American Society of Magazine Editors

Marvin R. Shanken

Founder and Chairman

M. Shanken Communications

Marvin R. Shanken, Chairman of M. Shanken Communications, Inc. has built one of America’s most influential groups of lifestyle publications—including award-winning Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado and Whisky Advocate—all by sharing his personal pleasures with readers.

After graduating from the University of Miami, he earned an MBA from American University in Washington, DC. This led to an early career as an investment banker specializing in real estate and finance. As a partner at a small Wall Street firm, he financed a number of vineyards in Northern California, which led him to become fascinated with the subject of wine. In 1972 he indulged that very interest and paid $5,000 to buy Impact, a little-known wine and spirits industry newsletter. Today Shanken’s Impact Newsletter is read in more than 200 countries.

In 1979, Shanken purchased Wine Spectator when the original owner was about to fold it.  At the time, the publication was a small free newspaper covering California wine. Wine Spectator is now the world’s leading authority on wine, delivering expert reviews of 18,000 wines annually and reaching more than 3 million readers worldwide. The brand hosts the web’s most comprehensive wine site (, mobile platforms and a series of high-profile signature events, including the prestigious New York Wine Experience, which is run as a charitable event that has given out over 600 scholarships to students pursuing careers in wine and hospitality.

In 1992, Shanken launched Cigar Aficionado as the definitive lifestyle magazine for men. Dubbed “The Good Life Magazine for Men,” the print publication and its accompanying website ( focus on luxury lifestyle topics such as golf, travel, alcohol and accessories, reaching more than 1.6 million readers. Cigar Aficionado also sponsors The Big Smoke, the country’s premier event for cigar smokers. The brand spearheads an annual fundraiser event in New York called a Night to Remember, raising over $20 million for prostate cancer.  Among other philanthropic events is the Els for Autism Pro-Am cohosted by Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado.  Now in its ninth year, this has raised more than $9 million, used to build a school for 300 autistic children.

Whisky Advocate ( is the leading whiskey magazine in the US and hosts multi-city WhiskyFest™ events, which are the longest-running and best-attended whisky festivals in the country.  Celebrating 25 years, this signature event series features the finest whiskies from all around the world, poured by the people — the very living legends — who make them.

The company has a growing library of Apps including WineRatings+, Xvalues, Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards, and Cigar Aficionado’s Where to Smoke.

M. Shanken Communications is a family owned business, which takes great pride in the many charitable endeavors is supports, raising over $50 million for over the last 40 years. Headquartered in New York City, with offices in Napa Valley, M. Shanken Communications also publishes Wine Spectator Insider, Cigar Insider, Cigar Watch, Market Watch and Shanken News Daily.