So I finally got my copies of the December ‘Best of 2008’ issue. Not that I would normally care, but someone said my picture was on page 117.
A little background:
We stopped submitting to WE several years ago beccause of the sheer number and magnititude of their errors–wrong vintages, wrong labels, and we were amazed at the score discrepancies: we saw two wines that we knew came out of the SAME TANK at a neighboring winery, but bottled by different wineries, given vastly different scores. And that is just one example.
Over two years after we stopped submitting, WE asked us for a .jpeg of our label. We asked why, but they were very coy, wouldn’t answer. That didn’t seem upfront or journalistically ethical, so we didn’t send one. Turns out, they were insulting “dog labels” in their year-end ‘Best Of’ issue. Something about “who would pull out a puppy-printed primitivo for anything except Tuesday night burgers?” They named our winery among the puppy perps, although they hadn’t tasted our wines for three vintages. (They used an O’Reilly label image from Owen Roe in OR.) Thanks, guys.
About six weeks ago, I was contacted by one of their roving editors about my 5-part series on internet wine fraud targeted at wineries. The editor asked for permission to use some of my material in a sidebar (how to identify the true source of the email; geographical location of the emailer; how to identify fraudulent credit cards, etc.) and a photo. I only agreed because I thought it would continue to a) help wineries, and b) demonstrate that consumers are not the only victims of wine fraud. So I said yes, with the caveat that the photo and information could only be used if they gave credit to the winery blog. The editor also wanted to know if I could provide any links or photos of wineries or consumers who had been scammed. I declined.
Now what I’m seeing is my picture (really BIG, and dorky looking but that’s not their fault) and nothing else except this caption.
“Mary Baker of Dover Canyon Winery created her Inside a Wine Scam blog on the winery’s website, to chronicle her personal dealings with fraud.”
Oh, thanks a lot! Now I not only sound like an idiot who would fall prey to internet fraud, but an Idiot who would Share That with the Wine Enthusiast.
To the Wine Enthusiast Editors:
- Take a class in journalism.
- I did not -EVER- have “personal dealings” with fraud, anymore than any one else who plays letter games with them. Plus, I actually did some research and wrote an article series that dances around yours in terms of detail.
- ‘Inside a Wine Scam’ is not a blog. It is a series of short articles that appear as posts on a blog. Do you even know what a blog is?
- The article series does not appear on our winery website.
- You wanted pictures of victims, and I guess you got one. I am a victim of gullibility when it comes to trusting the journalistic integrity of the Wine Enthusiast.
To be just a teeny, teeny bit fair, it is usually not the writing editor that puts together the layout, sidebars (or lack thereof in this case), photos and captions. But an editor should be reviewing their own final layouts for accuracy and balance, not just the pulp fiction factor. Poorly done. And my last interaction with the staff of the Wine Enthusiast for any reason.