Wine PR Rules #33 and #34

How Not To Practice Wine Public Relations: Rule #33 and #34


Jamie Goode relates a hilarious, but sad, example of a PR Person for a large UK Grocery chain who contacted wine writer Tim Atkin of the Observer in London asking if Mr. Atkin would be interested in occasionally quoting a Master of Wine in his columns. The PR person offered all the strong arguments for including the thoughts of a Master of Wine, a title one earns only after demonstrating significant wine knowledge. Yet, apparently the PR person didn’t think to do their homework. Mr. Atkin holds a Master of Wine title himself.

For anyone out there at wineries or other business who are thinking of contacting the media to pitch a story, it’s always a good idea to learn something about the person you are about to contact. Read what they’ve written. Find out where their words are published.


I was talking with a wine writer yesterday. Somehow the discussion turned to reviews and the 100 point scale. This writer is someone who is on every wine media list every created in the past 15 years. He reported to me that on a regular basis he gets press releases from wineries announcing they got 90 something points from another reviewer.

"What are they thinking? That I’m going to write about what’s some other reviewer has said about their wines."

Here’s the tip: Don’t ask a writer to write about what another writer has written. Alright?

5 Responses

  1. Lenn - February 22, 2006

    I’m not even “big time” but I get those same press releases…wanting me to write about so and so giving their wine a 92 score. Funny really.
    Very few wineries in this neck of the woods have quality PR representation.

  2. Jathan - February 22, 2006

    Press releases are immoderately used these days.

  3. Mesha - February 23, 2006

    As always great rules to follow.
    How about listing the first 32 rules.
    I would appreciate it.

  4. Ben - February 24, 2006

    Call me old fashioned but isn’t calling attention to someone else’s review the same as linking blogs? I mean when you guys write a review on your site you specifically ask for comments. When a foolish PR person sends you a copy of Joe Blow’s review isn’t she really asking you to notice a wine that she is excited about? Like you guys do for free? I understand that the commercial aspect of the PR person taints it but isn’t it better than them going to your site and saying “OOOhhh I love that wine…(umm that my company makes) 😉 Just asking…

  5. tom - February 24, 2006

    Ben: I think you hit the difference on the head. At least one of them. The PR person for XYZ Winery sends a press release to Joe Winewriter about another person’s great review of their wine. What are they expecting? I suppose some just want to let the writer know that other people think this wine is great, you might too. But in the end, the release is so useless to the writer that receives it that it probably does more harm than good.
    As for the PR person who comments on their own wineries wine that is reviewed in a blog, I think there is a way of doing that and adding value not only to the review and the blog, but also to the brand they are representing.

Leave a Reply