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Best Kept Secret v Loud and Proud


Categories of influencer - surely you are either an influencer (paid to promote a product) or an enthusiast, extolling the virtues of something you like ? Collaboration would mean “working with” and I not sure that’s something we are seeing here - these are critics / wine press.

On disclosure - So Chris Kissack (the winedoctor.com the most transparanet critic - he posts his “freebies” every year…great reading!) is invited to a TWS press tasting and he posts a picture of a sample he tasted…what should he put on his post ?

He hasn’t been paid to attend - in fact he paid his own travel. He was given a small sample to taste on the hope that he will write about it - is that quid pro quo or is he working pro bono ? certainly nothing to disclose to HMRC as no payment has been made for the “copy”


@jamesf i wouldn’t attempt training a wine recommendation ML algorithm with a single variable, so you’re right. Nevertheless, you’d be surprised to see what can be done out of the box with something like TensorFlow.


thanks for that - will have a look

I’ve a client who’s starting to look at the data they have to drive business in a particular sector so that might be f interest


Agree with @tom here. Jancis rarely really slates a wine…and she must be as near bullet-proof a reviewer as there is out there. At best (or worst) wines are damned with faint praise and this ever was - new or old a reviewer has to tread a line.


Very much unlike restaurant reviewers/critics then?


Unlike pretty much every other consumer good. Everything gets criticised if appropriate - apart from wine.


I seem to remember someone in the wine press addressing this in the recent past (possibly Olly Smith or Victoria Moore?) who made a pretty good point about why they don’t write bad wine reviews.

It was something along the lines of that they have very limited space to talk about just a few wines each week/month, and wth so many wines out there, they prefer using that space to tell readers about great wines they’ve found, rather than slating wines they don’t think are worthy of the column inches. I can definitely appreciate that POV. :slight_smile:


I’m not sure this is true. We have the same discussions on this topic for boardgames reviews, and the viewpoint @laura mentions is similar there - so many games, and not enough space. Plus, it’s quite an investment to review a game.

But what about cosmetics, or shoes, or cheeses? Maybe there are niche publications that discuss bad examples of all of these, but whenever I see them in the press I only see items to be recommended, never a perfume that smells of piss or a cheese that you wouldn’t feed the neighbourhood rat.


Interesting discussion on twitter at the moment (including Victoria Moore) on medals awarded at wine competitions…

crux of the matter - Unless your wine is undrinkable, you are likely to get a medal!


Victoria Moore did an article on awards in 2015…

and this has been discussed on here, a wine writer whom I cannot remember once said about a gold medal winning wine, “just think of all the competitions this was entered into where it gained no awards, if you keep going eventually you will come up trumps” not verbatim but from memory.
Perhaps this could be resurrected in another thread if many missed the previous one which was some time ago.


Newspapers (I’m thinking about colour supplements) sometimes rate food in a particular category, especially at Xmas or Easter, and are critical if necessary. Agree about cosmetics though which seems even more ‘freebie-reliant’ than wine.


Foods of all types are regularly judged in women s magazines and often using a points system as out of 10 or 20 plus they are harder markers than wine critics, how do I know, it would be easy to say that the doctors surgery has a poor selection of reading material, but as no one can get a doctors appointment these days that wont stand judgement, I confess to idling through the likes of Woman &Home in moments of desperation, must get out more.


Let’s swap! My surgery’s reading material is all motorbikes-related! :sleeping::sleeping:


I read something by Auburn Waugh many years ago to the effect that while writing a good book review could sell a thousand copies writing a glowing wine review seemed to make no difference at all to sales. The exception was a Volnay that he described as ‘anal’ which sold out immediately.

I think it is a pity that there isn’t more ‘name and shame’ reviews. I can think of a vast swathe of supermarket offerings which I wouldn’t cook with. And it is often easier to be entertaining whilst being vitriolic.


I forgot about that one! One day I’ll finally get round to buying a copy of Waugh On Wine :laughing:


I came across this today, it shows BBR taking a different approach to retail, and I would imagine quite a good one with the footfall in major transport centers and the demographics of those who use the railways to commute, though outside of London it might not fly.
The WS is hamstrung with this type of initiative because of their mutual model so will have to work within those constraints.
And BBR have had a major overhaul themselves in recent times.


I think on another thread I suggested TWS team up with an organisation with some alignment of values (not mutual but focus on innovation, provenance etc), carrying quite a bit of retail space including some transport hubs, to offer a tailored concession in some key locations (and potentially an online order pickup point). The obvious partner for me would be Hotel Chocolat. I think with the first purchase discount you would capture a lot of new members who liked the idea of taking home something a bit interesting and would feel they were getting in on something worthwhile by joining. But it’s a long shot strategically I accept.


Yours is a very interesting suggestion.

If I remember correctly, Hotel Chocolat started as a postal ‘members club’ before dropping the membership requirement and becoming more of a conventional retail outlet. I suspect TWS will come under increasing pressure to modify the clause in its charter which prohibits sale to non-members (or to designate a retail outlet as a ‘member’).


why not just sell with a surcharge to non-members ?


Allowing selling to non_members would, I think, risk huge outcries whenever stocks run out on a wine, with claims that non-members had hoovered them up. True or not I suspect it would happen.

I think selling to non-members would be a very murky and dangerous route for the society to travel.