After two decades in business, prominent wine critic Jancis Robinson decided to sell her eponymous subscription-based website.

“Having turned 70, I was concerned that I might have a sudden health problem and felt I owed it to my team to find a long-term future for them and the site,” Robinson said.

Robinson, a Master of Wine, sold her London-based website,, to Miami-based digital media company Recurrent Ventures in August 2021 for an undisclosed amount. She stayed on as editor-in-chief of the website, which features more than 250,000 wine reviews and 15,000 articles, typically publishing two new articles daily.

“I also wanted to increase U.S. members and upgrade tech, so I actively looked for a U.S. buyer with [online] publishing experience,” Robinson said.

U.S. readership made up just under 30% of the site’s audience at the time of the sale, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The site had about 100,000 monthly visitors and 35,000 email newsletter subscribers, Robinson said.

One of Robinson’s biggest challenges in growing her business was lack of tech capability. “We had just one freelance developer whose hours were unpredictable,” she said.

Robinson created during the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000. She wrote on her site that the immediacy of publishing on the internet was a welcome change after dealing with the longer publishing timelines of writing books and serving as a wine correspondent for the Financial Times.

Robinson grew her staff to 15 employees – 3 full time and 12 part time. She grew her revenue organically with revenue coming from paid subscriptions rather than advertisements or sponsorships. She wouldn’t say how many paid members the site has, but memberships currently start at $13.99 per month or $134.99 annually.

Finding a buyer for

To prepare for a sale, Robinson got help from an M&A lawyer and friend who was familiar with her site and helped her find the right investment bankers.

She used Business Capital Exchange, a Boston-based M&A investment banking firm, to broker the deal.

The sale marked the fourth acquisition Recurrent Ventures made in 2021, having already purchased lifestyle and tech brands Domino, Futurism and MEL Magazine earlier that year, according to Digiday. (MEL was resold to Literally Media in late 2023.)

Robinson declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, but she told us that “by complete chance, the sale was very fortunately timed, before media companies started to tighten their belts.”

Due to pandemic restrictions, Robinson did not meet the site’s buyer or her bankers in person until months after the sale was final. She had to handle everything virtually.

Robinson described the process of selling her company as an enjoyable learning experience. The most difficult part, she said, was answering lots of due diligence questions, mostly by herself.

It can be tricky to sell a business named after the founder or whose personal brand is intertwined with the company’s. In these situations, buyers tend to want the namesake to stay on in some capacity, at least temporarily while they execute a transition plan.

Staying on board after selling to Recurrent Ventures

Robinson’s professional life hasn’t changed drastically since selling her company, since she still serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.

Her contract stipulates that she will remain with the company for five years following the sale. She said she feels like she’s “working just as hard. The only change is that we now have a wonderful managing editor who does all the admin, HR, budgeting, tech, etc.”

With those responsibilities off her plate, Robinson said she’s free to do what she enjoys most: writing, tasting wine and traveling.

“I have no intention whatsoever of retiring,” she wrote in a post on her site announcing the acquisition.

Robinson also continues to write a weekly column for the Financial Times.