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Wine deserves a better press

Published:  18 January, 2007

We have fine literary magazines in this country and decent music journals.

We have some excellent general interest and political publications, too. Indeed, the list of challenging specialist magazines, from Nature to Philosophy Now, is extraordinary.

Why, then, have we never managed to publish a truly thrilling, extraordinarily different consumer magazine about wine? A magazine brimming with wit and insight, with both objectivity and gorgeously argued opinions?

I do not know the answer and shall not attempt one. But I will reveal my own idea, which is, I hope, something truly original and different. It will be called Urine Tomorrow. The backer is unsure about the title, but drinkers between the ages of 25 and 55, of both sexes, in focus groups in Bristol, Sevenoaks, Reading, Leeds, Tonbridge, Liverpool, Glasgow, Wick, Jo'burg, Cape Town, New York, Dallas, Adelaide, and Auckland think it just dandy.

True, some said they might find it difficult to ask for by name. But most people take their mags of choice off the shelves without saying a word.

Urine Tomorrow will, in any case, encourage a strong subscription base. It will have nothing in common with other drinks magazines; but I can reveal no more, except to say it will be a cross between Private Eye and the Spectator (with a touch of Hello!). Advertising agency media departments which have been approached seem to think Urine Tomorrow will put all other wine mags immediately out of business, but personally I regard this as hyperbole. I give Wine Spectator, Decanter and World of Fine Wine a few issues yet.

What will Urine Tomorrow be like? It will be refreshing. Drinkable wine, no matter what age or colour, whatever its cost, is always refreshing. Yet what consumer wine magazine is or ever has been? The post of editor, London-based, is being interviewed for over the coming month. The first list of candidates was 27 long, quickly whittled down to five, and I am hopeful we will find a good few contributors amongst the unsuccessful applicants. Salary is 75k with profit sharing and the use of the chief backer's Rome, Mumbai, and Lyon apartments.

I look forward to counting you amongst Urine Tomorrow's subscribers.

Malcolm Gluck, former wine columnist of The Guardian and best-selling author of the Superplonk titles, is a freelance writer.