Wine Samples…Not For Me, But…
This is a post that I think I've written for at least the 3rd year in a row. I write it annually because it's important and becoming even more important as wine blogs take on more relevance to the industry.
Main Message: FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog does not review wines.
Key Message: Do what you do best and leave the rest to the experts.
The number of emails I get asking if I'd like to receive a media sample of wine is up to about 5 or 6 per week. In addition to these messages I receive probably four to five unsolicited wine samples monthly. The message I send to those who inquire first is this:
"Thank you very much for thinking of Fermentation for your media samples program. However, we don't review wines at Fermentation. So, your sample would probably go to much better use if it is sent to another wine blogger who does review wines. However, I want to thank you for thinking of me as well as thinking of wine bloggers in general as you consider your wine sampling program."
Although I think I have a pretty good, well-exercised palate and although I think I write pretty good tasting notes that might help guide someone looking to learn more about a wine, the fact is there are far more capable, experienced and enthusiastic wine reviewers than I in both the wine blogosphere and traditional media. They are the people that need, deserve and should receive media samples of wine from wineries, importers and publicists.
My hope is that wine bloggers in particular will happily accept these samples and review them where it makes sense to them. Clearly there is no obligation to review a wine that is sent nor is there an obligation for any reviewer to write about a sample that arrives at their door. But where bloggers who do review wines are concerned, I urge you to accept these samples, and do so happily.
If it is the ambition of a wine blogger to become a resource for their readers where wine quality is concerned, then accepting wine samples, and not standing on ethical concerns in turning them down, is probably the only way you will ever obtain a broad selection of wines to turn your readership on to or away from—unless you have remarkably deep pockets.
As for wineries and importers and publicists, I can't see why you would not include wine bloggers on your media samples lists. If you don't, it's an oversight on your part that is hurting your employer or client. The only thing you need to do is the research to determine which bloggers accept wine samples and to determine what their focus is where reviews are concerned. This is the same work you've done for years where traditional wine media is concerned.
So, in conclusion, to those of you how have inquired of me as to whether or not I'd like a sample and to those of you who have sent unsolicited samples to me, THANK YOU very much. But more importantly, thank you for recognizing the importance of the wine blogosphere to the world of consumer wine education and enjoyment. However, you will get far more distance by aiming your samples as those wine bloggers that take on the serious task of reviewing wine.