There has been a fair amount of commentary recently 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. Generally, the public is completely unaware that money is changing hands between the producers and reviewers.
If reviewers are to be widely trusted and respected, there must be full, transparent independence between them and those whose products they write about. We believe the practice of supplying wine reviews for direct payment removes that independence, is highly undesirable, and has the potential to harm the reputation of all wine writers in New Zealand.
It would not be acceptable to the public for critics in other fields to be paid by those whom they are reviewing. We believe that the public and wine producers are entitled to expect that an equally high standard of independence and integrity is applied to the field of wine reviewing.
Direct payments from wine producers to writers for published reviews remove the independence that is crucial to a critic’s integrity, and upon which their reputation rests. They also create a potential for bias, whether actual or perceived.
We are committed to the interests of the public and to protecting the reputation for integrity of wine writers in New Zealand. As such, we will not accept any direct payments from wine producers for published reviews.
Jo Burzynska MA AIWS
Michael Cooper MA ONZM
Emma Jenkins BSc (Hons)
Yvonne Marie Lorkin dipWineMktg
Jane Skilton MW
Bob Campbell MW
Karl du Fresne
Paul J. White D.Phil. (Oxon)