On the rules of wineblogging

Two weeks ago I was invited on an organized trip to Spain by the promotional department of the D.O. Rueda. I spent three days in the region visiting wineries and discovering the possibilities of Verdejo, Rueda’s star grape. When I got home I started thinking. Yes, I had enjoyed myself, yes, I had the opportunity to discover interesting wines and yes, there were also some disappointments. What was I now supposed to do with this experience? If I wrote an article on it focusing on all that’s fine and dandy with the region, I would increase the possibility of receiving another invitation in the future. If I focused on the broader characteristics, which may not be as positive as the promotional department would like, this may very well have been my first and last sponsored trip.

People start a blog for all kinds of reasons. Some want to become famous; others think it will entitle them to free stuff and some just want a channel through which they can share their passion with a larger audience. I’d like to think that I started this blog because I simply love wine and I can’t shut up about it. It’s up to readers to decide if my writings have value for them but I would like to think so. The wine writers that I actively follow in their writings and recommendations are the ones who show that their opinion is 100% their own. Examples include Chris Kissack (www.thewinedoctor.com) or Andrew Jefford (www.andrewjefford.com) as they offer detailed disclosures of the earnings or benefits derived from their writings. This is the goal here as well, focusing on transparency, honesty and objectivity.

Okay, it’s only been a couple of months since I started writing, but I believe that it’s important to establish some ground rules early on. One of the essential rules is that I post articles that I want to post. This can only be achieved through complete independence. Accepting free trips, free bottles or invitations to exclusive tastings may all be fine for a while but I do not think that this is sustainable. Objectivity is key to credibility and if I am in some way externally motivated to write something I can’t fully endorse, I throw that out the window.

I will write about wine in a constructive manner. You may have noticed in my reports on the producers of Franken that I did not discuss all wines tasted at each domain. The focus will be on the wines that had a positive impact on me. Of course this does not mean that the wines I did not mention are bad wines. There may have been wines that I did not like because they simply weren’t to my taste, but they still represent someone’s hard work and livelihood. I am not in the business of ridiculing or degrading people’s efforts. If I discover something that I do not like, I will simply not spend any more time on it than necessary. I will never include scores for wines as I feel that this is often a superficial way of judging that does not necessarily do justice to a wine, but I will expand on this in the future.

This is also the reason why this blog will not become an encyclopedia of tasting notes. There are plenty of far more knowledgeable writers out there who can offer you their opinion on literally every wine produced in the world, but this will not be the case here. When I read magazines like Decanter, I find myself reading the panel tasting reports but skipping over the actual tasting notes. I am interested in discovering a region or a vintage in general, upon which I can find my own way through the wines that could interest me.

All benefits, be it in trips, merchandise, gifts or anything else will be properly disclosed. You may have noticed that I added a section on “the rules” to the left where I will summarize this post and were you can find yearly disclosures as well. I did go to Rueda and it didn’t cost me anything. Will I write about it? I honestly don’t know yet. I think that I will eventually but that I will then again stress the circumstances in which I discovered the region in order to let the reader judge my posts without holding anything back.

Right, this may not have been the most interesting subject to read about but I kept it as short as possible. I do believe that this is essential information to communicate and hope that it will convince all of you that I did put some more thought into this than simply thinking “hey, why shouldn’t I write about wine?”.

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