Send Me Free Wine, But Only Stuff I Like. You’re Welcome.

honey boo booI consider other wine bloggers to be ‘colleagues’ like I consider Honey Boo Boo’s family to be fellow Homo sapiens.

It’s a concession to rude reality, nothing more.

Case in point:  A ‘colleague’ in Denver recently sent out a mass-mailing shake-down to wine producers; the cyber equivalent of standing on a freeway onramp with a hand-drawn sign reading, ‘Will work for hand-outs.  But not all hand-outs; just the hand-outs I specify.’

 Essentially, that’s when you roll up your car window and floor it, right?

Here it goes:

“Greetings…  I’m sure you must be very excited about the bountiful 2014 harvest. We wanted to send out a quick ‘call for samples’ before the holiday season gets into full swing.”

How's the harvest. Abu?

Bountiful harvest, Abu?

(Translation: ‘Of course we have no idea how bountiful your harvest was because this is bulk e-mailing and your harvest was different wherever you happen to be; we just wanted to make sure that we’re on your Christmas list even though you aren’t on ours.’)

“While we always enjoy the most popular reds, please keep us in mind for the lesser talked about wines such as Petite Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, etc.”

Never heard of it.

Never heard of it.

(Translation:  ‘For some reason, even though we are professional wine critics, we seem unaware that Zinfandel is talked about a lot.  Besides being the third most widely planted red wine grape in California, it is considered ‘America’s Heritage Wine.  Oh, and the reason we couldn’t find many articles on Google talking about ‘Petite Syrah’ is probably because that’s not how it’s spelled.’)

“In fairness to you, we rarely review Rhone varieties and Merlot because they are not our favorites, so it is hard to be objective.”

top-wine-varieties-by-wine-folly(Translation:  ‘Even though we just said that we always enjoy the popular reds, we are now telling you that we do not enjoy Merlot, which is the second most popular red wine in the world. And since we’re checking, the fourth and fifth most popular red wines in the world are Syrah and Grenache, classic Rhone varieties.  We cannot explain that inconsistency any more than we can explain how someone can be objective about things they like, but can’t be objective about things they don’t like, which is pretty much the definition of objectivity.’)

“Our ‘Sample Policy’ is simple:  We follow ‘Momma’s Rule,’ If you can’t say something nice…say nothing at all.”

'Can't wait for Part 7!'

‘Can’t wait for Part 7!’

Here at ‘Intoxicology Report’, we also follow Momma’s Rule. Of course, my mother was a shrewish, passive-aggressive drunk who was mad at the world, but at least she taught me to check my website’s hit count, and if shaming shameless colleagues shamelessly wins me more readers than a column entitled ‘Part 6 of  ‘Starting J. Cage Cellars’’, you know the rancorous route I’ll be rambling down.

“So if wineries or PR firms send us wine we do not care for, we will not post a negative review; we will simply not mention the wine on our site.”

Will work for Merlot.  Just kidding.

Will work for Merlot. Just kidding.

(Translation: ‘We know that you know that we know that this is bulk email—and that there are about 8000 wineries in the United States alone.  Suppose nine out of ten of the recipients treat this tin-cup street hustle with the disdain it deserves? That means 800 of you will still send us wine.  Now, eliminating the Merlot and GSM Rhone blend (of course), we might expect to receive two or three wines from each of you, meaning that we will—with the slightest level of journalistic integrity—have to publish reviews of 2400 wines from 800 wineries each year, or roughly seven reviews per day, every day, every vintage.  And that’s just domestic wine! 

Since we know that you know that we know that this ain’t gonna happen, you will have no choice but to conclude that—since we didn’t mention your wine—we didn’t like it.’)

“For the record, we have over 45,000 Twitter followers…”

Short Biggie and Big Shorty

Short Biggie and Big Shorty

(Translation:  ‘For the same record, if you bother to fact-check this stat, you will find that we also follow 45,000 tweeters, meaning that we simply follow everyone who follows us no matter who they are, and that everyone we follow follows us back again no matter who we are, until it is a huge Twitter tweeter cluster-fuck of Twitter twats who neither read, nor care about, what the other one posts.)

So, what’s a poor girl to do but send out his own mass cheapskate extortion-mail?


“Greetings…!  With The Holidays approaching (which I phrase thusly to avoid insulting Jews, militant blacks and Fez-Jockeys who secretly drink), I want you to send me free wine.  In fairness to you, I find it difficult to be objective about wines labeled ‘Sample: Not For Resale’ or which contains less than 15% alcohol by volume. Plus, I have recently been diagnosed with a rare allergy that prevents my system from digesting wine that retails for under $75 per bottle or has received less than 97 points from Wine Enthusiast.

My ‘sample policy’ is simple:  I follow ‘Momma’s Rule’, which means that if you clog up my valuable marathon Netflix-watching time with substandard plonk meant for average people without wine blogs, I will make anonymous accusations to the TTB about your adulterated product and inform Homeland Security that you employ terrorists in your vineyard.

And, to my super-anal, brown-nosing UPS delivery man who actually makes me get up from the couch during True Detective to sign for boxes containing alcohol, and who finds his workload thus lightened this Channukwaanzmas:  Merry fuckin’ whatever, douchenozzle.

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6 Responses to Send Me Free Wine, But Only Stuff I Like. You’re Welcome.

  1. I love you Chris. Promise me you’ll never change.

  2. doug wilder says:

    You left this out “So the bottom line is – if you’re kind to us, we’ll be kind to you”.

  3. winesnark says:

    Brilliant. You forgot to mention, “please send us your winery tech sheet and tasting notes because we’re too busy drinking your free wine to actually write something original.”

  4. Bob Henry says:

    See the debate — augmented by your above anecdote — going on over here:

    I’ll leave you with my starter contribution:

    This evergreen issue on “wine whores” was covered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Shaw in the Los Angeles Times back in 1987.

    Yes, 1987!

    From the Los Angeles Times “Main News” Section
    (August 23, 1987, Page A1ff):

    “Wine Writers: Squeezing the Grape for News”
    (Series: First of Two Articles)


    By David Shaw
    Times Staff Writer

  5. fAWF says:


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