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Nov 19, 2017

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Wine Bitch Letters

Address letters to:


Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the 'zine. I may be older than your target demographic, but I' have been reading you ever since you were in print. I own a small wine shop in NJ and I love your approach to wine. It is just grape juice after all, and it should be fun and inviting. I do not post scores in my store, because I do not know what they represent any more. Which brings me to Just Wine Points, that is fantastic. People who are obsessed with scores make me cringe, they are more into the image and not the wine. I will continue to sing your praises to my custumers. Keep up the good work.

Gregg Burke
Maratene's Fine Wine


I really like the edgy voice that you all have, and how you work at making wine more accessible to the young, and sometimes tragically hip, generation. I work as a sales rep for a wine distributor here in Richmond, and as one of the youngest wine professionals in the area, it is nice to be able to connect with people who seem to share the same views that I do about wine - that it should be cool and approachable, not stodgy and intimidating.

Erin Martin

NOTE: The following three letters refer to the physical magazine. Wine X is still thriving in digital form online.


I am sorry that Wine X doesn't exist anymore, what you wrote about wine was very interesting, and the move you made in the direction of young people, and towards a funnier way of writing about wine, has always been a relief for me. I have been sorry too, not to have found your magazine in my hometown Paris.

For sure, you did face a very conservative world, which makes me angry too. But I think that you shouldn't let yourself slip into bitterness. Wine is not just a product, it's a culture too, and you tried to invent your own culture of wine (I said "your culture", but I could say "our" because I include myself into the X-Generation - I'm 34). And wine is coupled with litterature since the begining of times. If it can make you some good, I would say that what you wrote about wine interested me, at least.

Anyway, all that is written above is a mere reaction to the introduction of your new site. More deeply, I would say that your idea of writing only the note you gave to the wine is maybe a good help for very busy people. And the link to the internet sites of the producers is a very good idea too. But I think that some people would be intersted to find a few comments just by clicking (on the note for example?)

One more idea: a little sign indicating the value-for-money rate, when it is excellent, should be of help for the not-too-rich readers...

I hope too that we can read the Wine-X style again in the future!

Egmont Labadie
Cuisine et Terroirs, Guides Fleurus, (gastronomie)

Really miss the X ratings as they made you guys unique.


Hi Darryl and Wine X people,

I was very saddened by the news that you are closing shop. First and foremost, Wine X was a tremendous project and we are grateful for many of the battles you have fought in the wine industry. Some of the barriers you helped to break down have paved the way for young entrepreneurs like me and we are very grateful.

I'm writing, in part, because I feel that we have similar audiences and goals. While the medium is different, the consumer is not. Our business, is a wine club targeted at the younger crowd - so they can try wine and learn about it as they go. Minus the crap.


To be honest, I don't have a formulated concrete offer of how we could work together. My impetus to reach out stems from a fear that much of what you have learned and accomplished will be lost in the closing of Wine X and that is a great waste of knowledge and cultivation of an important ideology. You all have spent many years creating a great thing for young, unpretentious, wine drinkers and if there is a logical way to apply this to the business we are trying to grow, it is something we would like to do in honor of your efforts, the consumers, and different perspective.

We support the great things you have accomplished and owe you a debt of gratitude.

Warmest wishes,


Dear Staff,

All of these cuddly, (mostly) annoying, and occasionally amusing labels are part of a necessary process. They show that wineries around the world are finally realizing that the historical communication devices that have served them so well, largely do not work anymore.

No consumer gives a toss about some micro appellation and the nuances it theoretically provides (even the amazing Tracy Hills granted by the TTB last week wink. Brix at picking and fermentaton temps makes peoples eyes roll into the back of their heads. The word terroir in most contexts should be replaced with the word "me" or "my ego", to get the full meaning of what is going on.

These new efforts are simplistic and 'obvious', but they are the beginning of a trend that will ultimately make wine and wine branding far more interesting.

Ultimately the brands that get it will have a community of like minded people that buy into what their brand stands for. With just a couple of notable exceptions, this doesn't now exist in the still wine business.

We'll see how things progress over the next few years.

- Jason Korman

Darryl and Angelina et al,

It is lame that I apparently can’t submit feedback without subscribing to your magazine. Here are my comments about your article:

While I agree that the fuzzy animals are out of control, consider the following:

- Animals are appearing in droves because they are - as a matter of fact - selling wine. Like it or not, its working. And this is why we are seeing a trend. Some winemakers have seen as much as an 80% increase in sales just by adding an animal to the label. It's just marketing. Unfortunately, wine is a product like any other that must be bought and sold... and therefore wise winemakers will employ marketing strategies that work.

