For some reason (maybe I look trustworthy?), I’ve had a disproportionately large number of conversations with winemakers in which they divulge to me that they are upset about a myth/misunderstanding/half-truth/whatever being perpetuated by members of the wine media.
This could be things such as –
1) inaccuracies regarding long-held notions about a growing region, or
2) the supposedly (but grossly oversimplified ) poor performance of an overall vintage or a particular grape in a particular place, or
3) someone getting the historical facts about a producer’s or region’s history wrong, etc., etc., etc.
The not-so-subtle implication in those conversations is that wine media are abusing their positions of power in perpetuating these inaccuracies, misinformed opinions, and the like.
Far be it from me to disagree with these moderately-pissed-off folks. In the vast majority of cases, they have excellent points (hey, do we need yet another example of a wine from a supposedly “poor” vintage outperforming and outlasting wines from a supposedly “superior” vintage?). And they are usually much bigger than I am (even the girls).
BUT (and you knew that was coming)…
These same people (most of them, anyway) fail to see the hypocrisy in which their legitimate complaints are steeped. And as we’re about to see, those complaints are absolutely dripping in it, like a pair of feet are dripping with juice after they’ve have been stomping Port grapes in the lagares all day…
Most of these same complainers will also (quite understandably) go to great lengths to promote good reviews/mentions/scores/etc. from the very same publications/websites/media outlets about which they are complaining.
Hmmm… What. The. F*CK?!??…
If you’re upset about wine media perpetuating something that isn’t accurate, then you’re upset about them in some ways abusing their influence and power. The same influence and power which YOU are responsible for giving to them.
What did/do you think they’ll do with the power that you give to them? If “abuse it to the betterment of their pocket linings” isn’t your answer, then you may have some issues, like still believing that there are unicorns, and they can fly, and pure cocaine spurts out of their horns.
Sorry, fine folk, but this approach makes absolutely no sense. It’s wine’s great, quiet hypocrisy that brands and producers will only complain about the abuse of power in words, and not by exercising their options in deeds.
You want to take the power back? Only use those scores when you absolutely have to (with lazy importers and distributors, snobby collectors, whatever). Otherwise, you can, if you so choose, simply not play their game as much as they want you to play it. There are other ways to generate buzz these days, and they have the dual benefit of helping you both strengthen consumer / customer bonds and sell wine.