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Support winemag.co.za

By , 1 December 2020

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According to Google Analytics, we had 54 038 users in November, an increase of 124% year on year. We are proud of this given the generally tough trading conditions for media. In this regard, we were saddened to note the closure of Associated Magazines and the magazine division of Caxton during hard lockdown while News24 have opted for digital subscriptions. We, however, would prefer to keep this site open to all.

For some time now, we’ve been running a reader funding drive to cover some of our costs and continue to provide coverage of an industry we all care deeply about – we suggest an amount of R600 a year or R50 a month per individual but every contribution, no matter how big or small, is valuable for our future.

To show your support, click here.

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  • Colin Harris2 December 2020

    Hi Christian

    I think Dion makes an extremely valid point regarding the quality of the content on winemag.co.za in terms of the value it offers.

    I did a quick look around on some of your reviews and would like to draw a comparison between a couple of your reviews vs that of Greg Sherwood on his website. I use Sherwood because he tends to write about the same wines you do.

    Scores aside – I think you’ve been told often enough that your scores are not always a reflection of what happens in the bottle and that horse has been flogged enough – let us compare the information that I can glean from winemag vs Sherwood.

    First example: Crystallum . In September Greg wrote 428 words about ONE of the Crystallum wines – the Litigo Pinot Noir. He gave background on the wine, talked about winemaking and viticulture, gave the technical analysis and then wrote an exhaustive tasting note of 197 words. You wrote 386 about the ENTIRE Crystallum range, gave no backstory and the longest tasting note – no technical analysis given – is 49 words.

    Second example – the Damascene new releases . Greg wrote about them in March and you in October. I am not going to lay it out like I just did for Crystallum – can’t be bothered at the moment – but I leave the links here for you to make up your own mind of who gives the most relevant, complete information.

    https://winemag.co.za/wine/review/damascene-new-releases-2/

    https://gregsherwoodmw.com/2020/03/18/damascene-wines-new-kid-on-the-block-rocking-the-cape-wine-scene/

    I understand that content costs money to create, and if you are happy being a website with a bunch of random scores on them and very little else, then so be it. But I don’t see VALUE in paying for that and trying to figure out what you mean when you’re talking about “scrub” and “orchard flowers” and some of the other tasting notes you’ve thrown around. To me, the relevance in wine lies in the story of the wine – viticulture and winemaking, the winemaker’s story, the property’s story etc. Not in only a tasting note where half the descriptors aren’t anything I can relate to, maybe a passing note about wholebunch or new oak and a score.

    Therein lies the rub for me – Winemag doesn’t offer me value that I find worthwhile paying for.

  • Christian Eedes2 December 2020

    Hi Dion,

    Richer content costs money. Wine magazine, as a print title and funded by a combination of primarily advertising but also subscriptions, proved unviable a long time ago – last edition was September 2011. Anyone wanting to revisit that model now would have to invest enormously in content on a very speculative basis that it would generate any sort of yield from ad revenue and subs. Basically, brand owners have found new and more efficient ways to reach their target audience and it is not yet entirely clear how new media platforms monetize content.

    What then is the purpose of winemag.co.za? My intention is that it showcase the best of South African wine to the world. Every year, thousands of wines from hundreds of producers come to market and the site therefore exists first and foremost as a resource to help consumers make better purchase decisions. I hope that over time that a consistent aesthetic has become clear which readers can choose to align with or not but ultimately helping everybody negotiate an overtraded market.

    Secondary functions of the site are that it become an indicator of trends within SA wine and a forum of dialogue (both of which I think are being achieved well) but a very diverse array of subjects is simply not practical – there will always be specialist sites that can deliver a more meaningful take on topics beyond SA wine.

    I walked out of formal employment in February 2010 when RamsayMedia, then owners of the printed Wine magazine, showed no real appreciation for the profound shift away from print to digital – the magazine is, of course, no longer and neither is RamsayMedia. I’m immensely proud that this site, originally a subsidiary of the magazine, continues to grow – we do have overheads, however, and we do want to keep it free and that’s why we need your support.

  • Dion Martin1 December 2020

    Dear Christian

    New media old media. Difficult times, opportunities and change the only constant. Over 50000 users is a meaningless metric without quantifying how long each visit was…

    Surely if winemag.co.za wants to thrive in this new eco system and be a revenue driven platform, through either subscription or advertising, then the content needs to have a broader appeal. The pool of purely wine lovers locally and those abroad, willing to walk away with their hard earned dollars are a tiny lot.

    One of my favorite pastimes is reading old winemag copies while enjoying my morning visit to the lavatory. This can take up to 45 minutes of reading a diverse range of subjects. Restaurants, wine, competitions, accommodation, tasting rooms, international wine, technology etc Diverse, detailed and engaging.

    The current incarnation of winemag.co.za is primarily a brief laundry list of tastings. Looking at other similar offerings their tasting notes are, well more than tasting notes . More like a product sheet plus a tasting note, with greater detail and more information. Sometimes it seems like your tasting notes are so brief that the only thing that matters is the score and that it is perhaps better suited to a platform like Twitter.

    In closing, a wider range of topics to appeal to a wider audience and more in depth tasting notes, with increased engagement, and revenues should grow through both subscriptions and advertising.

    Loyal reader.
    Dion

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