MichaelPinkusWineReview is pleased to bring you the OntarioWineReview Newsletter:

A bi-weekly newsletter dedicated to helping you discover Ontario's best Wines, Wineries and Events while keeping you abreast of issues that affect the wine industry in Ontario and around the world.


Newsletter : The Free Bottle of Wine (vol. 23-05)

26 May 2023

May 2023 ...This month, as I was looking over the wines to select for this edition, I noticed that some of them were already sold out. I wanted to include them, just so that you are aware that if you see the current vintage there is a pedigree to uphold.

In the comments section, we're going to be talking about free wine, and how it affects scores and people's perception about wine, and not just any people, those influencers and would be writers.

Finally, there are links to the videos, articles, and podcasts that surround my universe. Hope you enjoy them all.

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 ...

The Free Bottle of Wine

There are times that I think to myself “this wine writing gig is not worth it”. What a terrible profession. Full of liars, cheats, and charlatans all in it for themselves. Some people will do anything for a bottle of wine. They'll sell themselves out. Sell themselves short. Give any score required. All for a bottle of wine.

Over the years I have been approached by so many events, PR companies, and magazines who’ve said things like: “Come do a lecture”, “Write for our magazine” – “We’ll give you some exposure” - of course none of this is paid, they make empty promises, the number one being: “people will send you wine”, as if that should be incentive enough.

The number one function of being a wine writer/journalist is having a thirst for knowledge and learning and then to share that with others. Wine is an exhaustive profession: each region/country has something special about it; each vintage is different; each wine should be different, it's a never-ending learning curve. Sure, we come with assumptions and preconceived notions for some aspects, like what a Shiraz should taste like, or how Riesling should be made - but sometimes even those notions are shattered by intrepid winemakers who thought way outside the box. Writing is not for you if all you want out of it is free booze and thinking inflating your score will get you noticed ... That works for a while, but sooner or later, you will be found out and exposed; at least I'd like to believe that. Honesty and truth should mean something in this world - high ideals I know, I have been compared ot Don Quixote in this aspect but I still believe it.

"Free" should not equate to high scores. A writer with integrity will not be doling out 90s like they are water at a marathon, and yet everybody wants their '90s - the profession is now awash in 90 points and 90-point wines like never before. Is wine making getting better? Maybe. Are there more writers and influencers looking to make a name for themselves? That is for certain - and that means a high score is easily achieved; if you know who to give that free bottle too. It's very much the same as awards ... Every winery knows the show to give their bottle to if they want an award to show off – the same is becoming true for scores.

Let’s look at it from the winery point of view. The stories I have heard about how many people approach them on a weekly basis asking for that free bottle - or worse “Can you give us wine for a bachelorette party?” “Can you give us free wine for our wedding?” “Can you just give us some free wine to give away in a draw?” The justification: we’ll help sell your wine. People just naturally assume that wine is free and that exposure is all that a winery wants. Ontario wineries are well past that now. What they need to be doing is making inroads in owning their own market, and convert more restaurants and consumers to Ontario product; but that’s another topic for another time.

Look, and this one’s for all the influencers out there … it's a bottle of wine. Stop selling yourself out for it. You can get good wine for under $20 from pretty much anywhere in the world these days. The problem is something my brother used to say about beer: “the best beer is a free beer”. The same seems to go for a bottle of wine; and scores reflect that to the detriment of the truth.

If I could tell the younger generation anything, from a grizzled old veteran of 20-plus years in this industry, it's this: Just because it’s free doesn’t make it a 90-point-plus bottle of wine and don’t turn yourself or your scoring system into a pretzel to make it so. In other words: don't sell yourself short. It's just a bottle of wine. You shouldn’t care if they come free to your door, but if you do good, honest work they will. Your self-worth, your self-esteem, and your integrity is worth more than a free bottle of wine. YOU are worth more than a free bottle of wine.


  Click on any wine name to see the full review:

Closson Chase 2020 Pinot Noir, Vineyard ... (****+)

Henry of Pelham 2020 Gamay Estate ... (****)

Foreign Affair 2020 Dreams ... (****)

Malivoire 2020 Chardonnay, Moira ... (****)


  The Non-Ontario Selection ...

Vidigal 2021 Porta 6 White &

Vidigal 2021 Porta 6 Lisboa VR




--- Highlighted Videos This Week ---

Ontario Wines ...
Lighthall 2020 Merlot
De Simone 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

"International Wines" ...
Banfi 2017 Brunello - Vigna Marrucheto
Masi 2018 Campofiorin


      See the full newsletter with video, side bar links and more - click below:

Ontario Reviews: The Wines You Need to Get (vol. 23-05)



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