This summer, I announced that I had left my position as a contributing editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine and noted that I would have more to say about what comes next in the future. That day has arrived.
Going forward, I will be dedicating almost all of my efforts to this space, writing about and reviewing wines from the Pacific Northwest. This will include a number of changes that I have detailed here.
I have rebranded this site as Sean P. Sullivan’s Northwest Wine Report.
Going forward, the name of this site is Sean P. Sullivan’s Northwest Wine Report, or more simply Northwest Wine Report.
Why the change? It is intended to reflect that I will be covering wineries and wines from the entire Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.
The name Washington Wine Report has served me very well for the last 18 years, and I do not make this change lightly. However, I do not want to give the false impression that my focus is solely on Washington. In fact, I’d been preparing to make this change 10 years ago before I joined Wine Enthusiast, as I began to cover Oregon in this space. The time is right to make this shift.
The following will be my goals with the site.
My intent with this space will be:
- To provide in-depth reporting about wines, wineries, vineyards, and individuals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia
- To help people select Northwest wines at a variety of price levels by providing objective, timely, blind tasted wine reviews
- To help people plan trips to wine country by providing information about Pacific Northwest wines, wineries, and wine regions
- To connect people to the larger wine community
I will now be reviewing wines again in this space.
Once I began covering all of Washington for Wine Enthusiast, I paused reviewing wines here. From this day forward, I will once again review wines on this site.
Wines will be reviewed using the 100 point scale. You can see how I define ratings in the 100 point system here. Note that this may differ from how other publications define their scales.
I will continue to taste wines blind in a controlled environment.
As I did at Wine Enthusiast, I will continue to taste wines blind in a controlled environment. I will continue to taste in small, varietal sets as I have previously done.
You can read detailed information about how I taste wines for review here. I have also provided in-depth detail on how to interpret my scores here. You can also read musings about “who cares about wine ratings?” Wineries can read about how to submit wines here.
One of my focuses will be on objective, timely wine reviews.
Tasting wines blind gives objectivity to reviews. My goal here will also be to make the reviews timely.
For the past 10 years reviewing for Wine Enthusiast, I have typically tasted wines within two weeks of them being submitted. However, working for a print publication, there was then a several month delay before those scores were published.
Working independently, I will be able to publish reviews much more quickly. I believe that this will provide a better service to consumers and to wineries. It is also better aligned with the advantages that the digital space provides.
The content of this site will change.
During the past nine and a half years, I have focused most of my efforts on writing and reviewing for Wine Enthusiast. What I have written there has significantly impacted what I have written here in a number of ways.
Writing for a national publication, one by necessity needs to look at everything through the lens of how interesting a particular story will be to a national audience. Moreover, if I did not feel – or my editors did not feel – that a particular story would resonate with a national audience, I seldom had time to write that story elsewhere. As a result, what I have written in this space has been a very small subset of what I would have liked to write.
Prior to writing for Enthusiast, I took the position that if something interested me, I would write about it, and hopefully my readers would find it interesting as well. I will be taking that same approach again. This provides for the opportunity for much more varied subject matter.
Going forward, my intent is to focus on a wide range of subjects. These will include but are not limited to:
Producer/vineyard profiles – This will be in-depth looks at producers and vineyards as well as updates on the latest goings on at the two. This is not something that I really had the opportunity to do at Wine Enthusiast. Long-time readers will recall that this is something that I used to do regularly in this space.
Industry news – These will be at times breaking stories and at other times updates on things going on in the wine industry.
Feature-style stories – This will equate to the full-length articles that I wrote for Wine Enthusiast or what I used to call ‘Focus Reports’ at Washington Wine Report prior to my time at Enthusiast. These will be in-depth stories about a broader topic.
Wine reviews – As noted above, I will be reviewing wines in this space. I will also be providing, in some cases, producer updates with these reviews.
The frequency of posting will change.
For the last nine and a half years, I have written content for this site when I did not have paid work at Wine Enthusiast or when there was something I needed to communicate that did not fit there. That necessarily led to a significant decrease in the frequency of articles, where they became “regularly irregular.”
Now that this site will be my main focus going forward, the frequency of articles will increase. New content will become regular again.
I have made changes to various pages.
In addition to the changes mentioned above, I have made significant changes to various other pages, including the About page and an entirely new Statement of Ethics page. Please review them. I will also be re-publishing some of these pages as articles in the coming days to increase visibility.
The site will soon be moving to a new platform.
At present, the site has the same look and feel as it has the last several years, just with a new name. This look and feel will change when I migrate to a new platform in the coming months.
The site will ultimately contain sections that are subscription based.
Now that I am working independently, my intent is to make part of this site freely available and other parts subscription based. Most if not all of the writing will be freely available. Most wine reviews will ultimately be subscription based. I do this so that I can devote as much of my efforts to this site as possible and deliver to everyone the best content I can. I do not intend to accept any form of advertising at the site.
Allowing for subscriptions will require a platform change as well as other changes to this site. I expect these changes will likely take several months to complete.
My intent in the interim is to give people a sense of the writing, reviews, and other content. This will hopefully give people sufficient time to decide if they ultimately want to subscribe to the site or not.
Content is never truly free.
Please understand that we live in a society where a lot of content is freely available. However, that is not to say that it is in fact free. Often sites providing such content are making their money elsewhere, such as from advertising or from capturing email addresses. Moreover, the people writing the content are typically very poorly paid.
As someone who writes for a living and has for more than 12 years, I believe that quality writing and content are worth paying for. My hope is that you will agree with me. That said, I still intend to make a significant portion of this site freely available.
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I want finish by saying that I am extremely excited about all of these changes. I sincerely believe that they will allow me to better serve my readership as well as the Pacific Northwest wine industry.
If you have any questions or concerns, please comment here or contact me.