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New Zealand wine writers commit to “excellence and integrity”

By , 21 June 2011



Received notification via Tim James of Grape.co.za regarding the formation of a New Zealand organisation committed to encourage excellence and integrity in wine writing and to provide a platform for the exchange of information amongst its members was announced recently.

Wine Writers of New Zealand is open to authors, broadcasters, journalists and lecturers, in fact anyone professionally engaged in communicating about wine in this country.

The impetus for this initiative stemmed from recent commentary in the wine press and social media regarding the pros and cons, ethics and otherwise, of wine critics/reviewers being paid by producers to review their wines.

A “Declaration of Independence” was circulated amongst the current New Zealand wine media on Friday 17 June and it was immediately signed by a large number of writers.  These writers have declared that they do not accept payments from wine producers for published reviews, and that they’re also committed to maintaining high standards of independence and integrity in their field.

For a list of current members or to contact WWNZ please visit www.winewriters.org.nz

The question is: Does South Africa need the equivalent?


1 comment(s)

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    Grant | 21 June 2011

    Christian, there is a larger question at hand here, namely what sort of wine world we ( producers, writers, distributors, consumers et al) want to inhabit. Part of a healthy wine world is having a healthy, vibrant discourse surrounding it, and in the course of the evolution of what we now know as the ‘industry’, a lot of that has been instigated and perpetuated by the wine press. But it seems to me that it is becoming increasingly difficult for writers to forge a living purely from writing. And as column inches dry up, those that are trying to make wine communication their existence are forced to either start looking for alternative ways of sourcing income, or getting out of the game.

    So it’s not surprising that the line is becoming a little blurred when you consider the vicious cycle that currently exists. More wine producers, less writers, less words written about wine in the popular press…producers needing a way to get the message of their product to the market…and you get the rest. The solution however may be a little more complex than simply coming up with a charter of independence, especially if long term considerations regarding the ‘wine world’ are at the top of the agenda.

    Grant Dodd
    Haskell Vineyards

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