The Winelands is clearly seen to be a geographic area with money, if the launch of two lifestyle publications is anything to go by. Last month the Spring 2010 edition of Franschhoek Style was launched, while winestyle was introduced to bloggers and to potential advertisers earlier this month, its launch Summer 2011 issue expected in December. Both publications are published quarterly and are offered free of charge.
Franschhoek Style is the brainchild of the publishers SchÃ¤fer Media, owners of the Franschhoek Tatler, being Barry Phillips and Siegfried Schaefer, and is described by them as “a magazine reflecting the good life in Franschhoek”. The publication is a glossy, coffee-table type, which one can leave in a guest house lounge as well as look forward to reading, in being informative about Franschhoek. The editor is Helen Naude, who manages the Franschhoek community radio station. The first issue contains an impressive number of ads, given the state of the economy, from tour operator &Beyond, Akademie Street Guest Houses, Oyster (wood-based designs), Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa, TAGHeuer, Solms Delta, Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek Cellars, Peacock Blue, Ebony decor shop, The Sofa Studio, The Diamond Works, Viglietti Motors, Franschhoek Manor, Ashbourne House, Indian Summer, Le Bon Vivant, Paarlberg BMW , Rusthof, Auberge La Dauphine, Seeff, Graham Beck and Investec. What is missing from the list is Le Quartier Francais, a surprise as it is usually the first to hijack prominence in a Franschhoek publication. The design by Virtual Da Vinci Creative Room is clean, and the thick paper and glossy finish make this publication top quality, reflective of what Franschhoek stands for.
Editorial offers shopping advice for wines and decor items to be found in Franschhoek; a ‘Spring Diary’ listing events; a review of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta; a Franschhoek Uncorked overview of the wines of the wine estates that participated in the festival; a write-up of the prestigious and best accommodation in Franschhoek, being La Residence (at which Elton John stays when in the Cape); an article about the effect of fires on fynbos; a write-up of Rickety Bridge; Franschhoek wine profiles; “Three perfect days in Franschhoek”; a profile of entrepreneur Mike Bosman; a feature on the art galleries in Franschhoek; an article on the La Motte Mountain Meander, on which one can spot baboons and blushing brides; a write-up on the BMW 5 series; a write-up of Le Jardinet; a profile of Minnie Pietersen, who heads up the Youth Empowerment Action project for street children in Franschhoek; a book review page; and a write-up of Sante’s Wellness Centre. What is commendable is that a digital version of the magazine is available, and is quick to download and easy to page through and read, unlike Crush!, the digital food and wine magazine, that is still struggling with technical problems, including its first page, which does not open.
As I typed this blog post, I had the sinking feeling that most of the publication’s editorial in fact was advertorial, with either being an exchange for advertising placed, or straight paid-for advertorials. Readers today are smart, in identifying such advertorial, which is not disclosed nor marked as such, and lowers the credibility of the publication, no matter how well designed and glossy it is, and could therefore make it unattractive for guest houses to stock. Franschhoek Style: www.franschhoekstyle.co.za
winestyle is a publication of the Manta Media group, publishers of a collection of seemingly unrelated magazines, being winestyle, surfing and diving. Jenny Ratcliffe is the editor of the magazine, a most suitable person given her family’s Warwick ownership. Not surprisingly, the launch of the magazine was held at Warwick. What is refreshing about the publishing of magazines by Manta Media is that it is so environmentally friendly. Instead of publishing x number of copies every quarter, it is printed on demand, after one registers for free. The magazine is then posted to the readers, which means that the publishers are efficient about the number of copies they print, and there is no wastage. This results from the niche publishing company asking itself: “how should magazines be published in the digital age?” By registering its readers in a database, the publishers of winestyle will send regular news updates to its reader database by e-mail, keeping them informed weekly about wine news. For advertisers the benefit of this publishing approach is of immense benefit in that the readers are winelovers who request to subscribe by registering, giving quality readership. winestyle will not be available for sale in retail outlets, to maintain its reader focus. An online shop will sell the products of the magazine’s advertisers. The most expensive advertisement, a 3-page inside front cover gatefold, costs R 11700 exclusive of VAT. winestyle: www.mantamedia.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein: Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage