Ipad was also published last year, Wine Access sold
only 34 copies.
The 2013 CWA was going to appear as Canadian Wine Traveller. Wine Access thought that by adding travel articles but reducing text on wines, the product would sell better. We will never know (I doubt it) because this has also been scrubbed.
Why did Wine Access fail? RedPoint is no
. It has other
successful publications, including Westjet’s inflight magazine. What Wine
Access needed, apart from perhaps a sharper editorial focus, was far better
distribution, such as a partnership with a national newspaper. Warwick
We are left with two national wine magazines. Vines Magazine is part of Sun Media. Tidings was launched about 25 years ago by the Opimian Society, which now has 20,000 members, a healthy readership base. A subscription comes with membership.
There also are regional magazines covering wine and food, such as Savour in
Kelowna, Eat Magazine
in Victoria, Northwest Palate in Portland and Wine Press Northwest in . Washington State
The challenge that Wine Access was always going to have was to appeal with a national magazine to wine and foodies who eat and drink regionally. I have found that with my books. The two dealing with all the Canadian wineries have flopped while those dealing with just
succeeded. Readers in one region could care less about the wines from other
regions that they cannot get anyway. British Columbia
Wine Access’s coverage of the food and wine scene probably was too broad. The final edition now on the news
stand had a cover article on chef Daniel Boulud. There are also
articles on New York California vintner Mario Andretti,
Canadian wine sales to China
and Japan, a profile of an Arizona winemaker, and a big advertising feature for the
wines of ,
the theme at this month’s Vancouver International Wine Festival. California
The focus may have been a bit fuzzy. I have not seen an Andretti wine in this market in a decade (and I follow Formula One racing) and I have never seen an
wine. Why would I want to read about them? Well, I might from professional
interest but why would you? Arizona
I would love to see the books, however. The magazine has always had a lot of advertising. Unless production and distribution costs were excessive, I have trouble under
why there was not the revenue to sustain the magazine.
This news release from the All Canadian Wine Championships has some relevance to the above blog post.
From: Bev Carnahan
All Canadian Wine Championships
February 12, 2013
Yesterday Red Point Media announced their decision to drop Wine Access magazine and its wine competition, the Canadian Wine Awards , from their portfolio. While this is a definite setback for Wine Access and the Canadian Wine Awards and indeed a great disappointment for all Canadian winemakers and wine consumers alike, we are confident this acclaimed publication will find a new publishing partner soon.
Since there has always been confusion between their competition and the All Canadian Wine Championships, we want assure all Canadian wineries that the two are indeed separate entities and that the All Canadian Wine Championships is definitely still in operation. Indeed it remains
oldest and largest competition for Canadian wines and we are are currently
ramping up for our 33rd annual judging in May, 2013. Canada
To all Canadian wineries who have participated in the All Canadian Wine Championships in the past and especially to the growing ranks of fledgling operations eager to compete against
’s best wines, we extend our
invitation to enter the 2013 All Canadian Wine Championships. Entries have been
mailed recently and inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting
the website at www.canadianwinetrail.com Canada
All Canadian Wine Championships, Director