Since causing a minor sh*t-storm on Facebook a week ago when I lamented publicly about bad wine PR folks wanting me to “guarantee” reviews of their clients’ wine samples (with responses ranging from “cut them some slack, they have a difficult job” to “screw ‘em, they’re all idiots), I’ve gotten to thinking about the whole delicate relationship balance between media and PR, and have come to the following conclusion.
I have two words for 90% of all the winery and wine-brand PR folks with whom I deal on a fairly regular basis: THANK YOU.
Seriously. Thank you. You deserve my thanks because most of you are totally awesome. You are totally awesome because you’ve actually read the long-policy that I have regarding samples, press trips, and the like, you are true professionals in the best senses of the word, and some of you I actually now count among my friends, as in people I’d have a glass of vino with even if you weren’t trying to sell me on your brands. You are awesome because you cultivate a real, honest-to-goodness relationship with me, trying to get me samples that fit what 1WD is really all about and respecting the fact that after the samples are sent there can be no promises of coverage or even of any follow-up on the wines if they’re not reviewed. I know that you’re looking to get your clients’ products in front of eyeballs, you know I am looking fro great content for these virtual pages, and we try to meet in the middle without overstepping each others’ professional boundaries. So… thank you for that!
For the other 10% of the wine PR folks out there – the ones who want me to promise coverage before they will deign to send me a samples (of wines that they’ve already deigned to SPAM me about in press release emails asking me if I want a sample in the first place) – well, I also have two words for you, only those two words rhyme with “Duck Poo” and I don’t want to print them here…
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Last week, my little old hunk of the global interwebs was named one of the Best Wine Blogs in in the 2011 installment of Most Wanted’s 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition.
I’m honored to have been included, because their other blog selections are all great so I find myself dragging down the curve of the list, so to speak. But all those years of watching British sitcoms like Black Adder must have paid off, because apparently the Most Wanted folks also think I’m a Brit (I know… I don’t get it, either); to the tape:
“The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition is an online list of the most influential blogs in the UK (within their categories) of the past six months. We have painstakingly scoured the web to find ten publishing leaders in each of the ten categories. The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition aims to be a definitive list, a go-to resource if you’re looking for some inspiration about what to do, make, give and consume over the Christmas season.”
Hmmm… sorry, old chap, but I’m quite thoroughly American, I’m afraid. And it’s a bit early for Christmas, don’t you think? And don’t get me started on Christmas shopping – that shiz doesn’t start for me until December at the earliest. Anyway, don’t tell them I’m not British, otherwise they might take me off the list.
Speaking of the list, here’s the full complement of Most Wanted’s awarded wine blogs below (in what I think is no particular order, though truth be told I’m not so sure) – and it’s the real meat of this post, because if you’re geeking out over wine then you really ought to be checking out these sites on a regular basis.
Well… are they?
Some background: Wine critics generally use a 100-point scale when evaluating wines (I know most of you know this, bear with the exposition, people!). I don’t, because I think it implies a level of accuracy in evaluating a moving-target product (that can change within hours in the glass, let alone within years in the bottle) and so I (begrudgingly – hey, you asked for them!) use a “fuzzier” scale to evaluate the wine that I’m fortunate (and, ok, sometimes not-so-fortunate) enough to have cross my lips.
Generally, it’s assumed that many (probably most) wine critics reserve some part of their rating score for a wine’s color. For example, long-time Wine Spectator editor James Suckling once explained via video how he doles out his points when reviewing a wine, in which “things like color get 15 points.”
But is a wine’s color an important enough aspect on which to base 15% or so of one’s critical rating? According to a (very) informal poll I took recently via twitter and facebook, the answer is probably “No.”…
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Fitting squarely into the “Well, Now This Is Interesting” Department (I just made that department up, because it’s my blog and I can do that sort of thing, after all), I recently received a PR-style email about a new wine search engine called VinoMatch.
VinoMatch is not an all-things-wine-related search engine (good thing, too, since it’s likely that nothing can compare to AbleGrape.com in that department – and no, that’s not a new official department here at 1WD, okay?).
No, what’s interesting is that VinoMatch is a search engine that’s meant to connect the average wine consumer with wines that they like based on flavor profile. I.e., you navigate flavors and styles that you’re looking for, and VinoMatch presents you with wines that fit your criteria – theoretically linking you up with a wine you’re more likely to enjoy than a recommendation based on points from a small number of critics.
I love this idea, because I love the idea of people educating themselves about their own wine preferences and getting to the point where they can make comfortable wine-buying decisions on their own (sh*t, I wrote a short book entirely about how to do that!). But I don’t hold out a ton of hope for VinoMatch – at least, not just yet.
Why not? Well, the details behind answer to that question are even more interesting, I think…
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