- Category: Newsletter Archives
Wow, did December blow through quickly. As I am writing this, there's a storm a-brewing outside my window and the weatherman is telling us all to stay indoors, at least for the next two or three days anyway - but that's alright, Christmas is right around the corner and there is nothing better than warming yourself around a fire, or in a house, with friends and family around to keep you warm. In all the excitement of the month, and those great Toronto Life articles I had a hand in creating (Bargain Wines / Gift Wines), I almost forgot to send my own holiday wishes to you.
So here we are, the last month of the year. Who knows what 2023 will bring. All I know is that it is time to pull out that bottle you've been saving for "that special occasion", open it and drink it, because the special occasion is now - the holidays - and whether you share it or drink it all by yourself, it's still a special bottle of wine and you deserve it.
As for what follows is this week's newsletter: there's a new commentary directed to all those influencers out there from a guy who has been down the rocky road of wine writing. There are also wine reviews, video and podcast links and all the other good stuff you've come to expect, now in a much more compact fashion.
Happy Holidays and thanks for reading.
Please consider a donation to my Patreon page to support my work - any amount is appreciated: you can find my Patreon page here.
Musings from a Wine Soaked Mind ...
Money for Nothing and Your Reviews for Free
On a recent episode of Two Guys Talking Wine (this one), we reviewed some wines from Culmina, a winery located in British Columbia, “live to tape” as they say. Meaning, we didn't discuss them beforehand, we just tasted them live on air. Two of the wines did not meet my standards and I gave them a thumbs down; my podcast partner was thumbs down on one, a medium thumb on a second, and a thumbs up on the 3rd. We were honest, straightforward, and had reasoning for our opinions.
I'm sharing this anecdote because the idea of taking money for reviews has come back into focus. Could I take money for reviews? Absolutely. Would I feel good about myself? Absolutely not. Though my bank account would probably be a lot healthier.
I am always suspicious of reviews when I know that the reviewer, or the entity, quoted is taking money for their reviews. The other problem is no one has to disclose whether they are taking money or not. So I am left wondering: is it an honest review? Or is it reviewed just because money exchanged hands? Is this why the score is so damned high? Or is it actually that good? So many questions, so few answers - and this is something as consumers we should know; because I, like you consume this content on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but I don’t just believe everything I read or see - I am so full of questions; especially after I taste it myself.
Recently, I was approached by an online wine seller to review their wines. They wanted to throw some money my way, I told them they could advertise on my website, but that does not mean I will give them better reviews. I think they gave me the wink and nod and sent me the wines. They advertised for all of one month, I suspect they pulled because of the six wines they sent, only three got fully reviewed and published. I sent them all six reviews, but three of them I panned completely. The next month when it came time to renew their advertising, they said they “did not have the money”. I could have easily bumped my scores to make them respectable and take their money, but unfortunately, I have integrity and I refuse to be bought.
I'm not saying all this to make myself look better, or feel better, or justify my actions ... I am saying this so that you, my readers, know that when you read a review it's an honest review and not something that is paid for. When you listen to the podcast, and you hear a review, or a comment about a wine, no money has exchanged hands to make that happen. And when you watch one of my video reviews the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own, all the while money has remained in the pocket of the winemaker, agent or anyone else involved with the selling of that wine. Could I use the money? Absolutely – but the price of integrity and reputation has no monetary value, those are my feelings – others may not share them; but I sleep quite well at night. Thanks for reading.
Click on any wine name to see the full review:
Cloudsley Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir ... (****+)
De Simone Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon ... (**** ½)
Henry of Pelham 2020 Pinot Noir ... (****)
Hinterbrook 2017 Cabernet Franc ... (****+)
Meldville 2019 Chardonnay, Barrel Select ... (****+)
Plus : The Non-Ontario Selection ...
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2019 Artemis - Cabernet Sauvignon ... (**** ½+) - California
--- Highlighted Videos This Week ---
See the full newsletter with video, side bar links and more - click below: