The BKWine Brief story from the start to today
In December 2011 we publish the 100th issue of our newsletter, the BKWine Brief. Here is a look back on how it started and some thoughts on the future.
May 2003. That was when we did the very first BKWine Brief. One hundred issues back. In 2003 we hardly planned or knew that our brand new newsletter would grow up and become 100 but we must have had some inkling where we were heading. When we started we choose to use three digits for the numbering: “001” (in the file name). We had laid the foundation to reach 100! But apparently we are not expecting to reach 1000.
This is what we wrote in the introduction, the “editorial”, of the first issue: “Through my monthly newsletter I aim to bring you personal suggestions (on my favourite wines, wine shops, useful internet addresses and wine bars & restaurants throughout Europe), interesting wine industry news, as well as an update on my activities in case you want to join us in a tasting or on a tour to a wine region to enjoy and learn more about wine.”
These days we say “we” (Britt & Per) instead of “I” (which was Britt). But apart from that the description fits very well for what the Brief is, still today.
Over time it has of course gone through a number of changes. At the beginning the text was both English and Swedish in the same newsletter. Very soon we changed it into a separate version for each language. The design has changed, has been simplified, a number of times and with issue number 100 we launch a new(-ish) logo that will match what we use for our new web sites. Over time it has also become more and more contents rich.
Many of the things we wrote about in the first issue are still valid: for example the producer recommendations: Chateau Roubine in Provence (that we are actually drinking tonight), Domaine Coupe Rose in the Languedoc, and Claude Courtois in the Loire, three producers that we still heartily recommend. The restaurant Sur un arbre perché, which was one of our recommendations, is still there although we have not been there for quite some time. Some things, though, have an old tinge. And the newsletter no longer comes from Wine Tastings Britt Karlsson but instead from BKWine!
In the second issue we wrote about the prices of Bordeaux wines: prices of the 2002s were down 10-20% on the 2000s. Today that sounds like coming from another planet! You could read that Jacques Chirac gave six bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1989 to Tony Blair on his 50th birthday. That certainly sounds like many years ago too, even if Chirac recently have been in media in France for other reasons… We talked about a Scandinavian Wine Fair that we were planning and organising in Paris but that now also feels like time gone by.
Over time the Brief has grown and grow so that it has almost become a small magazine. And compared to some of the free, publicity financed, magazines that one sometimes sees we probably compare quite favourably in terms of contents and depth! Sometimes people tell us that they don’t have the time to read it all and that we should make it shorter. But who has the time to read all? It is not an obligation 🙂
A milestone for the newsletter and for the site, but a milestone that is not so obvious to our English speaking readers, was when we started reporting on all new monthly product launches at the Swedish monopoly, the Systembolaget. That is something we only do in Swedish so readers of the English pages do not see much of it. It has turned into one of the most popular parts of the newsletter and the site. Today we have one of the most extensive reporting of new wine launches in Sweden, including compared to printed media, thanks to a collaboration with a very competent and experienced wine taster in Stockholm who reports on it for us (it’s difficult to go to tastings in Sweden whey you live in Paris…). We wish we could do something similar for our English speaking readers in the UK, in the US and elsewhere!
But why do we spend so much time and effort on writing the BKWine Brief? There are many reasons. One of the most important reasons is that we hope that one day you, our reader, might be tempted to come on one of our wine tours! (Sign up for one of our wine tours NOW and we promise to continue writing the Brief for quite some time! We have been named “World’s Top Wine Tours”!) But that is not the only reason. It is lots of fun writing it, writing about wine (even if it is quite a lot of work too). We like sharing our discoveries and sharing our enthusiasm for good wines, good restaurants, beautiful wine regions etc. It is also part of our activity as wine journalists, wine writers and wine photographer. And so on…
Today it would be difficult to quit! We think that the Brief is one of the most read, if not THE most read wine newsletters in Sweden – and also high up there somewhere on the list internationally. Very few others tell you how many subscribers they have so it is difficult to know… The BKWine Brief currently has around 20,000 subscribers. We have almost 9,000 for the English version (8762 is the exact number this very minute) and almost 12,000 for the Swedish version (11,690). Everyone can see the exact number on the site, on the subscribe page. That’s actually similar subscriber numbers to some of the major printed wine magazines. At least in Scandinavia. We are quite proud.
And what will happen in the future? Who knows?
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas? Let us know! Send us a mail! We’d like to know what you think!
Preaching for the converted?
This post is also available in: Swedish