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My wine review policy

By Dave Buchanan

I occasionally receives queries about the wine reviewed in this space and where and why anyone could/would buy them.

In an attempt to promote openness and transparency, I adopted the following wine review policy. First, no one pays me to review their wines, although I'll occasionally accept samples from wineries. That doesn't assure anyone I'll give the wines a positive remark or that I'll say anything at all about the wine, preferring to remain silent when something isn't to my liking. I mean, why waste space and time on a wine I don't want to drink?

I know you might want to drink it, so I'll occasionally review wines that don't fit my personal tastes but think someone else might like. I once was told a good wine critic is one who can recognize a well-made wine even if it's not to their personal taste. I'm still working on that.

Most of the wine I review I'll buy either locally or online, since the local stores aren't often well-stocked with certain wines. When I review wines, the notes are marked as "purchased" or "sample," depending on how I got that particular bottle, someplace close to where the price is noted.

As a note, the Federal Trade Commission last year released a new set of rules specifically targeting blogs such as this. In brief, the agency said that starting Dec. 1, 2009, all sample products sent to bloggers must be disclosed in any coverage of those products. You can read the press release about the rules, along with text of the current rules, During the recently concluded VINO 2010 in New York, a panel of bloggers lamented that the rules won't cover magazine or newspaper columns but seems to single out the new "social media" (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that are becoming such a force in communication.

You can see the Virtual Vino panel discussion here. You have to wait for this ad for breakfast cereal and then skip the first couple of minutes, which merely is crowd shots while the panel sits down. I'll talk more about the Vitual Vino panel on my other blog.

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