It seems that a lot of feathers have been ruffled since Wine X, the magazine claiming to bring wine to those of us under 30something, folded recently in their characteristically whiny manner. Probably more feathers were ruffled with their sputtering out than in all their years of business (although the magazine is still online). Maybe it's Wine X's founder and editor Darryl Roberts' cutting comment:
"The wine industry says it's interested in young adults but spends all of its ad and promo money targeting the same people it's been targeting for the past 30 years - rich, old white people."
Which, actually, happens to be quite true.
But scroll past the actual article and Roberts' other snide comments and you discover that the industry's lack of support for Wine X was less about their own stuck-in-the-muddiness and more about the magazine's attitude towards and treatment of the industry they were covering. The whole thing is kind of like two schoolyard bullies scrapping with each other while the rest of us roll our eyes.
And at the risk of talking smack about a publication within such a small circle, it seems to me that the naysayers have a point. Wine X was one of those magazines I scratched off my "possibly contribute to" list when I read their submission guidelines. It wasn't their disgust for articles using words like oenophile, sommelier, award-winning, and so on (and on). Or their insistence on "hip, young, stylish writing." What really got my panties in a wad was the caveat:
"Please don't email or call to ask the status, as we receive more than 30 articles a week."Um, that's because you're a flippin' magazine! Your job is to wade through query after query and article after article. It's what keeps you alive—well, kept you alive. Wine X didn't suffer from the wine industry's lack of support, as they claim. Wine X suffered from the failure to recognize that a successful magazine can't operate in a vacuum, and sure as hell can't piss all over its writers and the very people it covers. Irreverence and sarcasm are truly remarkable tools when mastered but when flapped about like a loose prick they, too, are merely flaccid and ineffectual.
The shame of it is that there really is a need for a wine press (no pun intended) that targets the under-30 crowd. The Wine Spectators and Wilford Wongs have a place and a purpose, and they offer a wealth of information that anyone with a brain in their head—of any age—can make good use of. But there is a population (small, perhaps) who enjoys both Ice T and eiswein, or for want of a better combo, Shiraz and Shakira (actually, I hate Shakira). Sorry for that. But you see my point—you don't need to dumb down the content just because you're targeting 25-year olds. And you certainly don't need to pee on the hand that feeds you. My cat did that this morning, and it got ugly.