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the big site change – paid content – quelle horreur!!!

I know you’ve all (all 3 of you!) been waiting with trepidation to see how ‘no-score Nanson’ was going to ruin his site. Well, that time is drawing near! I’d planned to make the change last weekend, but a few technical issues still needed to be resolved, but really, I think that in the next 7-10 days it might really happen!

So, what won’t change?
Actually the majority of the site will be exactly as before, and I’ll still do a Spring, Summer & Autumn report in the format that you’ve become used to. New domaines will still be profiled in Burgundy Report.

So, what will change?
The tasting notes that were a significant chunk of previous reports will move to the ‘extra content’ area but Burgundy Report will remain a descriptive ‘title’ i.e. taking a more journalistic approach to what is published, including reportage articles. For domaines that have previously been profiled in these pages, all the reportage from those new visits will be in the ‘extra content’ area, including the winemakers’ commentary.

And of-course you won’t find scores! Let me expand on that: I simply don’t believe in the 100 point scale today – and what’s the point of having other scoring systems? – I was dubious about 100pts 20 years ago, but now I’m completely against it. Why?

A cursary glance of any publication dealing with good producers will show scores mainly in the 91-94 range – so everything is potentially the same! When Burghound published his first newsletter (1998/1999 vintages!) a score of 94 was a very rare thing indeed, despite a great vintage. It seems to me that today, and not just from Burghound, 94 is the new 90. But where Burghound brings massive value to his subscribers is his ‘sweet spot’ and ‘don’t miss’ selections. I intend to follow this path to enlightenment in my notes from domaine visits.

Burgundy Report has never been the place to come to for wall-to-wall fawning over Roumier, Rousseau, DRC etcetera – though they will obviously play supporting roles – but, put simply, their prices have doubled so-often that they have limited relevence to the the vast majority of Burgundy drinkers (& buyers) today – and I know that those producers are just as sad about this as we are are…

From a journalistic point of view, I consider that Chablis and the Côtes Chalonnaise and Maçonnais are significantly underserved – I intend to make some inroads into those gaps in the coming months and years – whilst, at the same time extending my coverage of the Côte d’Or itself. We all need good wine to drink that costs less than €15 – right?!

Of-course, asking for money will cause some people to become incandescent with rage because they have always paid nothing – others may applaud if there is value to be had. I hope to underscore the latter, and will, as best as possible, ignore the former.

I, Bill Nanson, remain the sole author of Burgundy Report, but (as always) I don’t preclude contributions from others – the difference is that I might now have to pay them! Let’s see 😉

So, despite my site’s technical delay, the amount of new content is undiminished. From January and February I already have 26 domaines/maisons in the bag, nine of them new to Burgundy Report, and I head to Burgundy yet-again this week. For reference, I’ll be in Burgundy about 50% of the time, the most commitment of any English-language commentator that I know-of (yes, and before you say it, Clive is largely retired!) and I’m still the only one who triages the grapes, every year, at harvest-time.

To keep some ‘order’, I may arrange new content chronologically; January, February, March etcetera (I intend probably August and December to be content-free months ignoring ‘scoops’), but content will go online as it is completed, rather than waiting. I certainly won’t fill your inboxes with alerts, but new stuff will be announced via @billnanson on Twitter – follow if you wish. Failing that, you can just stop-by and see if there’s anything new 😉

So, the $64,000 question?
I was going to charge €69 per 12 months – it sounded kinda sexy – but then reality bit and I have to work on the principle that I live in Switzerland; so a nice round 85 Swiss Francs it is (that’s US$96 or £58 today).

Even my optimistic target for subscribers won’t come close to my previous salary (and there are obvious extra costs of being in France so much of the time) so I will be writing for other publications, working on my project ‘Book 2,’ and will also offer my services as a tour-guide in Burgundy. With good content, and a fair wind, I think that this portfolio has the potential to add up to a real job – i.e. one with a real salary!

Oh, and I remain ever the egalitarian; once the paid content is over 18 months old – it will automatically become free content!