- It is estimated that women comprise approximately 80% of the wine buying population. So it seems natural that the product would be geared more towards female consumers. (Isn't it safe to say that beer is fairly masculine, and that virtually ALL beer commercials are specifically targeted towards men?)

In short, these people are just doing their jobs. And from an economic standpoint, they are doing them well! They are bringing in more and more wine drinkers, helping to boost the wine industry as a whole. For the first time last year, wine passed up beer as the nation's alcoholic beverage of choice. That is something worth celebrating.

Finally, before you knock my friends at Olympic Cellars, please know that their "gimmick" is an important one. They are women on the wine making side of the industry (a minority to be certain) who are creating wine "for women." In doing this, they aren't making wine for women (only) to drink. But a percentage of their profits go to support medically underserved women - which is very cool. In fact, more men buy their wines in my shop than women do! They are attracted by the artful labels, but sold on the excellent price points and rave reviews.


Seattle Wine Shop Owner
28 Years Old (FYI)

Editor's Note: First, there's a "comment box" at the end of the online article. Or, you can simply do what you just did to respond to the article. As far as animal labels selling more wine, yes, they do. But the intended audience (young adults) are not buying them. That's the point of our article. It's the same baby boomer core wine group that buys the vast majority of these wines. And regarding wine taking over "beverage of choice" from beer, this year beer once again took the lead. The article, if you read it carefully, isn't about selling more wine; it's about an industry using gimmicks in hopes of attracting new consumers. And, as the article stated, there is no proof that any new consumers are buying these wines. Just as Two Buck Chuck attracted absolutely no new consumers to wine (according to a survey), these gimmicks are just cannibalizing existing wine consumers. Surveys that we've conducted with our readers indicated that they're not buying these garanimal wines; they're buying "real" brands.

Finally, as a woman, aren't you a bit offended that people in the wine industry, women or men, think that they have to come up with a "special" wine in order for you to buy it? aren't you a bit offended that, as a woman, the wine industry obviously thinks of you as an alternative market? as you stated, women already buy 80% of wine retailed, yet the wine industry still treats you (us) as alternatives that need a gimmick. i am.

- Jenna Corwin
Associate Editor
24 Years Old (FYI)

Hello silly wine boys. Your xxx ratings were so overblown, you criticized the "old head" ratings, now you bring the numbers out. Estancia pinot grigio - 94 outstanding wine. Really, what do you use for a palate? Bernardus SB - 99 terrific. Hahaahahah. Mowed or sodded (sic) grass? Even the Mondavi reserve chard is not a 97. Have you been drinking rippple (sic) till now? Do you know WTF you are talking about? Do you know anything about wine??????? From your previous XXX ratings, from your new "number" system, I think not. It's time for you to review energy and fruit drinks. For that you may have a palate. Go back to pizza parlors and beer 'boys', maybe someday you'll grow into wine. The most important aspect about wine, young pups, is its sensuality, how it marries with food. You've never that (sic) dealt with either. Learn before you spread useless information. Let people with talents do the reviewing, go back to basics. Maybe someday you'll.........


Editor's Note: We preface the letter below with one of our favorite quotes: "The greatest ideas are often met with violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein

Wine X:

It just came to me why I really don't like you. There are of course my orginal reasons for hating you...

You have made wine consumption as much a judgmental and elitist endeavor as anyone ever could have. Any echo boomer who does not see right through your, on the nose X’rating system should be hit in the head with tack hammer. Telling your readers that a wine is Da Bomb, Fo’ Shizzle or Gets It Done is in not an effective way to de-snob wine. As long as you tell your readers what is good and what is bad you will only exclude those who have come to you for information. Let people make up their own minds. You are no better then Wine Spectator or the Advocate, in many ways you are worse. Stop trying to be ‘cool’. Wine X is to the young wine consumer as the old white guy in Wayne’s world who raps is to kids who like to go to video arcades, in other words you have no idea who your audience is. Please go away.

Nicely done! You have created a new Wine Spectator like magazine with a different vocabulary. You are just as exclusionist and snobby. Thank you for making it even harder for us who care to actually try to reach the echo boomer generation get our job done. Go to hell and take your worthless magazine with you.

My new reason for hating you has come from reading your requirements for submitting reviews, pr flack and requirements for submitting samples is incredibly hostile. Why are you being hostile to the people who are trying to help you? Do you really think you are so important people will bend over backwards to meet your demands? I have said it once and I will say it again, go to hell!

-Wine Geek

We so totally f-ing adore your magazine and site! We wanna hook up. Can we exchange links?

We're also considering selling or direct linking to your Jelly Bean Wine Bar. So F-ing cool!


Wine Country Divas

I am a “last of the baby boomer era” person who is a wine lover. I just read your article titled “The Autobiography of Wine X – Or Explaining Rain…to people who don’t know what water is” on Great article, and I agree with you. Young adults do drink wine. My daughter is 25 and has been drinking wine for about three years. Is it because my husband and I drink wine? Not entirely. She tasted good wine from time to time because of us, but it was because of her sorority sisters and other friends that she became a wine consumer. She and her boyfriend try different wines and often recommend new ones they try to us. I am going to direct her to your website and magazine. It is very appealing to her age group and I think she’ll enjoy it. Keep fighting the wine industry!

Rose Olesen

That’s absolutely fantastic but we’re colleagues! My name is Alexei Lushanov and I’m editoring Russian local magazine about wine, food and lifestyle. That’s located in the Ural region, the city of Yekaterinburg. I’m sorry but it’s called Sommelier. We exist for 5 years, got 20 000 readers and we are distributed for free at the restaurants, bars and liquorstores of the region. I’ve found Wine X in the Net absolutely occasionally. And I loved it instantly ‘cause its conception matches perfectly with ours.

I don’t know exactly why I’m writing this message. May be the reason is that Wine X is brilliant and I want to express it. May be I think about possible cooperation (I mean the publication of some articles – especially interwiews with stars – from Wine X on our pages. May be I could interest you with some themes about Russian drinks, Russian tradition or any texts from our magazine.

Alexei Lushanov
Yekaterinburg, Russia.

When I heard about your magazine in my travel writing class I got so excited. Being a 30 year old wine lover from Northern California, who embarassingly started out in my early 20's as a white zin sipper, I thought it was way cool that a wine magazine geared toward us gen-xers was on the store shelves. Thank you and I look forward to reading your mag with my upcoming subscription.

Pete Alexander

Superb!!!!! Thanks for making us not to feel alone in that “traditional wine world”.

Montse Ruiz Masachs

I've heard about this magazine and I am so happy that this has been created! What a break from the snobby and stuffy wine world.

Julie Hall

I just discovered your magazine, and I wanted to congratulate you. It's just what the wine world was lacking of!

Egmont Labadie
Paris, France

Yesterday I handed out Wine X to 100 students at our final meeting of the quarter and to another 20 students in one of my viticulture classes. It appears everyone was pleasantly surprised at how in tune Wine X is with our generation and age group. They love the diversity of relevant articles and topics that go beyond the scope of the wine industry. In fact, tonight I made pasta from one of the recipes in this latest edition. I petitioned everyone to take a look at the magazine, check out the website and get a subscription if they were interested.

I just wanted to extend a thanks to you and all the others at Wine X. We really appreciate your hospitality and we look forward to attending future Wine X events and hosting both you and your sponsors at our meetings.

Brian Simas, President
Cal Poly Vines to Wines

I'm happy that someone is targeting us young'uns. I'm damn tired talking about wine with my Dad's fat old cronies.

Peace out,
Mathew Perry

Well I just had a mosie around your site for the first time. Can't say I understand much of the language. I'm told it's English but perhaps I am just getting old. Nevertheless, I can only commend any attempt to spread the wine word to people of all age groups and wish you well in your endeavours. I'll keep reading. Maybe some of it will make sense to me eventually.

Geoff Goss
Orpheus Wine and Gifts

I just started my subscription, having looked you up a couple years ago. I was wandering through the Wine Bitch section and read the last comment presumably from a disgruntled Australian.

Now I find myself struggling for a backlash comment in your defense, but a) I see no reason to defend what is obviously superior, and b) I really can't tell now what this writer was so hacked off about. Oh well. Angry is as angry does.

I am a happy subscriber. That you can print and understand.

Yours sincerely,
A. Spikes
Denver CO

Hi Darryl,

Renew my sad soul! Wine X speaks sense to a inundated generation.

Thank you for your magazine. Truth in marketing, real words, rockin' ideas, powerful knowledge, and something to say... under the radar success with a fat wake up call to those who have forgotten the burn of truly believing.

[The] Wine [industry] has "told" this generation that it is pretentious, untouchable, and just too damn hard to understand. Wine X proves this wrong and takes the fear away. Wine is sexy and punk.

Marketing mantra: you have to tell the "kids" it's cool, but they can't know you are telling them.

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.
Jules Knight

As a brand new subscriber, who also happens to be a NYC Sommelier, I've adopted you as the greatest magazine in the world. Rock On!

