As promised when I rebranded this site to Northwest Wine Report last fall, effective today, Northwest Wine Report will be partially subscription-based. Specifically, two parts of the site are now paywalled.

Access to all wine reviews will now require a subscription.

Readers will be required to subscribe to the site to read wine reviews. These can be found, as before, under the Reviews->Wine Reviews menu.

Access to a searchable review database of reviews will require a subscription.

Subscribers will also have access to a searchable database of reviews via Reviews->Wine Search. This is a new part of the site not previously available.

Briefly, wine searches can be done either as a Basic Search, such as searching by a wine name and vintage, or by using the Advanced Filter. The Advanced Filter allows users to slice and dice the database based on a variety of different factors including: Wine Type, Variety, State/Province, Special Designation, Vintage, Rating, Review Date, Home Region (more on that in a separate post), Price, and Case Production.

You can read a full description of how to use the search functionality under Reviews->Using Wine Search. I will post this same information in an article. My hope is to keep as much of the rest of the content as I can freely available.

Why wine reviews?

One of my goals with this site is to make what I write as widely accessible as possible while still making a living. The Pacific Northwest is still very much a region on the rise. As such, I want more people reading about the places, the people, and the news of the Northwest wine industry rather than less.

Putting a paywall on larger portions of the site – or the entire site – would mean a lot fewer people reading those stories. While that might be better for me financially, I don’t believe that would be in the best interests of the Northwest wine industry.

So I have selected two easily definable parts of the site to paywall: reviews and a searchable database. This will allow people to continue to read all other content freely while hopefully allowing the site to generate enough revenue so that I can continue creating content.

There are three subscription types.

Northwest Wine Report has three subscription types: Consumer, Commercial, and Enterprise. All three provide access to newly-published, blind-tasted wine reviews, and a web-searchable database of previously published reviews. This content is not available to non-subscribers. Each subscription type is available on a monthly or an annual basis and renews automatically.

Consumer subscriptions are intended for individuals who will not be re-publishing review content and other paywalled material from elsewhere in any form. Consumer subscriptions include a single account for use by one individual. This subscription is for personal use only, and content may not be shared publicly on email, social media, websites, physical collateral, or through other forms of communication.

Commercial subscriptions are intended for members of the wine industry, including wineries, distributors, retailers, and other trade members who intend to republish limited content via email, social media, websites, physical collateral, or other forms of communication. Commercial subscriptions include accounts for use by up to three individuals at the same organization.

Enterprise subscriptions are for members of the wine industry that require a larger number of accounts than are allowed with a Commercial subscription. Enterprise subscriptions include accounts for use by up to six individuals at the same organization.

Please see the Subscription page and read the Subscription FAQ for additional information about each of these subscription types.

Wineries submitting wines do not need to subscribe to receive or use ratings and reviews.

Unlike some sites, wineries submitting wines for review are under no obligation whatsoever to subscribe to Northwest Wine Report to receive or use the ratings and reviews.

Going forward, wineries that have submitted wines will be notified via email when reviews of their wines have been published. If you are a winery, to receive a digital copy of the reviews of your wines, regardless of whether you are a subscriber or not, either respond to the notification email or contact [email protected]. Alternately, you can see the reviews in the published article referenced in the email if you are a subscriber.

Please consider subscribing.

Perhaps you come to this site to read the wine reviews. Perhaps you don’t. Regardless, I ask that you please consider subscribing to this site. I also ask that you consider the totality of my work as part of the overall value of subscribing.

I love writing about and reviewing Northwest wine. There is truly nothing in the world that I would rather be doing than writing about this area at this special moment in time. It is my intention to continue to focus almost all of my efforts on this site, as I have for the last nine months.

I can only continue to do that if it is financially viable. I need your support, and, specifically, I need you to subscribe to continue to writing and reviewing. To subscribe, go here:

Free is never really free.

I know that charging a subscription for some parts of the site is a change, particularly as we live in an age of an abundance of “free” content. However, as someone who spent over a decade working as a freelance writer, I can tell you that content is never free, as I have written before.

Perhaps content at a site is free as someone wants to capture your email address. Perhaps it is free because the site’s model depends on advertising to you.

Whatever the case, I guarantee you that, in most cases, there is a poorly paid person – most likely a freelancer – at the other end writing the articles. It’s a system that’s worked well for many years – for everyone but the people writing the content.

High level content requires effort and expertise. It should be valued and properly compensated, not just at this site but elsewhere. Consumers should pay for it. Companies should too.

I hope that you agree. I will now step off my soap box.

* * *

Back in 2012, I drew up wireframes for a redesigned website, one that would include a variety of search functionalities and that would be subscription-based. I also intended, as I told numerous people at that time, to rebrand to Northwest Wine Report to cover the Pacific Northwest in full. That idea was put on hold when I was hired by Wine Enthusiast in late 2012.

Launching Northwest Wine Report as a partially subscription-based site is more than a decade in the making. I am excited to finally get there.

I want to say thank you for reading and for supporting this site, particularly those of you who were readers back when I first started Washington Wine Report as an email distribution list in 2004, or when I moved the site on-line in 2007. I hope you will continue to support me in this site’s new phase.

Please consider sharing this information with any friends or colleagues who might be interested. Also please consider sharing my social media posts about this change. In my business, amplification makes a very large difference in success.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. Read a press release about these changes here.

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