Wine tasting as spectator sport? Almost. M. Shanken Communications is a magazine publisher best known for its oenophile tome Wine Spectator. The magazine, published 15 times a year, boasts wine tasting reports and buyers guides, as well as upscale dining, travel, and lifestyle features. M. Shanken Communications also operates Wine Spectator Online, an information portal aimed at wine aficionados. In addition, the company publishes Cigar Aficionado and Food Arts, as well as industry trade titles Impact (beverage distribution and retail) and Market Watch (beverage hospitality). Wine critic Robert Morrisey began publishing Wine Spectator in 1976; it was acquired by publisher Marvin Shanken three years later.
In 2010 the company acquired Malt Advocate, a publishing and events company specializing in high-end whisky and other spirits. M. Shanken purchased the company to add Malt Advocate magazine and WhiskyFest events to its holdings. WhiskyFest produces annual events in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The company counts upscale advertisers such as Gallo, The Ritz-Carlton, Porsche, and Gucci among its clients. In 2008 M. Shanken laid off approximately 20 employees across all divisions as a result of a weak economy that has hit the advertising industry particularly hard. – less