Richard Bill
Ouest Restaurant
New York, NY

I'm 30-years old and just discovered your mag online. I love it! I share your sentiments EXACTLY! I'm moving to Boulder, CO in a couple weeks where I am planning to open a wine bar with a feel and vibe not unlike what you are talking about in your zine. It's to be a wine bar for the people by the people; a chill place for younger people to hang out, talk, listen, and most of all enjoy good tasty wine! I'll keep you posted...perhaps once it's up and running some of you can stop in for a celebratory toast! In the meantime, keep up the good work.

Todd Stoneman

Dear Darryl,

I find what Wine X is doing fascinating, and I think you guys are on the right track working with the trends in a younger generation of consumers. I'm 21-years old, working in the wine industry and at times I admit to feeling a bit out of place within the wine world. Your publication and whole philosophy on the industry is right up my alley. So thanks again for the info and maybe we'll run into each other if you ever decide to take a little trip and do some tasting in Carmel Valley.

Chateau Julien

Dear Wine X,

I'm sorry to hear that the wine industry's not more supportive of your magazine. We're grape growers and receive the usual wine magazines (Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast) but find yours to be refreshingly different. We feel it's really important to target the younger generation if we want this industry to have any longevity. Keep up the good work, and hopefully we will see more of it in the future.

Pam Martinelli

Go impale yourself on a blunt pencil.


Dear X,

WOW! What a great magazine! I'm 25 and this is perfect for my generation. I'm working on a marketing project for class and we ended up with a project for WINE. At first I was like what the HELL! But then I came across this wonderful publication. Jesus Christ Super Star! I'm hooked!

Thanks Wine X Magazine,
Nadina Gallegos

Dear Darryl,

Hello! My name is Susanne Birbrair, and I just found your magazine online yesterday. Your Autobiography of Wine X is an amazing story of perseverance in the face of "Young People Don't Drink Wine" and "Go baaaack... the earth is flat..." LOL. Congratulations being so far-sighted in 1993. I'm sure all the usual wine geeks wanted your head.



First off, I'd like to say THANK YOU for providing an interesting, intelligent and fun magazine that is applicable to my generation of wine lovers. I truly enjoy reading the mag and newsletter emails with my friends. I appreciate that there's finally a venue for tastes similar to our own. I can't believe I don't see your mag on the shelves of every liquor store in my metro area... Boston. It was only at last year's Wine Expo that I discovered you, and I sure am glad I did! I signed up for a subscription right away.

Keep rockin'!
"Pinot Whore" Jessica in Boston


I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. The best three weeks of my life were spent sitting in wine classes. I’d hoard any publication on wine I could get a hold of for free, and Slammed [Magazine] had a piece on Wine X. So, I looked it up.

Thanks for being who you are as a publication. It’s exactly what I want and need.

Britt Hield

Dear Darryl,

If you're pissing people off, you're doing something right. Especially when you're committing content to print. Good for you and keep up the good work.

I've visited your website a few times and have been really impressed. If I had known about Wine X when I was younger I would've sought it out, too. If the older generations think that much of certain culturual pursuits, it's up to them to pass those interests on to younger people. What older people often forget is that these cultural pursuits must be "packaged" so as to be attractive to younger audiences. What you understand, 99.999% of older marketers lose sight of. Many of the wine snobs have alienated their audience. Instead of following the Nickelodeon (hook 'em while they're babies), MTV (mesmerize them as teens), VH1 (fond memories of youth) track, they're clueless.

I'm older than your target demographic (mid 30's) but appreciate wine tips anywhere I can get them because it makes me a smarter shopper when I'm looking for a good bottle of wine and helps me cut through condescension and B.S. I'm like many of your readers - I don't buy wine all the time but when I do I try to be very selective. I'm a sucker for Costco and Trader Joe's for the deals that can sometimes be had. I will not spend $10 for a glass of wine in a restaurant. I may not be the demographic the wine industry targets, but I do buy wine. I'm not a conspicuous consumer or collector. Getting my dollars is much harder for them.

So thanks for the tips! I'll keep visiting and refer any advertisers I ever come across your way, where there might be a fit (you never know).


Dear Darryl,

I feel sorry for the "gentlemen" from Australia (The Left Russ) who felt that it was okay to communicate to you so abusively. If he did indeed share his communication to you with his trade buddies, I'm truly embarrassed for him. This "gentlemen" could use a few lessons in tolerance, manners and anger management. How sad and pathetic his communication was. Why do some people get so offended and threatened by Wine X that they feel they have to swear in print?

I enjoy Wine X’s fresh perspective and challenging industry viewpoints. Please continue to encourage and inspire the next generation of wine drinkers. We need and appreciate them.

