Above Sea Level joins Stack

by Grace Wang in October 2018
Food & drink

At the centre of Above Sea Level is a good glass of wine, but the magazine spins tales of geography, culture and travel to provide a fascinating account of the fruity, fermented drink. Through watercolour illustrations and sun-drenched photography, their first issue traverses California state to show how each bottle of wine is corked with a unique combination of architecture, weather, people and practices. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful title and we’re really excited to have them join our lineup of magazines.

Below, you can find out more from founder Aimee Hartley, who reports on wine for Monocole magazine amongst other publications, and runs a night about wine and 90s R&B called GENUWINE. If you’re a Stack subscriber, you can look forward to Above Sea Level in your letterbox sometime in the near future. If you’re new to us, we’ve love to have you in our magazine club! Sign up and get a print surprise every month…



Aimee Hartley

Job title

Editor and founder

What is Above Sea Level?

A magazine that offers a fresh perspective on wine.

What makes it different to the rest?

We see wine as a product of place, so each issue focuses on a different country or region. Everything is really visual — it’s about taking people on a journey and understanding not just the character of a particular region or style of wine, but of the people that make it. It is a more thoughtful, human take on wine journalism.

Who makes Above Sea Level?

Mainly me. And my designer David Hardy who spent many years as a designer at Central Saint Martins. Lucy Murray Willis, a disciple of Inventory Magazine, is helping us with the art direction on our Portugal issue. They’ve both become good friends. We’ve been through the good, bad and the ugly together.

Who reads it?

I think we’d always hoped that people who were curious about wine, but might never pick up a wine magazine, would get excited about it. We’ve had some lovely notes from readers along these lines — from designers, to artists, chefs and winemakers. I think it’s more about a way of thinking than demographics.

Why do you work in magazines?

There is something so tactile about print, that I think is also true for wine. With paper, you smell the ink, leaf thorough the pages, slowly devour it. With wine, it is a similar experience. It all feels connected somehow. I wanted to make something I could hold in my hands and feel proud of.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?

I also write about wine for Monocle and British Airways High Life, amongst a few others. It’s important to me to see wine journalism break out of wine magazines and into travel, business and culture publications. I also (hilariously) run a wine and 90s R&B night called GENUWINE with friend and sommelier Courtney Stebbings in London and Toronto, and am currently working on the wine list for the Hart Brother’s (Barrafina, Quo Vadis) new wine bar in Kings Cross.

What would you change about Above Sea Level if you could?

I’d have a bigger team. By bigger, I mean maybe one extra person to help with partnerships and advertising. It’s hard work pushing for these, whilst also commissioning, writing, editing and overseeing the art direction. Independent magazines take an incredible amount of work and love. Which I guess, is in part, why people love them.

Where do you see Above Sea Level in five years?

I HAVE NO IDEA. Am I allowed to say that? Well, I do have ideas but I wouldn’t like to spill the beans.

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