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19/05/2015

An open letter from Huon Hooke and Bob Campbell

Open letter from Huon Hooke and Bob Campbell to wineries and retailers across Australia and New Zealand

Dear Colleague,

We’d like to share some news with you which we feel is very important to your business and the wine industry.

As many of you will know, independent opinion in wine has come under pressure from several fronts:

1. Excessively high scores by some critics, which undermines the credibility of wine ratings for the consumer;

2. Wine writers being paid directly by retailers, or entering into revenue share arrangements, for reviewing wines;

3. Advertorials masquerading as independent opinion; and

4. “Cash for comment”, i.e. wineries being asked to pay to get featured.

As wine critics, we need to make a living, but we prefer to derive income from a wine industry that recognises the virtues of integrity, experience, independence, consistency and professionalism.

As two major critics of Australian and New Zealand wine we have formed an alliance to promote and differentiate our approach to wine reviews. We are making a stand for even-handed, transparent, ethical and independent reviewing.

We call it #RealReviews.

You can find out more about the Hooke and Campbell #RealReviews Alliance here.

Their proposal offers wineries free reviews of their wine, but requires the wineries and the retailers to pay for the commercial use of the reviews.

As they outline:

1. We do not charge to review wines. If you send your samples, they will enter the tasting queue. Whether or not you hold a commercial plan is irrelevant for your review and rating. We will occasionally send messages to wineries with noteworthy results, or you can check on our respective websites;

2. If you decide to use our content for commercial purposes (e.g. promoting your wines on your website), you will need to obtain a licence for promotional usage; and

3. The commercial licences are completely independent of how much wine you sell – i.e. critics do not get paid more if more wine is sold.

“Everyone’s wine is treated fairly and equally,” according to Hooke and Campbell.

The pair is encouraging the wine industry to support the #RealReviews initiative via social media.

You can also send direct feedback via ">t or ">t.

Seeley International


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New Holland


Bayer


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