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The build for volume 2.1 of pdwr is nearly done - No two issues are ever alike

They say the devil is in the details. For me that means that after I have requested and received samples,  tasted and written the notes on 150+ wines, I still need to organize them into what you see as pdwr.

That means creating a spreadsheet with every piece of information on the wine that you see in my reviews (cross referenced to my tasting book), shooting and organizing images and then composing the layout of the actual pages. All of that is about 95% of the issue. The last 5%, the minutiae, is making sure I have all the production and pricing information (a lot of times it doesn’t come with the wine, which baffles me). After every review, image and link is committed to the file and reviewed for completeness, the index is built, producer profiles are written as is the letter from the publisher. That 5% consumes many tedious hours and I am working at streamlining the process.

All of that work for volume 2.1 should wrap tonight and subscribers will have the anniversary issue by tomorrow. My editor said it is the best issue yet, hopefully you will enjoy it too. I am shocked when I look back at issue one to see how the report has evolved in just a year. Part of my commitment to subscribers is to keep adding value to the publication. You will notice a few changes in this issue. Remember when it was going to be quarterly?

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who are purchasing pdwr for holiday gifts.

Doug Wilder | publisher


Pinot on the River - The place to be for Pinot Noir this month


Why we won't stop using the 100 point system ( people like it...)


As we embark upon our second year of the purely domestic wine report, it seemed a good time to ask subscribers to take a short survey helping us better understand what works and get the pulse on features and services we are considering developing. In the first year, pdwr established itself as a respected viewpoint focused on regions never before covered together, by one critic. 

It is through Doug’s two decades as one of the most respected domestic retail wine buyers in the country, having the unique experience discovering hundreds of new wines as they entered the market months before receiving exposure elsewhere, that brought him to the logical evolution to create something totally new, independent, and immediately relevant.

 Thank you to all who responded. As I went through the responses I was pleased so many of you had taken the time to thoughtfully answer our questions and assist us in our research. It is greatly appreciated and we hope that over the coming months we can implement our findings to create an enhanced subscriber experience.  Rather than bore you with pages of charts, I did my best to offer a simple summary of observations from the data sets. | lpr


So, let us take a look at the results.  First of all, subscribers completed 82% of the surveys with only 18% from registered accounts. This suggests that those individuals who are most interested, as subscribers, in reading pdwr also want to weigh in on what they think about the magazine. Registered users have provided us their contact information yet have only public level access.


 72% of respondents were already familiar with Doug Wilder’s reviews. 57% were consumers with the remainder classified as vintner, winemaker, broker or retailer. It could be suggested that Doug has continued to influence the buying public as well as maintain strong relevance within the trade. His unique perspective in the wine industry makes the report what it is. Retailers or distributors were 18% of responses, which although not large, we take to be positive as it means that we are being read by industry members throughout the supply framework.


When it came to other publications read by pdwr subscribers, it was no surprise that the majority listed Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and International Wine Cellar, followed by Wine Enthusiast in that order. This was good in clarifying our position amongst the best but also in telling us how we are comparatively read. The focus of pdwr is domestic, and that will always be, however by ranking with some of the most globally well-respected publications we feel we are on the right footing.  Further, results show those with a more specific focus such as Rhone Report, Burghound (both 21%) and Pinot Report receive solid readership, although by definition, they are limited in their breadth. At the far end of the spectrum, we were surprised to find virtually no readership of two of the oldest independent publications, Connoisseurs’ Guide and California Grapevine.


We are well aware of the debate that rages on over the 100-point system and how its detractors believe it is the wrong way to talk about wine. At pdwr, we find that our subscribers are comfortable that Doug uses the 100-point scale, which is not administered blind. When asked results came back as a resounding yes on a review and numerical score (85%), which leads us to believe his method is well respected, understood and appreciated. So we will be keeping with what works.

Nearly two thirds wanted a single critic tasting the wines and having total editorial control. 67% were interested in winemaker interviews so that is an area we will be looking at building out with either Doug or I taking the lead on selecting subjects and people and hopefully have one for issue seven next month. When it came down to what readers liked over 2/3, 71% said that the regions covered were those that they were interested in. Varietal breakdown was appreciated by 52%.

One thing that does set the publication aside from others is Doug’s interest to capture images in the field. In total, 50% liked the fact that we were an image rich magazine and the only independent one at that. Case production was seen as important by 57% and linking to wine websites, something other sites don’t do, was appreciated by 60%. There was limited interest in video yet we feel that will improve when we begin the interviews. It is very much intrinsic to our culture to keep pdwr up with the newest technology and the virtual reader, which no other wine review publication is using, was liked by 46%. By a wide margin subscribers are pleased that the magazine is free of advertising. We would continue that even if it weren’t popular.

The combination of interest in special reports, at 67%, small production wines; 97% and new producers; 85% highlighted how our specific focus area puts us in a unique position to respond to wines as they are released, something larger publications are unable to do in as timely a fashion. People liked the fact our proximity to tasting and visiting wineries is closer than publications on the east coast. 82% Respondents are interested in more in-depth winemaker interviews being added with 42% wanting an increase in vertical tastings.  


The idea of an advanced membership is a hot issue for us, with 60% of readers interested to learn more about it. It has been on the topic board for some time so Doug has asked me to begin development of a program abstract This will be an experiential membership limited in size involving travel to the wine regions covered by pdwr with lots of personal time in the vineyards, with the winemakers along with culinary experiences and top level lodging to match along with other program elements throughout the year. A follow up survey will be sent before the end of 2012.


Announcement | pdwr reviews now at Vinfolio

June 19, 2012 | Napa Valley, CA

When I was developing purely domestic wine report in Summer 2011, I realized that what I would be writing eventually (way down the road) may be of interest to outside wine retailers, services firms or other publications as integrated professional content. 

Surprisingly, the phone rang before even popping a cork on the first wine for issue one and a company expressed interest in my (non-existing) content. Following several months of negotiation, testing, and the requisite creation and accumulation of a body of work as a deliverable, I am very happy to announce that purely domestic wine report has its first content licensing agreement with Vinfolio, where you may recall I served as founding Director of Domestic Acquisitions for nearly four years beginning in 2005.

It is sort of like going home for me to once again have a highly visible global outlet for my unique niche of writing hosted on Vinfolio’s state-of-the-art platform as professional content, while retaining journalistic independence, and editorial control over my work.

Currently there are over 40 wines I reviewed available through the Vinfolio Marketplace, including Scarecrow, Kapcsandy, Bedrock and Kosta Browne. 

In the future, there will likely be additional content from pdwr appearing at Vinfolio, as well as some surprises. I will be sending an email to my readers over the next few days making a more formal announcement.

Thank you for your continued interest in pdwr.

Doug Wilder | publisher | pdwr






Brilliant debut from Nick Elliott at Nicora

When I was returning home from World of Pinot Noir in March, I stopped off in Paso Robles to taste at Epoch, Terry Hoage and Herman Story. As the wine business anywhere is somewhat of a small community, I always ask about new producers that may be emerging. I heard the name Nicora at my first stop (uttered in what I took to be ‘real insider skinny’. The next stop allowed me to learn a little more about the credentials of the maker and look at the website. After that, the brand went on my short list of producers to follow up with the next time i was in the area, which was Hospice du Rhone, where I finally met the winemaker, Nick Elliott. As I was moving through the tasting at a pretty fast pace, I asked if we could meet up a week later when I returned from my tasting trip to Santa Ynez. We got that chance yesterday and the results were very impressive… To read the complete reviews on the debut vintage, please register and subscribe at