The future of wine publishing: the Gault Millau war
Interesting situation developing in Germany. It seems that one of the most influential German wine guides, Gault Millau, has asked producers for a voluntary fee of 195 euros (see here). I suppose, should the guide be in real trouble, then you can understand the pass the plate approach.
However, the response of an elite group of producers (see here and here) has been to send an open letter saying that they won't pay, and that because of this perceived 'problem' of not paying, they don't want to be included in future editions of the guide, and they won't be sending any more samples.
When you take a look at the calibre of the estates involved, effectively doesn't this seem to signal the end of the Gault Millau guide? They've called on the favour bank, and found it empty.
[added later] I've done some asking around. It seems that (a) it wasn't a straight donation the publishers were asking for, but optional payment in exchange for books, placards, certificates and so on - the two authors would not know who paid and who didn't; (b) some competitors may have been trying to stir up trouble; and (c) some producers may have been looking for a chance to vent their spleen.