Accepting samples and how to handle samples once they’re received is a somewhat controversial topic in the wine-blogging world, and a post on LennDevours started the latest round of discussions. In the past, the discussions were more “information gathering” for me, but this time, I have enough background to respond. As I commented on Lenn’s blog, I want to share my thoughts with you.
As someone with a wine blog that is only a little over two months old, it’s not surprising that I haven’t been approached about accepting samples; however, I’ve given the matter a significant amount of thought. When setting things up here on “A Glass After Work,” I researched the policies of wine blogs I respect and followed the on-again-off-again debate.
Outside of the wine/wine-blogging arena, I asked friends and other bloggers who read my blog how they would view my credibility if I reviewed samples. It led to some interesting discussions, and in some cases, I learned how bloggers in other areas (books, cooking, fitness, make-up, etc.) handle the question. Interestingly, everyone accepted and reviewed samples, and no one felt they would disregard a review of mine simply because I received the wine as a sample.
Obviously, throughout this process, I figured out how I would handle the situation if it came up. However, I decided not to post my policy because it made me feel like I was begging for free wine, figuring that I would explain it through e-mail if I was ever contacted. After reading this recent round of blog/Twitter posts and comments on those posts, particularly ones from a few brave wineries and PR folks who entered the conversation, I realized that posting my policy will make this easier for everyone—me, my readers, and potential PR/marketing/winery folks. So, here it is:
I will happily accept samples that you want to send. Once the samples arrive, I will let you know and will review the wine in a timely manner. Be aware, though, that I will include my own pictures of the wine, I will review it honestly, and I will include whether I think the wine is a good fit for having “A Glass After Work.” Once the review is posted, I will be sure to notify you. As long as you’re comfortable with my style and this arrangement, please e-mail me for my mailing contact information.
With all that said, do I want ALL of my posts to be about samples? No, as that would take away some of the creativity and exploration that goes into my picking wines to begin with, but I think samples would add an interesting dynamic. I hope as my readers that you agree!