Wine Enthusiast: Content for the Casual Consumer

A man in a suit, but with a bottle of wine for a head. He is holding a bottle of wine and a snifter of dark liquid.
Image from wineenthusiast.com

There are two major publications in the wine world: Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. I chose to examine the Wine Enthusiast website, since it is a bit closer to the style and tone of my own website.

The target audience for Wine Enthusiast is the everyday wine consumer who might want to learn a little more, in contrast to Wine Spectator, which is geared towards consumers with more intermediate wine knowledge. To this end, I think Wine Enthusiast does a great job of balancing technical, in-depth wine articles with lighter, attention-grabbing ones. As of this writing, the featured article on the Wine Enthusiast homepage is titled, "Are You a Wine Snob? 8 Red Flags to Spot". This is certainly an effective hook, as no one wants to be a wine snob! This article is likely to attract a lot of clicks for a quick and entertaining read. Despite the front-page feature being given to a listicle, there is plenty of content at the other end of the spectrum as well- including a deep dive into how fog can affect the climate and viticulture of California. But even these more esoteric articles seek to use clear, simple language, and explain more elevated terms and concepts when necessary. The writing style in Wine Enthusiast effectively plays to its audience by keeping it accessible to all levels of consumer wine knowledge.

The visual design of the website seems fairly standard for a digital analog to a printed publication. There is a banner menu at the top for different "sections," and below that are links to various articles, each with its own image. The images are all quite lively, such as the illustration used in this post, or this styled shot of a Halloween-themed cocktail sitting among cobwebs and candles. Since the majority of the site elements are black and white, the photos really stand out and attract a user's attention. There are subtle accent colors of deep plum and burnt orange for a couple of the navigation buttons, but otherwise, the design of the site itself is is reserved, almost as though in deference to the many images. Likewise, the font is clean and modern-looking, with serifs in the headings and sans serif font in the body text. These visual elements all contribute to the more casual, playful tone of the magazine.

I also appreciate that the site content is not limited to wine alone. Since the target audience is more casual consumers, it makes sense that their interests include other facets of the beverage industry as well. Wine Enthusiast has sections and articles dedicated to beer, spirits, non-alcoholic beverages, and travel as well. Although my website won't hit all of these topics, it will definitely include more than just wine content, so I think this is a great reference point for how to combine different subjects in a single site or blog. Overall, Wine Enthusiast uses thoughtful combinations of modern visual design, carefully curated content, and casual, inclusive writing to produce a website that effectively reaches a massive and diverse audience.

Emma Darnell

Emma Darnell

I work in wine and spirits sales while pursuing a Master of Arts in technical and professional writing.
Macon, GA