Arriving on newsstands today, the special 40th Anniversary issue of Wine Spectator is priced at $6.99. It includes a look back at the publication’s origins as well as a letter from publisher Marvin R. Shanken.
The magazine began as a free bi-weekly tabloid newspaper based in San Diego. From Shanken’s letter:
Bob Morrissey, a former Marine and public relations professional, founded the publication, and I got to know him well. He had a good idea and great enthusiasm but he had a hard time making the business work. In 1979, he told me that if I didn’t buy the publication, he was going to have to close it.
At the time, I had neither long experience nor deep pockets. I had started my own publishing business in 1972 and wasn’t looking to expand. But I loved Wine Specator, and I didn’t want it to die. So I bought it.
Morrissey passed away in 2005. On the digital side, there are all kinds of goodies marking the 40th anniversary. Shanken, in one of the videos, remembers the magazine’s Wine Experience conference in New York that followed the events of 9/11; there is a great gallery honoring more than 40 “Leaders of Wine;” and Shanken chats further with executive editor Thomas Matthews:
“We have built trust with our reader. The two pillars are integrity and expertise.”
“Expertise depends on experience. Wine Spectator’s 10 senior editors have collectively worked with the publication for more than 230 years; several joined the staff in the 1980s. In all, Wine Spectator counts more than 40 people on its editorial team. Our writers and critics have traveled to wine regions around the globe, visited thousands of wineries and tasted hundreds of thousands of wines.”
“Integrity is built on two principles. First, editors uphold the highest standards of journalism—a commitment to truth and accuracy, and an avoidance of conflicts of interest. Second, all wine reviews are the result of blind tastings, the only methodology that can avoid bias and guarantee every wine a fair and equal opportunity to show its best.”
The publication, which puts out 15 issues per year, is headquartered here in New York as part of M. Shanken Communications, with an office in the Napa Valley as well. Happy anniversary!
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Evolution of Sting and Trudie Styler’s Il Palagio
Photo of inaugural April 15, 1976 issue courtesy: Wine Spectator