South African winemaker Bruce Jack prides himself of doing things differently. He wants to make wines that make you think as much as you enjoy drinking them. So when he had an idea of producing his own wine publication he wanted to push the boundaries and produce a magazine like nothing that has come before it. With his Jacks Journal he has not only achieved that, but has arguably created a completely new style of magazine that lives and breathes the philosophy and vision of the man behind it. Here he explains how it came together.
Bruce Jack of Bruce Jack Wines has created a new type of wine magazine that is not really about wine at all. It is about the world that wine tries to live in. If we are inspired by what comes out of a wine bottle, what inspires the people that drink it? Jacks Journal does not just make you think, it challenges you to think differently and looks gorgeous as well.
Richard Siddle introduction to Jacks Journal: a breakthrough publication and a must read
I have been fortunate in my career as a journalist and an editor to have worked on a number of different publications with many editorial teams. Magazines that have covered a number of different industries from optics, to computing, grocery retailing, convenience, travel, wine, drinks and now the on-trade. I have worked on daily papers, weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies and now, of course, embedded just in the digital world of websites and WordPress.
But I can honestly say I have not seen an independent publication produced with the imagination and, yes, bravery of Jacks Journal. When Bruce Jack first explained to me what he was trying to achieve, I can honestly say I did not think he would a) ever do it, and b) come close to pulling it off. I also thought it all sounded a bit too nebulous to ever really come together.
Devising, creating, commissioning and then editing a magazine is hard enough for those of us trained to do so. How could a full-time wine producer ever come close to producing a magazine that was worth reading, never mind have the skills to produce something as ambitious as this?
OK, I may have an article in Jacks Journal, but I urge you to please spend the time to sit down and read what really is a masterful piece of work. A true treasure trove of ideas. In fact, there are more innovations in here than some professional publications have in a year. Who would think of producing an article on wine tourism (written expertly by Su Birch) which is designed to look like it has been taken straight from a notebook? The design alone is enough to win an editorial award. Huge congratulations to designer, Rohan Etsebeth.
What really makes Jacks Journal completely original to anything that has been produced in the world of wine publishing, is that there is actually so little about wine per se in it. It takes the spirit of what everyone in our trade thinks makes wine special and then shares that with other sectors and passions from surfing to, art, history, film, music, travel, the environment, wellness and more.
Bruce – and Su Birch who helped manage the project – I take my hat off to you (both). This is one of the best publications I have ever seen produced. I urge everyone to please read it.
Bruce Jack on what Jack’s Journal is all about
At Bruce Jack Wines we haven’t given up on the world. We believe businesses don’t always have to be the bad guys. We can help fix things. In fact, it’s our duty to do so. We believe businesses and brands should stand for something. And we believe consumers should vote with their hard-earned consumer money by only supporting those brands that stand for something good.
Jack Journal is part of that authentic voice. I have always loved magazines that are informative, intelligent, eclectic and beautifully designed. It just made sense to publish our own journal type of magazine that explored some of the elements of this fascinating life that intrigue me.
Wine of course is a recurring theme, not only because I belong passionately to our tribe, but because the world of wine is a way of exploring almost everything else in life, from religion, to science, to socio-political angst, to geology, to imagination, to history, to business, to cultural eccentricities, to art, to… to the very source of life. Well, that’s how it has always been for me.
Also, I can’t make sense of tweeting. I tried it once, and I may try it again. On one level it interests me that people communicate at such a superficial level, somehow effectively… but, it makes no sense to me. I can’t seem grapple satisfactorily with the world through a tweet… My reaction when I read a tweet is: that could mean a dozen things – what’s the context? Aaaagh! I find them so frustrating.
Looking around corners
I fear I am just a long-form interrogator of life. I want to read articles, to understand the argument so I can contend with the agenda, see around the corner of the statement, seek enlightenment in nuance. I want to live and learn through a three-dimensional thought process. I crave considered, engaging articles. Clearly, I am in the minority here, but that’s why I decided producing Jack Journal would be so much fun, and it was.
Unfortunately, Volume 1, due for release at Prowein 2020 never saw a printing press and was never distributed as a result. While working through the psychological and spiritual obstacle course that is lockdown South Africa, I turned to a PDF of the stillborn Jack Journal Vol. 1 for some calming nourishment.
My God, I thought as I read it, this is wonderful. I was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed reading every word. I normally hate reading my old newsletters, or indeed anything twice. But Jack Journal was just what I needed – a magazine about cool stuff that doesn’t mention the word virus or even corona.
So, I decided to release it onto the world despite that world being so different to the one in which it was conceived and produced. For a start the contributors deserve their words to be read, their ideas to be considered. And anyway, people probably have more time now than ever. Someone beyond our tribe may even read it! But more importantly, it struck me how much was still relevant in our different reality. I am genuinely amazed by that.
Enjoy Jack Journal and if you have an article that you think would interest me or our wine tribe, send me an email and I’ll consider it for Volume II.
Love, light and a glass of delicious wine,
- You can contact Bruce with any ideas at email@example.com.
- Bruce Jack is also looking to support local communities in South Africa that have been by the Covid-19 lockdown in the country through his Headstart Trust. You can make a donation to help provide much need food, drink and support to local villages by going to its donation page here.