Attention Wineries: Here's what you SHOULD be doing!

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Sometimes something happens that puts everything into perspective. The other day, this "something" happened to me. I've been spending a lot of time talking about Parker, scores, and looking at how I approach wine. I think I've figured out a lot this week, but it was this moment that firmed it up and reminded me about what it is REALLY all about.

It's not about kissing the ass of wineries. It's not about wineries kissing the asses of people like Parker... and it's most certainly NOT about being something you're not. It's about being who you are, doing it well, and earning respect by doing so. Harvest Moon is a winery that in my eyes does just THAT. Let me explain why... they were the first winery to send me a wine sample. You would think they were crazy. In fact, I didn't want to question their thinking when it happened for fear that they would come to my house and take their wine back. So why did they do it? Why did they send a blogger who had nothing more than a will to drink wine a box of their hard earned samples? Several months later, winemaker Randy Pitts personally explained it to me:

"Choosing not to submit to official corporate tasting panels, yet still looking for online reviews and general presence, we feel you're site is perfect for us."

All I can say is that's freakin' awesome!

Let me also tell you that, these guys could easy kick ass in ANY sort of corporate tasting panel... it's just not about that. It's about making good wine and letting the word of mouth take it from there. If you are ever in the Russian River Valley, stop by Harvest Moon. If I were there right now, I'd shake their hands, thank them for their support, and commend them for their morals.

I love it when I get letters with the wine! Notice that NO marketing materials were included with this shipment... just this nice personal touch!

Here's what showed up from their newest release of wines:

    Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2007
    Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007
    Harvest Moon Sonoma Harvest Red Blend 2007
    Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Sparkling Gewurztraminer 2007

Happy Holidays to you too Harvest Moon! I plan to save at least one of these bottles to enjoy with Christmas dinner... it will fit in perfectly with good food, good family, and great times!

In the meantime, you can catch my notes on last year's vintage here.


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Jay D. Ducote said...

That is fantastic! And props to Harvest Moon for a great marketing strategy!

Jay D. - www.biteandbooze.com

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you Jay!

Have you interacted with a winery that has held the same standards? I'm curious to hear other people's experiences out there!


Rob Bralow said...

Sorry Randy, but I think you've been fooled...


The Wine Whore said...

Umm, you're missing one important point here:
Just because it was rated doesn't necessarily mean that they submitted it to these publications...

I'll let the winery answer this question for themselves.


Travel Eat Love said...

I just received my first wine sample and was so excited! I have a small but growing blog and am learning so much. The sample makes it easier for me to taste and write about something I haven't tasted before and to spread the word to regular. A win-win situation if you ask me!

The Wine Whore said...

That's really cool Travel! There's nothing like the feeling of getting free stuff... it doesn't matter who you are, you can't deny that it's like Christmas.

My only word of caution is to be very careful on how you review wines that you receive. Don't feel pressured to give positive reviews or even negative reviews for that matter...

Just be honest, enjoy the wine, and let the good times roll! :)


Rob Bralow said...

Pubs almost never buy their own wines to review, unless we are talking about seriously rare wine that they are expected to review.

Again, there might be a perfectly reasonable explanation. I just want the gut reaction of all bloggers to be checking what the winery tells you.

Travel, listen to Randy! Good advice.

The Wine Whore said...

Rob, excellent point! Not only should we not get carried away by flashy marketing, but we must also make sure our facts are correct... I'm betting there's a good explanation for this one.

Thank you! Travel, it's a good lesson to know starting out of the gate! :)


Richard Auffrey said...

I too would be very curious as to the explanation for how WS and WE came to review these wines. To my knowledge, the wines are usually submitted to the magazines for reviews.

The Wine Whore said...

Maybe there was a change in their policy that I am missing... something sounds suspect here. It's not like they had twenty different wines reviewed either...

In any case, I stoked to try their Sparkling Gewurztraminer... anyone ever try one of these?

Richard Auffrey said...

I don't think I have ever had a Sparkling Gewurtz.

Rob Bralow said...

Looking forward to hearing their perspective.

The Wine Whore said...


According to Steve Heimoff from Wine Enthusiast:
"They haven't sent me anything for nearly 2 years."

Rob, you are absolutely correct, we need to always make sure to review and check any sort of info like this... that being said, though, I would say that their statement checks out. What they neglected to mention was that the had submitted their wine for review prior to this policy. I'm still curious to hear their perspective on the whole thing...

The Wine Whore said...

Me neither! Last time, they sent me a Sparkling Zinfandel that was pretty crazy! :)

I think I might like the Sparkling Gewurtz better... Sparkling reds kinda freak me out. Just not used to tasting a sparkling wine that's not white.

What's the craziest sparkler you've tasted?

Richard Auffrey said...

Sparkling Sake, made similar to the Champagne method.

The Wine Whore said...

I don't think I would have have thought of that but it makes such great sense!

As always, you have given me something new to try to discover! Cheers! :)

I'm looking forward to hearing about your wine party this afternoon!

DanG said...

Wineries who started following my blog are wines not even available in my state and I have the opportunity to taste different wines all because of samples. I think its an excellent way for wineries to reach the everyday wine drinker. I've never felt pressured to post great comments if I didn't like the wine. After a year of blogging, no sample has been bad except for the 2 frozen ones I just received. A toast to the wineries. We appreciate the opportunity. Cheers from The Iowa Wino

The Wine Whore said...

We have the opposite problem down here in FL... during he summer shipping can be tricky! I've had some wine that I would say was bad, but with the heat sometimes you have to wonder if it was just cooked.

Is there a good way to tell that a bottle is cooked versus just plain 'ol crappy?

Randy Pitts said...

Not sure what the problem is. I never said I never submitted before. Rob needs to keep his panties from bunching. I didn't know I needed to disclose how I used to market, only how I market now.

No one is fooled here and I take exception to your post Rob. The point of submitting to people who don't have profits in mind when they write still remains.

Moreover, I quit submitting to corporate because I make wines that are lower in alc, higher in natural acid and low in oak flavor. The exact oppisite needed to garner high scores.

"Choosing not to submit to official corporate tasting panels, yet still looking for online reviews and general presence, we feel you're site is perfect for us."

Still true whether I submitted prior or not.

The Wine Whore said...

Without beating a dead horse, I'd like to just say that if Rob or anyone else is going to accuse anyone of being duped or make any sort of other accusations, I would think they would at least take a second to ask the winery for their side of the story...

Checking the facts means getting ALL sides of the story too!

I stand behind what I wrote in this post... I think what Harvest Moon is doing is awesome!

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