Happy birthday to Vinography… It’s been nine years of wine blogging for Alder Yarrow, and a few good tricks and habits have been developed over the last nine years. That’s obvious to me from my deck chair.

It’s 20 years later, from the time when I segued from FM radio PR to wine PR. In the past 20 years, I’ve (or course) seen a lot. Recently, though, I just saw the best of the best. I have to admit that the new breed of wine writers, who’ve been established through social media, blew in a re-invigoration to some very stale corners of this business. Working both sides of the coin, most days, I get to see how everyone’s operating.

One of my clients suggested that I get a hold of Vinography, wanting to send Alder Yarrow some samples. That would be easy for me to do, so I sent Alder an Email. What he sent back to me is as good as it gets for being organized and concise, which includes his own writing flair… A blog post that doesn’t exist, but could easily be the best post ever for understanding wine PR….

I’m not going to give you all the details. That’s something you have to organize on your own. But, with Alder’s permission, I can give you some of his pointers… things that I find especially as his ‘best advice.”

First of all, he does thank you for reaching out. (I’ve always found Alder to be very thoughtful, so no surprise here; and, it’s a good lesson in PR, for those who don’t begin an answer to a query this way.)

People don’t generally understand that if we’re blogging, we’re not being paid. When I’m blogging about my clients, for instance, that work doesn’t go to them as billable hours. I have to separate the two, to have both sides of this coin I’m on stay shiny… Alder has described it this way:

Vinography is not my full time job, this means that I tend to only write about the wines that I find outstanding.

What I like most about Alder’s statement is his commitment to write about what he likes, versus trashing any brand. I see a few new wine bloggers who enjoy the trashing process. I know that will ultimately lead to their not being as relevant as someone like Alder.

SIDEBAR: Who really likes a sour puss for very long? It wears on us.

I can also tell you, having had a client who advertised with a major publication and got a very, very low score for one of its wines, this kind of a tarnish on the relationship doesn’t cause any future goodwill. This is regardless of the fact that the magazine wants to stay “honest.” I can suggest, knowing how I felt when it happened, that honesty wasn’t “always” the best policy in this kind of an instance.

Next on my hit parade:

Because of the volume of samples I receive… please do not ask me for status updates…

Clients love it when you demonstrate that you’ve been dogging writers, about whether or not they’ve reviewed the client’s samples. Writers, on the other hand, hate it… So, what to do? Go with what the writer wants. I once had a client that got a great story in Wine Enthusiast. He immediately wanted me to write a press release about it and send it to Wine Spectator. I refused. Why? It would not only kill that brand in Wine Spectator’s eye (as being very insensitive), but it would have also killed my career (for being an idiot). I’d rather lose a client than to lose a great writing resource. If a client can’t “trust my expertise, why are we even together?” is the question I’ve asked myself a few time.

What about the wine once it’s tasted? Alder says,

I try to pour as few samples down the drain as possible. Instead I tend to taste through a bunch of samples at once, and then bring them to a large party.

Samples are very expensive… As I noted in the beginning of this blog post, Alder’s very thoughtful. Most people wonder why a writer needs two samples, when they’re reviewing wine. The wine could be corked, oxidized, or one might even break in delivery. It’s happened to me a few times; both with clients’ wines, and also receiving them.

Finally, the environmental message, which – by the way – is a similar chant for my writing friend Paul Gregutt:


Nuff said. Please stop using this horribly wasteful and environmentally unfriendly material. It doesn’t compact, it is very difficult to recycle, and there are MANY more environmentally friendly options out there.

These are a few great PR tips that every winery should consider, as you navigate the crowded waters of wine brands with a PR plan.



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