Wine journalist Talia Baiocchi's Brooklyn apartment is headquarters for PUNCH, a new online magazine focused on wine, cocktails and spirits that she's putting out in collaboration with Ten Speed Press. Baiocchi is editor in chief. Leslie Pariseau is deputy editor. Fueled by strong coffees and Negronis, the two have been working for months nonstop on the magazine's first issue, set to debut in October.
Baiocchi, former wine editor at Eater.com and former columnist at Wine Spectator, came up with the idea of doing a Web magazine about wine and spirits in conversation with Aaron Wehner of Ten Speed Press, which is publishing her book, "SHERRY," in the fall of 2014.
“Most wine magazines tend to be pretty brainy, or more academic,” says Baiocchi. She and Wehner felt there might be a place on the Web for a magazine of narrative journalism, both written and visual, that focused on drinks culture — wine, cocktails and spirits. And she loved the idea of collaborating with Ten Speed Press. "It’s very independent, very forward thinking, and very open in a way that I think has lent itself well to this project.” The magazine, however, will be a stand-alone project.
From that first conversation eight or nine months ago, PUNCH has come together quickly. Finding the right designers and working out the design has taken the most time, she says. An overly optimistic launch date of this spring soon moved to fall. They’ve also decided to create a small print companion just before the magazine goes live. Baiocchi describes it as a little teaser with some of the stories — a 'zine. "We wanted to put together an actual object designed as its own entity, something people would want to keep."
Picking the name was the most difficult part. But once they settled on PUNCH, that was it. "It's one of those names that should have an action hero sound that goes along with it," she says. "The fact that the name alludes to drinks really resonated with us."
Unlike traditional magazines, PUNCH won't put the entire month’s content up at once. "Content will be introduced on a weekly basis and it will include large features and a plethora of smaller stories, maybe 40 or 50 pieces of content altogether," explains Baiocchi.
Contributors she's lined up include Jordan Mackay (wine and spirits critic of San Francisco magazine), Brad Thomas Parsons (author of "Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All With Cocktails, Recipes & Formulas”), Wyatt Peabody (who used to write on wine and spirits for Los Angeles Times Magazine), the Lee brothers (Matt and Lee, authors of "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen"), plus novelists, folklorists and chefs. Peden + Munk, a Los Angeles-based photography team, will be part of the mix too.
Sounds like fun. Look for PUNCH — "drinking it all in" — in October.