Happy Holidays.
Denise McLean
Mode Communications

Hey Wine X,

I'm really impressed with your magazine and its effect on a generation of university-age wine drinkers in the Bay Area (i.e. my friends and I who read, enjoy, laugh and drink with Wine X).

I am a burgeoning wine-minded businessman with aspirations to do more in the fields of marketing, food and the Generation X (or are we GenNext...? whatever). I've studied wine and food in America and Europe, traveled to vineyards and cantine on a student budget, and consumed some of the world's most amazing food and imbibitions at hoity-toity events like the "Bon Appetit Wine and Spirits Focus." My journeys in epicurean excess have taken me far for my mere 22 years, yet I yearn to go further while helping others find the gems of a great 25 dollar bottle of Brunello or a fun, light and very "quaffable" local Bonny Doon wine.

That's perhaps what I love the most about your publication - you've taken the genius in combining a very food- and drink-focused demographic and helped remake the entire wine scene within it. In other words, wine via Wine X Magazine bears no resemblance to the Two Buck Chuck of bad frat parties or to the bland wine choices of our parents' generation. Rather, Wine X has helped to turn on so many consumers my age to a fantastic set of correctly-priced special wines that're worth a closer look. The writing and style of your powerful publication knows what parallel structure is yet doesn't even gasp at the combination of "fuck" and "wine" in a sentence - this I love. You've truly pinpointed the methodology of marketing to a very in-tune generational demographic by bringing seemingly unfamiliar concepts and putting them into our language and style.

Many thanks for your fantastic publication and for its impact on our generation!

Leigh Rowan

Dear Publisher,

I find it funny and mostly sad that some people have chosen to berate your magazine for reviews of "mainstream" wines like Yellowtail.

First off, "anything goes" should be a mantra in the wine industry. Until we realize that the only way to increase total consumption of wine in this country is to get the point across that there is no one best wine or style of wine for every person, we will continue to magnify the perception that the industry is "snobbish" and "into themselves."

Second, it's pretty difficult on your end to avoid a wine or style of wine that has taken the industry by storm as has Yellowtail and many of its copycats. Though it may not be my cup of tea, I can understand how the public has jumped all over it, and I can also see how the wine industry is being forced to react to it!

Keep up the great work!
Larry Schaffer

Editor's Note: We normally don't print letters like the following. When something/someone like this comes across our desk it makes us sick. Not for their opinion or viewpoint, but the use of language. But we thought you should get a glimpse of how much shit we take for producing a wine magazine that people actually want to read. And how scared some of these elitist snobs are that somehow we're out to take their pretentious thrones away.

And we normally print just about anything, whether its profanity or of questionable taste. To do otherwise would be censorship. And we believe that our readers can act as their own censors. But when it comes to the "c-word" we draw the line. So we've replaced it with "c-word."

We apologize if this offends anyone. But it's the raw, scary truth of what's out there.

G'day Wine X Staff,

I'm currently traveling in the U.S. and picked up a recent copy of your U.S. publication and decided to have a look at your site.

As someone who places large amounts of advertising with magazines worldwide, AUD $4.0m per month, I'd have to say you are the dumbest fucking c-words I've ever had the bad luck to look up. Any shit rag that talks to the industry with the amount of disrespect, deserves to run no name "stars" on your cover with 3 ads - one from Alice White of all gutter brands.

Good for you arrogant fucking wankers! Needless to say I'll spend elsewhere.

More: I guess the "industry" doesn't take out Dumb c-word? No shit you're a consumer rag. I guess your huge thick book chock full of advertising gave it away. By talking to the industry the PR/Marketing/owners/advertisiners(sic) and others who you think are fucking morons as exampled(sic) below, It's(sic) quite obvious to me who's the fucking group of dipshits. I see you have an Aussie version too. Never heard of it. You actually got Esai Morales to sit for your cover? How did you do that? I hear Hugh Grant's stand in is free! Good luck you fucking shit for brains.

And Even More: I'm just amazed with your books arrogance. For a rag that is supposed to be changing they way people look at wine, you're the snobbiest bunch of pricks out there. I'm not too worried about my advertisers, none of them have ever asked about Wine X and...we'll, you know where I stand. As a matter of fact maybe I'll pass on this little email exchange to a few friends in thew wine business, I'm sure they'll have a cack! And pass it on to a few hundred trade friends that will never advertise with you either. You'll still be an arrogant prick in the dole line I bet. Dumb c-word.

The Left Russ

Hi there,

I want to thank you for your effort to create something new. First, a new way to enjoy the simple pleasures of life with wine. Second, your effort to bring a new vocabulary to the "taste" of wine. We are talking pleasure, and you are right!


Mo' Bitches...
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