Saving the newspaper industry, one bottle at a time

Expanding on its strategy to raise extra cash by selling granite drink coasters etched with crossword puzzles, the New York Times is starting a wine club for subscribers:

The new venture, called The New York Times Wine Club, will offer members a selection of wines at two price levels, $90 or $180 per six-bottle shipment, and customers can choose to have wine delivered every one, two or three months.

The club, an unusual brand extension for the paper, is one of several such ventures the company is considering, said Thomas K. Carley, the senior vice president of strategic planning for the Times Company.

“The Times is looking at a lot of different ideas for engaging our audience,” he said, “to make statements about what are our strengths, what are the ways that we can delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times.”

They’re not the only paper doing it, either. Our copy of this morning’s Times contained a full-color ad insert for the Wall Street Journal wine club ($189.99 value for just $69.99! — “includes full tasting notes on each wine and a FREE binder to keep them in”).

If only the Seattle P-I had thought to try this.