RKS Wine: So You Want Your Wine Reviewed?

So you think you have a great wine that is going to tear up the market and you’ll be rewarded for your hard work. Dream on. Unless you market it you’ll be stuck with it unless of course you want to devote all your energy to direct sales from winery to the consumer. However even then you may have missed a step and that is getting people in the door or ready at your internet ordering portal.

Unfortunately in today’s world a high score acts like a magnet for a consumer to grab a bottle. Is there any reason, for example,the only score you see on the shelves at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is 90 or greater? And it is the number that counts more than who is giving it. It is a number’s game. And who thinks the Wine Spectator, James Suckling or the Wine Enthusiast even wants to review your wine. Also do you want to pay a fee to have your wine reviewed a la pay to drink?

So what are some of the steps you might want to consider?

  1. Identify the reviewers that are available to review your wine. A good idea would be to check to see if there are professional organizations of wine writers you can glean names of writers from. In Canada that might be the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada.
  2. Pay attention to writers that may be soliciting you for samples. Are they legitimate or are they trying to scam free juice? Check their reviews by a Google search or ask for a sample review.
  3. This is not the time to be cheap. There are many writers who write as a matter of passion and derive no income. In essence they are doing you a favour giving you exposure at the cost of a bottle or two. Ignore them at your peril.
  4. Have you considered bringing the reviewer(s) to your winery? How much would a chartered bus cost with some lunch and a tasting. There is no better way to have a writer be able to identify you with an experience at your winery. I find it odd the EU has a large budget to bring wine writers to Europe to review wines but Canada seems to have no centralized wine promotion body with a budget to bring wine writers to Canada. An example of cheap!
  5. Beware of “social influencers” who may be more interested in promoting themselves than your wine. Are they interested in your wines or shots oif their beautiful personages in your vineyard.
  6. Once you have trust in a wine writer keep in touch and provide samples. They will appreciate your attention as hustling samples is tedious due to the cheapness of so many wineries.
  7. If you have social media and you like the review then post it as this gives the writer a bigger audience and that will be appreciated.
  8. If you are hosting special events at your winery why not ask your wine writers too?
  9. If you are providing samples a “tech sheet” and bottle shots are appreciated.
  10. Consider giving double samples as if a bottle is off the reviewer will have another bottle to sample.
  11. If you have any special events at your winery think about having a tasting session given by a wine writer.

Photo: Robert K. Stephen

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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