“Can you send your review to me about my wine, so I can market myself?”

I’ve just been reading Restaurant Wine, and reflecting on what’s wrong with this question. Everything is wrong with it, from the publisher, writer, and my perspective.

When I begin with clients, I encourage them to purchase subscriptions to every major wine magazine to which they’ll be sending in samples, or wanting a feature about themselves at some point in time. (There’s never a guarantee that it will happen, but how embarrassing it should be for anyone if it does happen and you’re not a subscriber.)

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. These magazines all depend on subscriptions, in order to make their time more valuable… Most especially if they DON’T take advertising dollars.

You might argue, “Well, I sent them my wine and I had to pay for not only those samples, but also the shipper, the staff to get the samples out, and for the shipping fees. Then I have to wait three months before anything is published, so my time is money, too.”


Get over it. If you get a great recommendation, you’re going to make a ton of money from that one review. And,  a subscription for something within the $100 range of sending out your samples is a pittance by comparison.

If you think wine writers are rich, with only a very few exceptions, you’d be wrong. They’re just working to make a living, and need support for their words… because, their publishers aren’t making them rich, by any stretch of the imagination. Writers (me included) are just worker bees.

SIDEBAR: I was reminded of being a worker bee after I had just finished ghost writing a book for someone. She was also expecting me to do all of the marketing of the book after it was written (free). When she changed my title for the book from “If Only Walls Could Talk, ” to some innocuously sounding self help book (and the book was far from self help), my heart just wasn’t into the next process of marketing it. I told her, “Kay (made up name), it’s very difficult to market a book to a different database. My writers and publishers are all in the wine business, not the inn business. It’s going to take me a bit more time than communicating with wine writers.”

She shot this to me, without blinking an eye… “You are just a worka!” (I didn’t misspell it. She had an accent, and this is how it was yelled at me, in total truth.)

Okay, I wrote her book for nothing. It was a fun project, so I pretty much gave myself away for a few nights on the ocean, It was a process that took two years: a few nights of gathering content, and then the rest of the next two years were spent putting it all together, with complete layout of pages, images, numbers, etc. Everything totally done for her, for nothing (except for maybe a total of 10 nights in her inn), and I was just a worka? Considering all of this, I told her she was now on her own and moved on. I also asked to not have my name appear on her cover. It wasn’t my book…

So, as I reflect on working in tandem with people who don’t really appreciate what writers bring to the table, and working with them, I’m reminded of how important subscriptions are, and how they make the wine world go round and round… If I can help a fellow writer, I’m happy to oblige.

One such person I always appreciate helping is Ronn Wiegand, MS MW, of Restaurant Wine. He’s a brilliant restaurant wine marketer, and he does so much for wine sales “How To,” within the restaurant business. I was just reminded of this, as I read his issues 152, 153, and 154.

Restaurant Wine

Wine On-Premise 2014:  What to Do in a Flat Market?

Ronn: “Even so, there are specific areas in your wine program you can focus upon in order to drive incremental sales and profits—even in a flat market. Here are eight of them.” (Get the subscription… even if you’re a winery. If you’re in sales, what if you made these recommendations during a sales call? (#ValueAdded)

His focus on Dry Alsace Riesling

    • One of the world’s great white wine districts, Alsace is especially known for its outstanding dry Rieslings.
    • In his magazine for wine buyers, Ronn recommends 24 of them, most from the excellent 2011 vintage.
    • Germany’s VDP Introduces an Updated Vineyard Classifications

Ronn Wiegand’s wine recommendations are what wine buyers are depending upon, especially if a restaurateur can’t afford an on-premise Master Sommelier or Master of Wine.

These issues of Restaurant Wine focus on an extraordinary range of wines. From California, to Washington, Oregon, and New York in the USA, as well as 11 other countries, an impressive wine list could be created from Ronn’s 987 wine recommendations. These three issues represent fewer than 40 percent of the total wines tasted, including wines from the following producers (among others):

Restaurant Wine offers a stellar wine program…

From the US

Amici, Artezin, Ballentine, Beringer, Blackbird, Buty, Casey Flat, Chalone, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Claiborne & Churchill, Cobb, Conn Creek, Corison, Corley, Cornerstone, Crocker & Starr, Duckhorn, Firestone, Foley-Johnson, Folie a Deux, Greg Norman, Grgich Hills, Handley, Hess Collection, J. Lohr, J Vineyard, Jekel, Konstantin Frank, Kuleto, MacMurray Ranch, MacPhail, Merry Edwards, Michelle-Loosen, Monticello, Northstar, Patz & Hall, Pedroncelli, Provenance, Quivira, Ramey, River Road, Schug, Scott Family, Sebastiani, Silverado, St. Supery, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Sterling, Tablas Creek, Terra d’Oro, Three Rivers, Trefethen, Trinchero, Ventana, Whitehall Lane, William Hill, Wrath, etc.

From the rest of the world

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain…