As the presenter of the world's first TV series on wine (three series of The Wine Programme in the 1980s for the innovative British television channel, Channel 4 and at least six more), and as someone recognised as a 'media pioneer' by professionals in the business for this website's very existence, I am always keen to champion new ways of introducing people to the pleasures of wine. Last year I therefore accepted an invitation to be involved in another wine-related media innovation.
By the Grape is the first wine magazine built exclusively for the iPad. I'm told that the first edition of it can now be downloaded here at a cost of £2.39/$3.99 (from which I receive nothing – so don't think I am bringing this to your attention for financial gain). This first international issue is devoted to – me, which is a bit frightening as I have had no editorial control over it. No air brushing was involved, alas. Indeed I don't even have an iPad, I'm afraid, so can't even look at it properly myself. But I agreed to participate partly because I had been so impressed by the high-quality work of film-maker Fred van Dijk, who shot the original footage for this exciting new departure in wine publishing.
Unlike so many apps, this is not a pre-existing magazine that has been adapted for the iPad, but an entirely new (ad-free) magazine with iPad-only content.
By the Grape was devised and published by Dutchman Derrick Neleman, founder of www.bythegrape.com. Below is his sales pitch for this new baby, based on film shot last summer when I tasted the surprisingly good Dutch wines he and his team had brought to our base in the Languedoc from Holland.
Lots to see and read
By the Grape is packed with good things, such as a thrilling [! JR] documentary on Jancis Robinson – again this is unique, iPad-only content. It was filmed in her beautiful second home in the Languedoc by filmmaker Fred van Dijk, who also made the well-received wine documentary Kissed by the Grape. The magazine also offers lots of articles and interviews, quotes from such famous wine lovers as Hugh Johnson and Gary Vaynerchuk and a column by the patriarch of Dutch wine writing, Hubrecht Duijker.
Renowned authority on wine
Jancis Robinson is a Master of Wine and an internationally acclaimed authority on the subject. She made and presented many tv series on wine, has her own column in the Financial Times, is the author of several books and editor of the prestigious Oxford Companion to Wine. She was probably the first internationally published wine writer to start a website, www.JancisRobinson.com.
Something completely new
It didn't take Jancis Robinson long to decide to take part in this first wine magazine on iPad. In her editorial she writes: 'I am very excited to be part of this new way of presenting information about wine. (...) What you have here is something completely new, an amalgamation of my views and experiences.'
One of the highlights of the visit to Jancis Robinson was the tasting of the Dutch wines brought by the team of By the Grape. On her website she described this as 'my most surprising tasting ever!' As Jancis notes in her editorial, her 'completely natural and unexpected reactions to a range of wines from a very unusual wine-producing country' were caught both in her own tasting notes and on film.
Buyers of this app will:
-read all about Jancis Robinson
-watch Jancis at work in her French home, tasting wines and making notes
-see how her husband, restaurant critic Nick Lander, is enjoying himself making lunch in the kitchen[! JR]
-watch Jancis being very surprised while tasting Dutch wines
-see and hear Jancis talk about her love of wine
-follow Jancis and other wine lovers on Twitter (automatic updates)
-get recent articles from JancisRobinson.com (automatic updates).
The Jancis app is available from the App Store at £2.39/$3.99.