For awhile I used to accept free samples and would write an honest review on what I thought was delicious, and in some cases, dreadful. Then I decided I was against accepting samples entirely as I was inundated with offers of plonk from nondescript regions that depended on an endless supply of irrigation or they had their sense of place sprayed out of them with endless amounts of pesticides.
Though nearly all of the wines that I decide to take the time write about on The Wine Culture Project are paid for on my own dime or are tasted in environments with other wine writers and professionals, I have decided that I will continue accepting samples. Be warned, if you insist on showing me the next great Argentine Malbec or Shiraz/Cabernet blend from Southeast Australia, I will probably not have much to say about it. However, if you have a bottle that exhibits a specific sense of place and you believe in its ability to speak not only to “critics” and “experts,” but also to consumer who is looking for something special, I will try it and write an honest review.
On a final note, I will not, under any circumstances, ascribe stars, points, ratings, hash marks, thumbs up/down or any other score to your sample. If I think the wine speaks from where it was produced, I will gladly write about it and share my notes with the readers of The Wine Culture Project and the consumers who attend my tastings and classes.