Wine Magazine, Amy Hartley, Greece discussed on Monocle 24: The Stack


Above sea level is a beautiful journal edited by Amy Hartley that has as its founding mission starting different conversation around wine, Amy from whom you might have heard or more accurately read in the pages of Monaco magazine. Join me a little earlier to tell me more about it. I think traditionally wine journalism has has been quite mild pick its focus very much on elaborate flavor. Descriptors and details about soil and rocks and things that people find quite difficult to engage with unless you're ready have a certain amount of kind of finis knowledge, obviously for me wine is very much about people and place and the relationship between the two, and and I felt that wind journalism could could really do with a bit of a refresh not taking away from any of the authenticity of of wine itself. But just offering fresh perspective, which is highly I've managed to do with about Seattle nothing. I've myself folded into the trap of thinking those a traditional way of ROY. Writing about one talking about wine all considering y journalism. But I think that even the things that we think are the traditional approach is themselves not that award. It's a storied history. But actually, it's relatively recently written d-, do you think one of the key risks? Whether it's about one or one is that people just make sumptious that don't borne out by by fact, is that a problem is is it a whole sector a theme that for whatever reason draws people into jumping to inaccurate conclusions about things, I think this kind of accuracy versus inaccuracy is is really interesting in it self because taste is so subjective my role as a as a wind journalist icy is is not to tell people what I think they should like it's inspire them to drink better. And and to experiment, and and I think experimenting is something that people traditionally find quite difficult with wine because they feel like they need to know about it before they can really get into it. And I think traditional wine journalism is. Interesting and it self because really flavor descriptors and point system, which white spectator and Cantabria around and Robert Parker, who's a very big wine critic, they really only have happened since sixties and seventies. So the way that we've kind of talked about wine for this period of time. As is really quite limited the full that we can look back to literature. We about to poetry and people waxing lyrical about the amazing aspects of wine and using metaphors and it being decadent and then even reaching back to ancient Greece Socrates used to prescribe different styles of wine for different ailments. I think it's it's really fascinating to see actually the wind journalism now is almost more limiting than it's ever been. I do think in the last few years has been changing with publications like raw alchemy, and Pat, and I think that people are are more receptive to to hearing about wine and people playing around a little bit more with with how. How that's done and tell me about the approach because I think leafing through these volumes. We have here of pages where there are some bottles of wine, but there's a lot of just beautiful photography assoc- beautifully designed pace at a quick browser. You could be forgiven for not even being able to immediately divine that it is a wine magazine how committed where you to bringing sense. You must have a great love for independent publishing and for some of those principles that may be defined some of your phone favorite magazines of balancing passion for wine with a passion for for print as well. Is it a question of marrying this to they natural bedfellows? I I definitely think they are in winus such a tactile thing for me. It's it's an experience, you know, when I meet winemakers. I I try and have dinner with them. I sit with their my awesome questions. I I learned something more than just about the wine making. And that's what makes it really interesting, but above sea level. Also looks at wine in context of food and design and people in place, and and really I think that's where I'm personally interested in, and I really hope kind of resonates with readers because working with people like stack magazine on this issue was really exciting for me because the magazine went out to three thousand eight hundred people that might have pick up wine magazine, and I very specifically have chosen talk about wine in the context of other things and use it more as thread than a kind of focus, and I think an hope that that means that wine kind of resonates with more people as a result. I wonder what about the pressure that you put on yourself? Do you have a sort of a selection of cuttings or maps of places you want to go that is growing exponentially? Because I guess you could probably real off fifty practically additions of the magazine that you'd like to start commissioning and reporting yourself tomorrow. What's that process? Like, it is fun. But it's kind of restrictive in some ways, or do you just think look, it's a it's the whole gloat tension look at so once defer time, it's it's interesting because I'm changing every single time. I make an issue. So my learnings from each you are also valuable in terms of, you know, why even started to do this in the first place, and I think when I choose an issue or a country or region, it's because I feel like there's this really lovely balanced between relevance for that moment. The timing is right. But also the sense of timelessness. So for me, California was my first issue. I I lived in San Francisco for two years ten years ago. And it's a bit of a love letter to California because it was where my love of wind began. And it's you know, as a place, it's very four thinking, it's very experimental. And and it really shaped the way that I think about wine today, and then Portugal was interesting for me and very different because I hadn't spent much time there. But I knew that Portugal is becoming creatively. Very interesting. And I thought that there must be a different story to tell about the wines weren't just rooted in their fortified which were poor Madeira. I spent a long time going back and forth in Portugal, and and trying to find these people and find out why they were making this kind of freshest olive wine, and how they're working with really really old vineyards and going back to kind of pre industrialization and the way that they're working fields and working very gently with our wines is is something that is really interesting to me and the Portuguese are very quiet. Very humble people. You know, you can go to America and somebody can chat forever about what makes them excited. You have to spend time with the Portuguese. To understand them. And and for them to trust you and for them to share things with you. And and it really forced me to slow down. And take my time. I didn't really have another choice in how to make this issue. I find that really in itself and really supporting those winemakers, and and photographers and writers and talent, you know, that that is one of the most exciting things for me is how can I kind of push those people out there into the spotlight. So they got a bit more kind of celebration for they're doing just took a little bit about the future little bear. And I wanted from each about the learnings for inch issue in this thing. I wonder they against generals slightly they editorial encourage they journalistic in character, although about storytelling or they lessons about hard world of the business of of independent publishing. I imagine it's probably a bit of everything. Have you been surprised about how much of a business hat you've had to wear much the time is that balance K is it what you foresaw the balance has definitely not. Doesn't feel okay right now. If if I'm really honest about it, and I do think you have to be honest about that when you're running independent magazines. There is a lot of romanticism around an lot of hard work that goes into it, which I guess is why in part people love them. I think I have to become more focused with feature issues in terms of funding and making it a little bit more straightforward that doesn't mean they come out more frequently. It just means I'm able to kind of balanced doing the magazine with with areas of my work life. And I think, you know, I often tell people that like, oh, wow. You work on this predominately by yourself. And as I he asked that I say. But it's interesting because as you mentioned, you know, their times where it's has me on my knees. And then there are other times where I'm so excited about it. And I feel like I have something to say and to share with people, and and it needs to come out. It's like a vehicle for that. I think I have a few different countries. I'm exploring at the moment. I think some places I'm really interested in is Greece. I think Greece, you know, it's not near a peaceful country steeped in a lot of wine history, and culture, obviously commercially who's had many problems too. But there's a kind of third generation of winemakers who are coming through. And and ca- tightly redefining what we would perceive Greek wine to be so that those types of countries are really interesting to me and not to dimissed even dismiss places like England. We had our best ever vintage last year, the English Weinstein. Is is growing all the time. And I'm quite intrigued to see what happens kind of post Brexit. Well, I think Richard winemakers amongst probably British. Everybody's aware and say what the post Brexit. Let's become session for another day. Amy, so great to speak. If this has picked the interest of our listeners, how should they find out more and support above sea level? So I do distribute myself madly. It is available internationally in London. You can pick it up and places like my culture, but you can also order it directly from my website as well. I mean, it's not so delighted to chat with you. And I do hope wherever you alight next that you'll come back and tell us about it. I would love to thanks so much.

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