More than one person has tried to make a local wine and food journal fly in Dallas. There are even some bodies to testify to this. Remember the Dallas Food & Wine Journal launched in 1995? That big-format magazine lasted only two issues. But Mike Whitaker, who publishes The Link, a Dallas arts and entertainment magazine geared toward nightlife, is taking a stab at it.
In January, Whitaker launched Vine Dallas, a monthly four-color glossy focused on Dallas wine happenings.
"We're hoping to fill a niche," Whitaker says. "Dallas is a really big wine community, and there's no way of supporting it as far as local reviews, people in the industry and local wine personalities."
Interestingly, the premiere issue features a Dallas wine pro--importer Martin Sinkoff--who is leaving Dallas for New York of all places, not necessarily a resounding endorsement of the Dallas wine biz. Yet Whitaker, who has never been in the wine industry, remains bullish that a Dallas-centric wine pub will catch on and fly off the racks, if not land a fistful of subscriptions ($22 for 12 issues). He ran off some 40,000 copies of the inaugural issue, which has a cover price of $2.99, and dispersed them in Dallas restaurants, hotels, Whole Foods Markets, Marty's and some Red Coleman stores. Vine Dallas is edited by Jimi Davidson, a wine buyer at Applejack's liquors, owned by Red Coleman stores.
Whitaker says he plans to expand his metro-centric wine magazine to other cities including Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Chicago and New York.
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After shutting down Jennivine at the end of December, Lewis and Carol McHenry have quickly opened a new restaurant in an old Masonic lodge nestled in the State-Thomas Historic District. The bistro is called Rosebud, named for that famous sled in Citizen Kane.
"It's pretty much the same thing that we were doing at Jennivine," Lewis says. But he says he'll be putting a lot more emphasis on the wine list, greatly expanding wine-by-the-glass offerings and inserting bottlings from a greater variety of wine-producing countries to give it a more global feel.
The McHenrys purchased Jennivine, which was basically squeezed to death by West Village encroachment, from Mario and Jenni Messina some two years ago.
"To be honest, I really felt that the food that was at Jennivine for the last 10 to 15 years was stale," Lewis says. "There was nothing fresh going on there. I wanted to move the food up a level, a notch higher.