Who’s on “The List” at any wine event?

First, it’s the primary influencers. They’re invited and the hosts are happy to have them. They’ll attend, and today’s social media responses don’t even have to wait for a paper to be printed (dinosaur), or a blog story to be written (so yesterday). Today, it’s Instagram and the onus is on you, the observing world, to write the dialogue. And so, the following evolved among people related to wine.

The Art of Being on “The List”

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley (winepredator.com): I live 60 or so miles (1-3 hour drive) from downtown LA. I am on a number of lists and get invited to events, trade and consumer alike. Tomorrow I was invited to one, a really cool Rhone wine event with seminars and more, and then I learned about another. I figured it was worth trying to do both: one trade and one consumer. A friend in the trade who helps me with food and notes for my blog is going with me to the Rhone event, and they are excited to have us. At the other event, they will admit me 90 minutes into the consumer tasting and my colleague would pay full price or I could leave her on the street while I go to the event. Am I out of line with my response? (Yes I sent it already…)

Sarah May Grunwald (Taste Georgia) I don’t know the nature of the invite, but honestly don’t know why you would think your friend is entitled to something she is not invited to. As a business owner in wine/food travel, I get media requests all the time from people who want to come to Georgia. It is expensive to organise events, let alone travel. When I did some wine tastings in the states last year, I invited a few people (some from this group) to the tastings, and then the requests came in to allow partners, friends, etc. I am just mentioning it because it is not just one person who is asking for some sort of favor, it is usually many. If they organized the event to be a consumer event and organized it in a specific way I don’t really understand why you would think that you’d get special treatment just because you traveled. See clarification from Sarah at the end of this stream, for her thinking. It’s worth it.

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley: I think you make a good point Sarah, and I don’t usually ask for a plus one because usually no one can go. And when I have asked for a plus one, it’s never been a big deal. But in this case, the two of us were already going to be in LA a few miles away. I wasn’t going to ditch her –leave her on the street or in a bar somewhere — to go their event.

Sarah May Grunwald: It is totally understandable, I just wanted to give you my perspective from the other side.

Jo Diaz: When I put on events, I always allow a partner to attend. It’s good PR… But then, that’s my first job, and holding events is my second. Bringing someone with me to someone else’s event also allows for a designated driver. Can you afford to have a DUI professionally? I can’t. Steve Heimoff taught me that a long time ago, and I’m glad he did. I’ve always loved having you at events. I will even arrange for childcare, or send a car for someone special.

The Cost of Being on “The List”

Here’s the one thing missing from most organizers’ understanding, if they aren’t a writer:

  • Journalists
    • Paid to travel
    • Paid to write.
    • They have benefits: health care, food costs, mileage, etc.
  • Bloggers (As a publicist, I’m paid over $100/hour, so when I go to an event that’s in San Francisco, for instance, here’s what I begin to lose, with none of the journalist benefits
    • 3 hours of travel time = $450
    • Gas and mileage on my car = $30
    • Bridge toll = $7
    • Dinner = $40 (very modest, right, in SF?)
      • This is $527, so far.
    • 3 hours of the event = $450. So, before I even begin to write my blog story, it’s rounded to $1,000.
    • Then I spend 5 hours writing the story… Yes, I takes me that long to write over 1,000 words that have been researched, photos processed, story developed, links provided.
      • That’s $750.
      • Total, rounded = $1,750.

The organizers get a value of $1,750 from me. If they can’t give me a second ticket, I can’t afford to take a day off.

Clarification from Sarah May Grunwald

Sarah May Grunwald: There is also the other side. When people are posting blogs like “How to travel and eat for free” etc.

It is one thing to invite, and keep those things in mind. But I literally get at least 5 emails a day from “bloggers” asking for free trips. These aren’t people who I have heard of half the time, and they just happen to want to come to Georgia (the country). So they think their 1200 followers on Instagram merits me spending $3000 on them.

And, this one is yet another story on “Who has the nerve to asks for trips?”