I just received an email from a winery’s PR person telling me how so-and-so magazine gave their wine this really great score and included the wine in one of those best-of lists.
I have a few questions for winery PR staff, and I truly do not mean to sound flip:
I write about wine, I review wine. What purpose does it serve for the winery to send a critic a press release telling them how another critic rated their wine?
What am I to do with this “90-some points” information?
I am familiar with the producer and their vineyards. I have visited the property and interviewed the vineyard and cellar crew. It is likely that I can say more about the vineyard and the wines than the critic in the aforementioned magazine could.
To set the record straight, my ego is not slighted. I believe in the quality of this particular label’s wines and, while I may have a different approach to rating wines and tend to value somewhat different characteristics in wine than the quoted critic, it is likely that the wine in question deserves the accolades.
However, this is a common occurrence. Winery PR staff send out emails boasting of the newest 90-some point score. So my beef is not with the producer or the individual PR person. It is with this practice of sending out alerts to people who review wines, telling them that someone else who reviews wines (possibly with a different standard of wine assessment) has awarded some great score or rating to a wine.
It is possible that my email is on a general distribution list or on a general “wine biz people” list. However, presuming that the wineries who send me these emails have some sort of “media” or “press” email list, I have to ask: do they notify Parker when Kramer says something nice about their wine (or vice versa?).
If you are a wine PR professional and want to get attention for your brand, offer the writer a media kit (sans scores) or ask if they want to taste your wines – either when the winemaker is in their area, the next time the writer is in your area or offer to send them some samples – just keep the scores out of the media copy.
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