Feel free to discuss 😉
Bill

15 responses to “the big site change – paid content – quelle horreur!!!”

  1. Michael Warner

    Where do I sign up ?

    So much is written about the same domaines, with an implication that nothing else matters, and a result that those domaines become unobtainable or unaffordable. I think there is much more enjoyment to be had finding new and interesting places, and happy to pay for you to do some of the hard work.

    1. Michael Warner

      PS – The one thing I would suggest if I may is that you include the ex-domaine prices in your write ups – or at least an indication of the range. I imagine this would be easier to do behind the pay-wall, and given some of these domaines may have limited distribution, it may be something of interest to people looking to buy direct.

  2. Simon

    I welcome your intention to write more on the Maconnais and Cotes Chalonnaise. 50% of your time in Burgundy? May be time soon to look for your own digs if you want to keep costs down.
    Good luck in your venture.

  3. Phil Eaves

    Bill

    Good luck with the lifestyle change I hope it works out well, I will of course be signing up. I applaud the no points vision I much prefer the tasting note as an impression of the wine at that moment, rather than a “you must have this wine to understand” approach. Burgundy is so much more than just the producers rated at the top of the pile and I like to make my own mistakes!

    all the best

    Phil

  4. Andy Leslie

    Best of luck Bill! Stick with the no-points policy – it adds credibility as far as I’m concerned!

  5. Philip

    I will subscribe, as Gloria Gaynor didn’t quite put it. I hope you will offer (discounted?) 2 & 3 year subscriptions, as no doubt you had start up costs, so a bigger slug of money up front will help. And the very best of luck.
    Philip

  6. @burgundypapi

    After reaping the benefits of your work for free during the last 4-5 years I’d be happy to pay for content. Best of luck with your new project – am very much looking forward to your next book as well.
    David

  7. Lliwiau Llachar

    Bill

    This site for me has been a valuable resource for many years now and so I don’t have an issue in subscribing. I’m surprised that you have not gone down this avenue a lot sooner.

    I’m pleased to hear that you will be branching out into other areas of Burgundy as many of these areas currently get very little coverage. Will this extend to other areas such as Vezelay and dare I say it Beaujolais?

    My only point and please don’t take this as a slight is regularity of coverage. The seasonal reports took a while to be published last year and I would hope that if you are asking people to pay then these reports will be published on a more regular basis.

    Can I also enquire as to the status of the Monopole book that I know you were compiling?

    Keep up the great work

    Thanks

    Mark

  8. Dan P

    Bill, Let me echo previous sentiment. And your first book, “Burgundy,” is tremendously useful, informative, and quirky in the best possible way. I do wish your notes data base was more easily searchable. Can there be a way to pull up all your notes on a producer in one go? (and if already the case, perhaps detailed instructions for us luddites). Dan

  9. Sycamore

    Count me in, of course, as a subscriber. This site is a daily check-in for me; I appreciate all that’s been done for us, and look forward to what’s coming. You might extend out the time for making stuff free to 24+ months (18 seems pretty short and generous, frankly), but that’s naturally a business decision for you, and I have no doubt that you’ll make the right one. Thanks again and best of luck in the new venture!

    -Todd

  10. Gilberto

    Here is one more subscriber Bill, so you seem to have already tripled with respect to your expectations 😉
    I applaud to the choice of not rating the wines, and I hope this will mean your approach will remain close to that of an amateur (a very serious and passionate one, of course), which is what makes your pages unique and refreshing.

    All the best!

    Gilberto

  11. Gilberto

    By the way, Bill, the right spelling is “quelle horreur” 😉

  12. Ray Walker

    Hey Bill, just wanted to say congratulations on several fronts. I agree with one of the above comments that you should find a place in Burgundy to rent or buy. Could save you loads of effort and expense. Also, wonderful to hear that you are going without placing a numerical fun-meter on your commentaries. I find this to be a very silly practice which has proven to be a false leg that so many in the various sections of wine culture lean upon.

    All the best to you for continued success and the living out of your dreams.

    Best

    Ray

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