There are worse places to be than where I’m camped out this week – Portugal (again, and I feel blessed to be back), where this time I’ll get to spend some time in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Lisbon, as well as getting back to the insanely gorgeous Douro and the lovely city of Porto.
The reason I’m back in this diverse winemaking region is that I’m being hired by a (rather large) Portuguese wine producer – well, technically I’m being hired by their PR agency – to pen posts for their U.S. blog. That blog (of course) will have no affiliation with 1WineDude.com apart from the guy writing the articles (me) and is going to be hosted separately. I actually don’t even have a log-in for the site yet, but the Portuguese approach things in a manner that is… well… let’s just a bit more laid back than what we Type-A, anal-retentive, uptight East Coasters are used to seeing.
Since I’ve been totally transparent since day one on this blog, and within the Going Pro series of articles in particular, I wanted to give you all the skinny on this gig of mine.
Let’s start by telling you that for the duration of my contract with said producer, there are two aspects of the contract that I hold as supremely important in governing how this deal is gonna go down:
- I’m not allowed to enter into any similar contracts with any other Portuguese wine producers (makes sense, but let’s just say there isn’t exactly a long line of Portuguese-speaking PR types knocking down my door), and
- The producer has agreed not to be mentioned in any context whatsoever (name, reference to wines, etc.) on 1WineDude.com (or my facebook and twitter accounts) for the duration of the contract.
That last condition was mine, and it serves as the “firewall” between what I’ll be doing specifically for their blog and the independent coverage of wine that I provide here…
Why am I doing this? Because the money is good and it’s an example of how people making a name for themselves in the world of on-line media can get exposed to opportunities they never would have envisioned or pursued on their own; there’s opportunity to learn a sh*tload about the Portuguese wine scene and up my global wine IQ; and it can be done as a completely separate endeavor to 1WineDude.com, keeping the necessary distance between them to ensure that 1WD content remains independent.
Will there be nay-sayers tossing out the “sell-out!” tag in my direction as a result of this? Probably, but I’m not sure the arguments would stand up to logical scrutiny (if I thought they would, I wouldn’t even be taking this gig!) and so I’m willing to take that risk. If there’s a conflict of interest there then it’s going to be so subliminal that I’d need a pricey therapist to help me identify it!
In fact, I have mixed feelings about the exclusion condition tat I added to the contract, because these people make some very good wine; in a way it sucks that I can’t share those recommendations with you here in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But it seemed to me the safest way to approach it and so that’s why I added the contractual condition – and since it’s signed then that’s how things gotta be. It should go without saying, but I probably need to emphasize this anyway: my contract for this gig has no bearing on 1WineDude.com whatsoever – so you’ll be getting the same poorly-edited, shot-carelessly-from-the-hip, dime-store philosophizing wine coverage here that you’ve come to expect, with no editorial influence from ANY wine producers.
And so you won’t really be hearing any more about the gig here apart from occasional references in the context of my Going Pro series (i.e., if it turns out the gig totally sucks then you’ll get to read about the experience here in all of its sordid detail, apart from mentioning the producer’s name… until the contract term expires, that is!). I don’t anticipate anything like that happening, however – they (along with the PR agency) seem to have their act together so I might have to write fiction about how they made me sleep in scorpion-infested tents just to make it interesting. We’ll see.
This post has been… let’s politely call introspective so as not to hurt my feelings… BUT because I can’t help but to be transparent I wanted to make sure that you heard all of this here first, rather than stumbling upon something I wrote on a producer’s blog and thought “uhm… WTF?!??” As always, I welcome your thoughts (unless they’re about your digestion or personal hygiene issues)!