As a public service, I’m providing a template letter for those wineries who want to escape abusive relationships with two-timing critics. If you are a winery and you find yourself in this regrettably common position, I hope you find it useful.
Dear (insert well known critic’s name)
It was lovely to host you last week at the winery, to pour our wines for you, to put you up in our luxury accommodation and to give you a helicopter ride over the estate (but we’ve remembered: we’re not supposed to tell anyone about this).
You can imagine our delight when we found out your scores. It was especially thrilling to receive 97/98/99/100 points* for our Pinot Noir/Chardonnay*. At last! Someone is recognizing our work. In fact, we’re even better than we thought!
But then three things have happened that have hurt us deeply.
No sooner had we posted the great news of our 97/98/99/100 point* score on our social media channels, then we saw our neighbour wineries posting similar scores. And, quite frankly, their wines are mediocre. [Actually, we were a little worried that our wines were mediocre until we got your stellar write up.] This was very upsetting. We felt cheated. We thought that you only had eyes for our wine, when in truth you’ve been dishing out high scores left, right and centre.
We’d even turned down requests for visits from other major critics. We don’t go criticing around. We see ourselves as a one-critic winery, and we thought you saw things the same way – that we were special to you. I guess we should have known: you seemed distracted, always on your phone. Now we realise that you were arranging visits to other wineries and talking pH and TA with the winemakers. It hurts.
Then, when we put the scores up on our website we got an invoice for an institutional subscription for your newsletter. Apparently, even though we rolled out the red carpet, poured our wines for you and treated you like the big shot you tell everyone you are, you still want us to pay $$$ in order to publicise you by quoting your ratings. I’m scratching my head here, but this seems like an imbalanced relationship. Do you do this to all the wineries?
The final straw was this morning. We were naturally delighted with our score and the invitation to take part in your Top 500 wineries scoring over 95 points road trip through the world’s major capitals, but in addition to us paying our flights and accommodations, you want 24 sample bottles and a fee of $10000 per event. And you are charging the punters $500 each to attend!
That’s when the penny dropped. You only love us for our money. And it was all going so well. Of course, it’s a free world and you can do whatever you want. And we can say no. Which is what we are doing. We don’t want to be part of an abusive relationship, so goodbye.
(Insert your name here)
*amend as needed