ENTHUSIAST'S CORNER

The changing face of Wine Enthusiast



The Changing Face of Wine Enthusiast

We redesigned our magazine so that we can play a greater role in your choice about which wine to buy tonight.


You may have noticed that, as of this issue, Wine Enthusiast Magazine has a new look. It's a bolder, more stylish and contemporary presentation.

Actually, there were external factors which drove this change at this time—and it relates to this issue's cover story, "The Changing Face of Retail." As Paul Franson reports in the fascinating industry snapshot he has assembled, the retail business is expanding rapidly with the dramatic growth in Americans' consumption of wine. And because wine consumers are sophisticated and Web-savvy, they are often multi-channel buyers. Wine catalog (direct mail) and wine Web sites are flourishing but due to archaic interstate commerce laws their growth is slightly encumbered. Meantime, traditional retail outlets are booming, from enormous big-box stores and chains to smaller retailers, especially those who are innovative, education-oriented and aggressive in their marketing.

America is becoming a wine-drinking nation. This flood of new wine drinkers and committed wine enthusiasts who are looking to find better quality wines need direction, and this is what drove the change of Wine Enthusiast's look and logo.

Thousands of wine retailers rely on Wine Enthusiast ratings and reviews on their store shelves to educate consumers about which wines to purchase. But a critic's credibility is connected to, and reliant upon, the public's recognition of the name and prestige of the publication that he or she writes for. The Wine Enthusiast tasting panel is no exception.

Many retailers have written to us to bring to our attention that the old incarnation of our magazine's logo—the large word "Wine" stacked over the smaller "Enthusiast"—presented a problem. When it was reduced to "shelf talker" size, the word "Wine" was quite legible but the principal name that distinguishes us and speaks to our magazine's editorial philosophy—"Enthusiast"—was reduced to such a small size that it was barely perceptible. This diminished the message that the retailer was trying to present to his customer—that Wine Enthusiast Magazine had recommended the wine that he was selling. Therefore we presented a challenge to our team of designers and art directors. What you hold in your hands is the final results of this process. It was the changing face of retail that drove the changing face of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and I am particularly proud of our new look. I hope you enjoy this cutting-edge and innovative new design as well as recognize Wine Enthusiast more easily when you shop in your local wine store.

Also in this issue, Janet Forman offers an alternative way to travel wine country, perhaps the most pleasurable way to do so: on a luxury barge. Many of the world's greatest wine country regions are lined with inland waterways, and there are a number of companies that ply those waters with boats that are like deluxe hotels. See her article for in-depth looks at the most exciting itineraries and the finest companies.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is such a distinctive white wine, with those very strong herbal, grassy flavors and crisp acidity, that many people won't even consider it as a wine to enjoy with dinner. But as Karen Berman reports, there are many food preparations that go perfectly with Sauvignon Blanc.

Finally, Paul Pacult examines the efforts that marketers of the spirits industry are making to reach the powerful 21-to-29-year-old consumers. This unpredictable segment is responsible for creating megahits—Absolut vodka and Baileys Irish Cream are recent examples of spirits launched to modest expectations that went through the roof, sales-wise, due to the attentions of that market segment.

We know you'll enjoy this issue. Our redesign only reinforces our commitment to bringing you the best the wine world has to offer.

Cheers!

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