jamie goode's wine blog: The future of wine publishing: the Gault Millau war

Thursday, July 02, 2009

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.



At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Gavin Sherry said...

In other popular guide book industries (restaurants, hotels), it's very common to ask for those reviewed to purchase -- at exorbitant rates -- placards saying you appear in the guide. If you are offered and refused, you can often be assured to not appear in the next edition of the guide.

An example from a highly respected restaurant owner in Burgundy (in French): http://laruchotte-leblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/avec-le-guide-du-routard-cest-la.html

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Michael W. Pleitgen said...

There is a fee with almost all big competitions and wineshows where you send your wine to get a medal or an award. Professional wine tasting and judgement costs. So what?

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Wine Rambler said...

Yes, there are a lot of "may have"s, as you mention in your update. I have also come across some of them today and I will try to post more information and reactions from the German wine blogging community (a few updates are already on our site). German winemakers seem divided as some are now defending Gault Millau.

Re Micheal's comment: yes, they do cost. However, I can imagine a concern with Gault Millau was that if some wineries pay while others do not this could lead to bias. I am not saying it would necessarily have to, but you can maybe see why some people are concerned.

A suggestion that has been made was that Gault Millau should have charged people for printing their labels with the review. Some other wine guides do that apparently and winemakers seem happy to pay as they see a benefit. Also, this would be more transparent as everyone would know that this was a paid for extra service.

Either way, one might have wished that there would have been better communication before this happened - whether on the publisher's or the winemaker's side I cannot say.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Wine Rambler said...

I have summarised some of the latest German language comments on the issue here:

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Alessandro Morichetti said...

Unfortunatly in italian, we commented the news arguing that the future of wine guides might pass over the internet, for reasons of time and costs:


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home