Download &
print (pdf)

A Wine Writer’s Dilemmas

At times I am faced with dilemmas in dealing with wineries. What would you do?

• A winery submits wines for review. I review the wines in good faith and publish the reviews online. The winemaker contacts me after the reviews have been published and asks that the reviews be stricken from the website because the wording and/or scores did not meet their expectations. What would you do? I complied by removing the reviews, but would never accept wines for review from the winery again.

• A winery submits one or more wines for review. I find one or more of the wines are of poor quality for any number of reasons and would have assigned the wines very low score(s). What would you do? I contact the winery and explain my findings and give them the option to request that the reviews not be published, a request the winery always answers in the affirmative.

• A winery submits two bottles of a wine for review. One bottle is flawed due to any number of reasons. The second bottle is fine. What would you do? I usually publish the review of the stellar bottle. Still, I am always concerned that I should be alerting the reader to the possibility that some bottles of this wine may have a flaw.

• The writer makes an appointment in advance to meet the winery owner at his winery and taste. When the writer shows up at the appointed time, the owner is not at the winery, and leaves no regrets afterwords. What would you do? I never went back to that winery again.

• Wineries continue to ship wine in unseasonably hot weather. Yesterday and today in October, the temperature was 96º-97º F at my delivery point in Southern California, and I nevertheless received incoming wine shipments to my wine locker. Mind you, many deliveries on hot days are not sent overnight or by special FedEx ColdPak shipment, but sent with either no heat protection or a small cold pack in the center of the shipment (a token attempt to protect the wines). What would you do? If I choose to review the wines, I am not assured that the bottles are pristine or affected by heat (unless the cork is pushed up or their is leakage indicating heat stress). I could determine how quickly the wines were sent as well as when they were sent and delivered, and coordinate this with the weather, and review wines not suspected of significant heat exposure, but this is a time-consuming task. I could refuse to review wines delivered to me between July and October unless sent by protected shipping. I really don’t know what to do.

Previous article:
Pinot Briefs

Print entire newsletter