There Is No Free Wine

Dear Ontario WineAligners,

“For the cost of one bottle of good wine we will help you discover hundreds of great bottles, and avoid poor wines that are well marketed.”

VINTAGES Top RecommendationsWe’re moving forward with some exciting changes to better deliver great wines to your inbox and smartphone. As of the September 17th VINTAGES release, we are broadening the benefits for paid members and lowering the subscription cost. Our top VINTAGES’ recommendations will only be available to our paid subscribers. Non-subscribers will not be able to access our top picks until 30 days after publication.

Additionally, we are reducing our annual subscription rate to $35, and introducing the option to pay $9.95 for a three-month period, so that you can trial it for less.

And we are expanding other paid subscriber benefits as well:

• Immediate access to the latest scores and reviews
• Immediate access to our Top Picks in our VINTAGES Buyers’ Guides
• Immediate access to our VINTAGES “If you could only buy one wine” guide
• Access to our VINTAGES New Release section containing ALL wines in the release
• Access to Lawrason’s Take, John’s First-In-Line, Szabo’s Smart Buys, etc.
• Early-bird access to our wine events before tickets go on general sale and sell out

Our vision remains the same: to create high-quality, original wine content, and provide hundreds of objective reviews each month by peer-respected, full-time, independent critics with a truly experienced and global perspective. As we hope you can appreciate, this vision costs money.

We remain dedicated to quality. The reality of publishing in this modern digital age means we are facing the real pressures of softening advertising revenue. We could reduce our editorial costs by doing less and using fewer writers, but that is not what we are about. We always strive to improve your experience, and share the knowledge of our expert team of wine professionals, the best in the country.

Since launching WineAlign in 2008 we have grown to become Canada’s largest wine website.  We now have over 100,000 registered users from Canada and are expecting one million unique Canadian visitors to our website in 2016. We have been successful, and are grateful for your continued support.  We’ve achieved this success by remaining committed to objectivity and journalistic integrity. We employ twelve of Canada’s top palates and writers and have grown to five full-time employees to manage the business and mountains of useful data we create. Our national team reviews thousands of wines annually for the website, and our system ensures that wines are reviewed fairly and accurately; consensus is more robust than individual ratings. Perhaps most importantly, our multi-reviewer approach provides you with different perspectives to help “align” your buying decisions.

When we launched WineAlign back in 2008 we invited the majority of visitors to use the site for free, counting on the bulk of our revenue to be generated from advertising. That model worked, up to a point. But now, eight years on it’s an entirely different digital landscape, and we face the same pressures as publishers, digital and print, all over the world. The advertising models of the past don’t work today; our new economic model reflects these realities.

We’re not content to rest here. Looking forward, we’ve invested into a newly launched mobile website and iPhone app to make using WineAlign on your smartphone very convenient. Users can now quickly and easily have the country’s finest palates at your fingertips while shopping at the LCBO, or choosing a wine from a restaurant list.

These changes mean that we can continue to be an independent, locally owned and operated company dedicated to providing a high-quality, professional and objective service for you, our readers. We sincerely hope you think that’s worth something. At $35/year – the cost of one fine wine – we’ll put you in front of dozens, if not hundreds of great wines. For non-subscribers, WineAlign’s VINTAGES’ picks are still available, after the 30-day period.

If you would like to discuss our new plans in greater detail, please reach out to us.  We appreciate your continued support. Your patronage and allegiance in supporting our efforts to help you discover and drink more great wine is valued. We remain aligned, in wine, with you.

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