Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Rules

There's a great brouhaha going on over at Dr. Vino's blog, encompassing Robert Parker and his minions, web board etiquette, hypocrisy, wine review policies, drinks journalism standards, freebies, press trips and a whole slew of stuff not found anywhere but the web. Take a look - I'll wait.........................................................................Good stuff, no? Of all the myriad topics, it's an off-shoot about samples, freebies, meals and press trips (especially from wine importer Joe Dressner) that causes me to write, just for clarity's sake, in blogging emulation of Dr. Vino, the esteemed Tyler Colman.

Here are my standards:

I write what I think. I recommend spirits, cocktails, bartenders, restaurants, shops, dishes, wines, chefs, regions, beers - anything, really - that I like. My opinion isn't based on a thing's cost, whether I pay for it or not, or any relationship I may have with people involved. Of course, saying that is like asserting that I'm unaffected by advertising and marketing; as much as I believe it, I know that no one resists being influenced by the surrounding world, except, of course, the sociopaths among us, and while I do have my moments, those moments usually don't occur when I'm writing. As much as I am able, I share my opinion as I find it, and pour down the drain or hand over to friends and strangers that which I don't like, don't consume, or don't want. I am paid by some publications for those opinions, and now publish many here.

So far, I'm looking for the good, rather than the bad. I can't taste everything, but do try to taste as much as I can, either at blind tastings, competitions, at events or at home, and with so much worth mentioning, that's what I'll focus on. To steal from Tyler, "Why? Because I’m a spineless writer piling on the praise bandwagon? No, instead I figure it would be a waste of my time writing it up and I would hate for you to remember that..." Ditto.

I have and probably will continue to travel on other peoples' dimes when invited and interested. "But surely that means you and your opinion is for sale, doesn't it?" It's not for me to explain or defend the system that sets barriers for those who can't, don't or won't work for a publication willing to underwrite their work or coverage. But it's naive to think that the ABSENCE of visible financial suasion from a chef, a vintner, a distiller, a company or any other source equates lack of bias or self-interest in coverage, or prevents against dishonest shilling by compromised hacks. Caveat emptor, folks, especially when it comes to the written word, on paper or screen. If the way I work means you don't trust what I say or write, you are fully entitled to think so. I even understand why you might. But I know it takes more than seven days on the wine road to get me to say something nice about things I don't like, and if you doubt it, perhaps there's a publicist who never saw that glowing article their client anticipated who would like to step forward and trash me. You know, just for the sake of my cred...

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya, my brother... people ask me if I get paid to write nice things and, sorry, my integrity is not for sale. Wine me, dine me, make me write bad checks, but if i don't truly like a product, i will never write that I do.

    A goddess has to have some standards, no? XO