I guess, ultimately, what I find so loathsome about the publication is that its sole mission is to turn something I already love and would gladly purchase as a commodity until I die/liver blows out into a fetishized commodity. The cyclical attempt to keep the discourse going to keep the business going is rather tiresome--if I wanted that, I'd go back to my day job instead of reading a magazine.
I try to overlook this and read about the people involved, places, foods, etc. As far as ratings go I sort of use them as a sounding board or reality check; it's interesting to see what is being written about wines you've had or have in inventory. I also look to see if something I've been buying at a reasonable price hits print as I know that just screwed the pooch on pricing so will buy half a dozen before the price goes up. I also often like the pictures of far away places. There's no doubt it drives demand for many readers and that's a part I dislike.
Sitting down with a bottle of wine, chill music on, and the latest WS in my comfy chair is a nice way for me to spend a few hours on a weekend. I never read it cover to cover, and intersperse reading it with something else (usually a book on wine as I'm in the wine mood by then), but I do derive relaxation from perusing the publication.