Please note that anyone commenting on posts on this site does so under the knowledge that bad language, abuse and unsolicited spam (or even spam looking) comments will be deleted, however the site owner takes no legal responsibility for the moderation of any other comments (and also wants to encourage free flowing dialogue).
Some of the links on this website are “affiliate links” or paid links. This means if you click on an ad and purchase an item, I/we will receive an affiliate commission. The policy is strictly ‘review first, insert affiliate links later’ and the sheer volume of very negative reviews with affiliate links should indicate that there is no link between product reviews and availability. Ideally the link would go straight to the winery website but a man has got to eat. For picking which stockists, for example, I usually just pickout who is cheapest on a cursory Google search. I don’t have the time for much more!
Most wines are supplied as samples, provided for by wineries/PR companies/distributors etc. Otherwise they are tasted at dinners/tastings or occasionally wines from the cellar. I’ve never guaranteed a review, let alone a positive one, of any wine and I would never under any circumstances accept payment from a winery. I don’t even allow wineries to place fixed banner ads.
On advertising, the other key advertising you will see on this site are Google Adwords ads. I do not control who advertises in this ad units, and they are typically matched to both content and also to you, the user. These ads provide me with enough income to pay for hosting (but not much else). Again, I do not control who advertises and how. Ethically this is the best way as there is no potential for bias of any kind.
When wines are tasted as part of a trip paid for by producers I will disclose this within the review. I try not to accept trips from individual producers as this creates potential bias, but for major winery events (like super verticals) it is often necessary. If the trip is paid for by a region I’m a little less worried as covering off an entire region is like covering off a school subject – you need to do it. Again, I’ll always declare these trips.
I also have a rather diverse suite of businesses who I write paid articles for, though again I’ll never put my name to an ‘advertorial’. Some articles are a little more lifestyle-focused than on here, but I’d never compromise myself and talk about wines I didn’t like. Not worth it. I also run a wine events company and write copy for several wine retailers, but again I’d never put my name to anything that I’m not 100% behind. If you see any perception of bias call me out straight away, but I’m quite comfortable with how the arrangements work – ie if you see my name, it is my unbiased opinion. No bullshit.
Ultimately this site only works through me being (occasionally brutally) honest. I’ve realised that while I’m writing for myself, I don’t need to write for producers. That means that this site is not a promotional vehicle for wineries, and I do not need to regurgitate press releases. In the longer run, I’d prefer to call out an average wine and have the producer not send me any wines again (which happens all the time), than feel like I had compromised myself. That said, I’d like to think I’m still sympathetic with how hard it is to be a winemaker, especially having made my own wines, and I approach every wine with the thought in the back of my mind ‘this will be good’. It’s much more fun this way, although some may accuse me then of being less critical. Read a bunch of my reviews and I challenge you to call me uncritical!
Beer reviews use slightly different scoring but the sentiments are the same.