Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Wine and Dine?
By: Erika Barth
With the world seemingly getting more and more expensive, it’s hard to imagine turning down a company that literally plans to ‘wine and dine’ you. As a college student who enjoys an occasional glass of wine, I can see the temptation that wine critiques might have to take freebies from the wine companies they are writing about. While the article Bottled Prose: The Ethical Paradox of the Wine Press seems to think that these critiques should adopt a higher standard of journalistic reporting and not take advantage of these free opportunities to enjoy their wine, I tend to disagree to an extent.
Although it should be noted that wine critiques are in some ways journalists, if they choose to take advantage of going to a vineyard and being put up in a hotel for free, I think this is a perfectly ethical choice. The one caveat being that despite taking advantage of these free experiences, the critique should not let this affect the actual taste of the wine they are critiquing. It is important for these critics to make it clear to vineyards that if they do accept gifts, it will not affect their ratings.
While some more traditional journalists may be appalled by the idea of wine critiques taking part in said ‘gifts,’ it is important to remember that critics are not trained to be completely objective. People listen to them in order to get opinions on what wines to buy, or what vineyards have the best wines for their prices. When a journalist writes an article, unless it is supposed to be an opinion piece, generally speaking, it should not be written like a critique.
With the amount of information available at the click of a button, the article Should We Listen to Wine Critics? makes a good point that almost anyone can be as good at giving advice about wine opposed to listening to so called “experts.” Personally I think that given the nature of this article, journalists should stop berating wine critics about taking freebies from wineries and worry more about what they are writing is following ethical guidelines.
Of course when things get out of hand and there is already a code of conduct in place such as mentioned in the article We’re All Wine Critics Now, it makes a good point for there to be some form of ethics codes in place even for wine critics. I think that depending on who the critic is writing for and what his or her own conscious feels is right should determine whether or not to take free giveaways. Never should the critic stray so far as to give those wineries a better review though as I mentioned before.
Overall, this controversy should be a lesson to all critics of any type that people want to know the truth and not who is paying for you to write about them. If it gets to the point you can no longer write honestly it's time to stop taking the freebies no matter how appealing they may be.