15-03-2016

Transparency in wine journalism

Overall, it feels like wine is being made more approachable with countless websites, books, and indeed, people trying to distill down what is ironically a very simple thing to make. Despite this, at the top-end there is has grown a ridiculous luxury level to wine and most likely due to the prices, it has attracted fraud and many dishonest practices. The Rudy Kurniawan saga was the most well-known to date but there have been countless others such as the collapse and now FBI investigation of the wine shop, Premier Cru in Berkeley.

I’m not sure if it’s the amounts of money trading hands or the fact that wine prices are arbitrary given that a $1,000 bottle of wine doesn’t cost 100x more to produce than a $10 bottle of wine. Or that there has become a “lifestyle” around wine and skeezy segments of society find that they want to be part of it, such as shown in the Kurniawan case.

It’s for this that I’ve been enjoying The Wine Doctor lately because he writes honestly and has put up a Disclosures posting on his website. This may seem pedantic or unnecessary but I would argue that in this day and age, it’s crucial to anyone who wants to be taken even the slightest bit seriously in terms of wine writing. Lord, even at the level of Master of Wine there have been fraudsters. I feel disclosing everything you can helps to give context and depth to someone whose opinions you’re deciding to trust in terms of wine to buy.

Inspired by Dr. Chris’s posting, I’ve included a new Disclosures page on this site. Again, this may seem over the top, but I’m often finding that a lot of people don’t know where I derive my income from and may look at me in a strange light due to this. That’s a fair thing to wonder and in the interest of transparency, I have this page and intend to update it as things change.

I hope others out there see it as worthwhile because it allows anyone with pause to fact check who you are and what your background is as far, far too many people pop out of the woodwork one day and decry themselves an “expert” in wine with either financial or personal gain in mind. Ultimately, we should arrive to a point where if no one has a page outlining this on their site, then they should be immediately suspect. Even if you’ve mentioned it in bit and pieces, you really need to have it consolidated in one single post that’s easy to find and read.

That’s my two centims on the matter. Anyone with more questions can always ask me anything, except for the recipe to excellent pancakes in Metric as that’s over here.