Home > Book and magazine review > By The Bottle – First Time For Everything

By The Bottle – First Time For Everything

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Few days ago, I found an e-mail in my inbox. “Would you be interested in reviewing our new wine magazine called By The Bottle”? Hmmm, I love reading – books, magazines, blogs – but review? Take something and shred it apart? Or write pointless sweet mambo jumbo, pretending I’m saying something of essence? Both scenarios sound equally unappealing. Ahh, yes – and the magazine is all-electronic, an iPad version. I already had an experience with an iPad wine book I didn’t care for. What should I do, what should I do… I read the e-mail again. It said “the good, the bad and the ugly – we can take it”. Okay, so let’s see how bad it can be.

Going along of “don’t judge the book by its cover”, I had to make an effort from the get go.

Cover-screeenshot1I didn’t like the cover. At all. The woman’s legs – okay, it is a cheap attention shot. The guy looks good, but what’s up with that cigarette? This is clearly not meant for  the American audience – I would understand the cigar (kind of), but cigarette? Yes, may be I’m missing something, but I’m not aware of cigarettes becoming popular again in US. And I understand that the magazine hails from Europe (London, to be precise), but I didn’t read so far about smoking renaissance in UK. Thus to this point, one is clearly down, and I need to control my expectations for the rest.

Here is an important announcement: we reached the end of the bad news. From there on, it was actually interesting and entertaining.

The magazine’s promise is that it will have something for all different groups of wine lovers, from amateurs to the people “in the trade” – and it delivered.

Pictures, graphics, cars, bottles and people – all done at the level of an “eye candy”. Of course iPad’s graphics capabilities greatly help with it.

Navigation is simple and clear – you know where you are, the structure is linear and it is easy to go back and force. Definitely a plus.

And then the content.

I pretty much enjoyed all the features in the magazine. The interview with Maximilian Riedel, 11th generation glass-maker (well, actually he is a Head of US operations, but still) was quite interesting (I still don’t care for the “O” series of glasses, but it is just me).

Have you heard of #7wordwinereview? It is a whole movement around the world, against long but meaningless, not fun and repetitive wine reviews. It is taking place everywhere, and people are having fun with their wines (guess what we are doing at our next wine dinner).

I don’t want to take it away from you – there are many more fun things you can read and learn about – what car would be best if you are going on a wine buying spree in France (well, that would be best airline with best luggage policy for me), what is corked wine, mastering the wine speak and learning to look as a wine buff without knowing a thing (okay, my recommendation would be actually to learn about wines, but it was fun to read). A little bit about cigars, how to read a wine label, learning to play poker, useful wine accessories and lots more. Even an article proving that wine is the most romantic drink with some pretty graphic arguments as to why wine and not beer. All in all, there is a lot to read – with an added bonus that magazine is free, at least at the moment.

Let’s sum it up. There was the bad and the good, but ugly didn’t show up. I really like the format, the fact that magazine is concise and finite, a pleasure to flip through and easy to use. The content is good now, and potential is really unlimited (I have tons of ideas, but I’m sure people behind the magazine have one or two of their own). I’m looking forward to the next issue already.

Intrigued? Get your own copy (here is the link, or simply type the name “By The Bottle” in the search box in App store on your iPad), pour yourself a glass of wine and feel free to become a magazine critic. A least I did. Cheers!

  1. January 23, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great review, Anatoli 🙂
    What a pity that this app is for iPad only. iPhone doesn’t seem to be supported.

    • talkavino
      January 23, 2013 at 12:17 am

      Thank you!
      The fact that it doesn’t work on iPhone is actually pretty upsetting… May be producers can fix it…

  2. January 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

    With you on the cover for sure.

    • talkavino
      January 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

      yes, this was a questionable choice. But the content is good!

  3. January 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Very solid review, Anatoli.
    I would like to add my 2 cents: regarding the cover shot (on which I am also 100% with you) there is in my view one additional slip for a magazine targeted to “wine people”: she is holding a stem glass the way it is not intended to: she should hold it by the stem, not the bowl…
    Second comment is that, based on the cover shot they picked but also on your description of certain of its content, it looks (and sounds) like it is a magazine that is mainly targeted to a male readership: if that is the case, I get to wonder what their underlying assumption is for making such a choice.

    • talkavino
      January 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Stefano, you are too kind! You picked up a lot more from just looking at the cover than me from reading the whole magazine : ) I believe this is their target audience – the introductory e-mail characterized it as “think GQ meets Decanter”, which is confirming your observation. But if you think about majority of wine magazines today (think Wine Spectator, for instance), I think this also will be the case.

  4. January 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Sounds like an interesting mag – I have to admit I was turned off by the covert too. Wonder if it is compatible with Kindle.

    • talkavino
      January 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      I’m not sure it is available in Kindle format – I think iPad really offers pretty unique platform today in terms of artistic expression of the content, and it is definitely a very strong side of this magazine.

  1. January 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm
  2. January 26, 2013 at 11:02 am

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