By Lenn Thompson, Editor and Publisher

Twitter_logoIf you're in the wine industry and you're not on Twitter yet, I won't call you an idiot, but you're really missing out. There are great discussions going on almost every day and by getting involved in them, you can not only learn from other people in the industry but also connect with your customers in a whole new way.

Sure, there is plenty of inane, useless banter too, but it's pretty easy to filter that out once you get your feet wet and understand the technology and the people.

Anyway, yesterday there was an interesting discussion amongst bloggers and some of the wine PR folks about expectations and responsibilities in the "wine samples" game. What should wineries (or PR people representing those wineries) expect when they send wines to a writer or blogger?

Some don't seem to have any expectations, which is probably the best way to go, given how some reviewers conduct themselves. Others, and I'm speaking from experience here, expect a published review — and quickly.

I can only speak for myself, but here is what I feel is appropriate, what I owe to wineries that send me wine to review. When I accept a sample from someone, I never agree to publish a review, or that it will be a positive one, but I am agreeing to:

  1. Taste the wine in a professional, controlled way. That means I won't guzzle it and not take any notes.
  2. Give the winery feedback if they ask, even if I don't publish a formal review here on LENNDEVOURS or in one of my other outlets.

The first item is a given, or at least I assume that it is, but several of the PR folks and bloggers seemed (pleasantly surprised) that I consider the second item a given as well.

I think of it this way: Yes, the winery wants me to write about its wines, but I also assume that they want to know what I think. I think it's professional to offer that feedback if they ask.

I know that most "professional" critics don't agree (or act that way) but I think that's just lazy. It doesn't take me long to type up my raw, unedited notes when a winery emails me wanting to know what I thought of their wine.

This all said, I have two questions:

  • Wineries, what do you expect when you send out samples? Do you expect something different from a blogger than you do from Parker or WS?
  • Bloggers, do you feel any obligations at all when you receive samples?