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PR Advice,Public Relations,Wine,Winemaker

Winemaker trepidation is pretty common when it comes to wine writers + some advice

Winemaker trepidation is pretty common when it comes to wine writers

Working with tons of winemakers, through my 20 years of being in the wine business, I’ve seen many winemakers fear what’s going to happen to their wines, once they’ve been sent for review. Tons of questions arise:

  • What if I get a bad score?
  • Will a bad score ultimately cost me my job?
  • Why do we even have to send out wines?
  • Can’t we just build an audience on our own without publicity?
  • Who cares what they have to say, anyway?
  • Who are they to tell me whether or not my wine is good?

Some advice

Let me start with something I read and believe in from the 1960s. It’s from the Desiderata:

  • … If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Everyone of us is born and has lived with different life experiences. We all have different palates; things we like and things we don’t like.

In many regards, we have to take each review with a grain of salt. We run with the good and let most of the bad simply go. If someone really trashes your wine, first of all, they’ve forgotten what mom had to say:

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” because you’ll burn a bridge that you may later wish you had… You never know…

What we marketing people run with are those comments that closely align with our own way of thinking. Those words become selling points. Wine pros who taste the wine, and agree with the assessment, will be persuaded by a positive endorsement and bring the wine into their wholesale house, retail shop, and/or restaurant. Consumers who like the words are also convinced to try the wine.

But… as I’ve written here before… people don’t have an unshopping list.”  Who has time for that? If a wine gets a bad review, unless the author is way off base and mean spirited in the process, let it go. It’s not going on an unshopping list. Unshopping lists don’t exist. With 10,000 brands flooding our wine world, it’s a drip into an already full bucket.

If negative reviews are consistent, then one has to rethink one’s play book, however. This, too, needs to be said.

So, assuming it’s one bad review, let it go… and in the process remember: If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Answering those questions above

  • What if I get a bad score?
    • Covered above.
    • Get over it.
  • Will a bad score ultimately cost me my job?
    • Only if you’ve let your skills go so badly that you need a wake-up call.
    • That, too, can be a good thing, preparing you for your next great job.
      • Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom. – Phyllis Theroux.
      • Think positively and get ready to move on.
  • Why do we even have to send out wines?
    • To get those great talking points that are needed in sales.
    • There’s only one reason we send out wines for review of any kind… for SALES support.
  • Can’t we just build an audience on our own without publicity?
    • Slowly, ever so slowly
    • If, at all….
  • Who are they to tell me whether or not my wine is good?
    • They’re someone trying to make a living, through their own opinions via their audience.
    • They’re also a potential link to your future success.
  • Who cares what they have to say, anyway?
    • You do, or you wouldn’t take offense.
    • Admit that to yourself, and then you can get over it; because, you really shouldn’t care that someone else has a different palate, and that’s ALL it is.

 

 

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8 Responses to “Winemaker trepidation is pretty common when it comes to wine writers + some advice”

  1. Right on! Great analysis, Jo.

  2. J Winery says:

    Brilliantly expressed Jo. We agree with Steve, great analysis!

  3. Mike Brown says:

    Thanks for the clear-cut advice. While I get great positive feedback all the time in the tasting room, unfortunately Trade can’t hear it. Putting wines out to writers will raise visibility. How do you compare the value of competition placements to wine writers?

  4. Jo, every winery should read this. The answers are spot on!

  5. […] Winemaker trepidation is pretty common when it comes to wine writers + some advice […]

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