Why Wine X Died

by Tim Elliott on February 20, 2007

Editors Note: This is a cross-post of my weekly column over at Good Grape. I will be posting another two articles later this week as I fell 3 weeks behind.

Wine X logoThere’s an interesting piece in Decanter about the demise of Wine X magazine. For readers unfamiliar with this wine publication, it’s been around for about 8 years and targets young adults with hipster lingo and quite a dollop of irreverence (sample wine review: “Tastier than a food fight at the Playboy Mansion… and the best part is lickin ‘ it clean.”). Jeff posted about their recent “Just Points” campaign a few weeks back. Founder and editor Darryl Roberts blamed the entire wine industry for the shuttering of his magazine, stating, “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.”

I don’t think the wine industry is as completely to blame as Mr. Roberts accuses here. Sure, this is a very traditional industry slow to catch onto online marketing or the targeting of demographic groups other than Baby Boomers but Wine X itself deserves much of the blame. That’s because they didn’t evolve with their target demographic who don’t read print publications. Yes, I know they have a hip website complete with RSS feeds, podcasts and email newsletters but these always seemed secondary to the print magazine.

It’s interesting to note that when Wine X started, back in 1997, their demographic was Gen-Xers as the oldest Millennials were only in their early teens. Over the past 8 years, Wine X continued to cater to entry level wine drinkers in their early to late 20’s who now are predominantly Millennials. This group has taken to wine, but not exactly like their Baby Boomer parents, and tend to gain their information via the internet. So if Wine X had evolved to serve this group, they would have beefed up their web presence while phasing out the expensive print magazine. Even their “podcasts” were played on the radio; not the way to get into the heads of the iPod generation. And since Millennials are multitaskers, reading blogs while listening to podcasts while watching Family Guy, they just don’t read many magazines. It’s really that simple.

I’m sorry Mr. Roberts, you have to shoulder most of the blame for Wine X’s demise. Let’s hope you have enough funding to reboot your website and really market wine to Millennials.

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