Saturday, September 12, 2009

Palate Press: the New Online Wine Magazine

Last week, Palate Press--an online wine magazine--was launched.

Hit by the double whammy of houseguests and a new academic term, the launch came and went without me commenting on it, but I wanted to take a minute to recommend the new venture to GWU$20 readers.

First, a disclaimer. I became involved in the project in its early stages, and have the role of "wine review editor." We hope to roll out the wine reviews next month, but until then I'm just a reader like you are--and I'm liking what I'm reading.

The reason is simple: there's an editor. W. R. Tish, who was the editor of Wine Enthusiast magazine for ten years.

Let's face it, the great thing about blogs is that there's no editor. The bad thing about blogs is that there's no editor--and everyone (and I do mean everyone) needs an editor. Editors do more than find typos and grammatical errors. They keep an eye out for balance, they make sure that there's a coherence to the stories being presented, they make sure that the content is varied, and they ensure that the writing is focused and sharp.

Editors need writers as much as writers need editors, of course. Publisher David Honig (you might know him from the 2 Days Per Bottle blog) and editor W. R. Tish (of Wine Skewer) have recruited some of the most dynamic wine bloggers to participate in the project. These wine bloggers are contributing their enthusiasm and expertise in articles that cover a wide range of topics of interest to readers like you. In the first issue, Andrew Barrow wrote a terrific piece on the food and wine of Alsace, Meg Houston Maker reviews Randall Grahm's forthcoming book, Been Doon So Long, Robert Dwyer examined common shelf-talker practices to determine whether they deceive consumers, Thea Dwelle explored the quintessential "American" grape Zinfandel, and Sonadora explored the social networking efforts of Twisted Oak Winery--and tastes some wine while she's at it. And, because there's always room for some pot-stirring, Arthur Z. Przebinda took on the nature of wine criticism itself.

I'm already looking forward to this week's stories on tasting groups, wine labeling, Walla Walla wine, brettanomyces, and more. So head over to Palate Press and check it out if you haven't done so already. Who knows where this experiment will lead, but right now it's already delivering excellent QPR.


Robert Dwyer said...

I couldn't agree more with what you say about editing being the difference. When I first heard of the Palate Press I was skeptical that it would be much more than cross posted content that I'm getting already from blogs I subscribe to.

But after submitting a piece and going through the editing process with David, Tish and Megan, I saw how editing raised the piece up a notch. It was a much better piece than what I would have published on my own blog, and the comments it received and discussion that followed was gratifying and enlightening.

I think as Palate Press builds momentum, the challenge will be refining its unique voice and keeping contributors motivated to post content there rather than on their own blogs. I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out.

Frank Nerney said...

The Magazine looks great. I gave you a nice write-up on my own blog.

Best of luck with this endeavor!