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Difficulties working with the wine industry.


This year I am working on an initiative to add voices to Snooth. For years we've been working with other wine writers, sharing our audience with them because we feel that having multiple voices speaking articulately about a subject is always preferable to a lone voice. I've been hoping to branch out into the retail side of things as our next step.

In case you hadn't noticed I am a big fan of the consumer-retailer relationship. There is no better ally for the consumer than a well informed, interested and engaged retailer. No one can learn your preferences more accurately or give you better advice. The problem though is that the great retailers are not easy to find. I was hoping to change that I sent out a letter to select retailers inviting them to participate in a program where I feature their recommendations in Snooth newsletters much like I've begun to do with my writing colleagues.

I offered them tons of free publicity every month, I sent out two dozen invitations to the top small shops in the country. I received three replies. Now I understand why the public is so skeptical of the retailer-consumer relationship. I mean if they won't even respond to an offer of free marketing I can imagine how they must react when someone just wants their time to just to pick their brain.
Now I've been in wine retail before, I get it. I understand that we don't always have a lot of time, but what I am asking takes about 10 minutes a month and in exchange you get featured in multiple emails a month introducing your shop and palate to thousands of potential new customers while supporting a program that emphasizes the importance of the retailer-consumer relationship. It sounds like a good deal, and frankly it sounds kind of important. It is a shame that so many people who could help a lot of consumers out there felt otherwise.

I'll follow up with them once more. I wouldn't want to just abandon the project based on the poor response received from this select group. That's where this email comes in. Maybe you can help. Over the course of the year I will be looking for wine industry professionals to contribute to Snooth articles. As I mentioned the project is well under way with wine writers, and you can see the early results here:

What we've been drinking

Experts Opine

Now I want to move on with retailers, and sommeliers, and importers/distributors as well. If you're interested in having your voice be heard by the Snooth audience please shoot me an email I was planning on building a list one segment at a time but I now see that that might not be an effective strategy. While some folks might think I'll just end up with a list of recommendations that are purely shilling products I think they are misguided. The truth of the matter is that people buy wine to resell because they believe in the value proposition of that wine. And if they're going to have their name and company attached to that recommendation there is additional impetus to make sure its based on genuine belief and confidence in that wine.  

I'm confident that we'll be able to build a great product together. And frankly I'm hoping that this product contributes to the loosening of the critics grip on the buying habits of the American public. The day of the universal critic is over. Wine is far too complex to rely on a single, or even just a few voices for advise. We should have experts in each region, from each region, and with differing view points so that every consumer is able to find their own wine guides. Somebody who gets that they want finesse in Burgundy, structure in Barolo, power in Zinfandel and elegance in Chardonnay. Relying on a single voice is not the way to find all those wines. Let's pull together and give all those voices out there a chance to be heard.

Support Snooth's Global outreach efforts. Recommend a friend or colleague below or contact me. Once a month you'll get an email with three or four questions like the questions I sent to the retailers earlier this month:

What Bordeaux out there is still a good bet for the Bordeaux enthusiast?

What is the most exciting wine you've tasted this month?

What is your favorite Sauvignon Blanc?

A short paragraph for each is all we're looking for and they will be compiled into Snooth articles, sent out to our mailing list and be featured on the site with accreditation and links back to the author's business or blog. I don't believe I'm asking too much for the benefit involve. I hope you all agree.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Aobregon
    1092637 56


    Great article and initiative. I agree that a resource like this is greatly needed. After being burned many times by the wine store's salesperson's recommendations on what to buy (ie. what he wants to sell) I feel that the retail consumer needs more attention. I'm in and will email you my contact info!..Keep Going!...Al

    Feb 22, 2014 at 4:22 PM

  • Snooth User: malcedor
    607608 49

    These are relatively small shops, but I've had fantastic experiences with John at Vintage Wines and Ed at The 3rd Corner (both in San Diego), as well as Ash at Tastes of the Valleys (now in Pismo Beach). Perhaps one of them would be willing to participate in a venture like this, they certainly know their wine and seem to enjoy taking the time to offer valuable advice and recommendations...

    Feb 23, 2014 at 2:01 AM

  • Snooth User: Saffredi
    729598 151

    Hi Gregory,

    Although I am not located in the USA, but in Europe, I'd like to answer your three questions. To start with your 2nd question: the most exciting wine I have tasted this month is the 2009 Els Escurcons from Mas Martinet in Priorat, Spain. It is mind-blowing! To continue with your third question: my favourite Sauvignons are the Piere Sauvignon from Vie di Romans in Friuli Isonzo, Italy ; the Kirchleiten Sauvignon from Tiefenbrunner in Alto Adige, Italy ; and (to my own surprise) the barrel fermented Sauvignon from Lismore Estate in Greyton (Overberg region), South Africa. To answer your first question, the following Bordeaux wines are a good bet: Chateau de La Grave Cote de Bourg cuvée Caractere, Chateau Patache d'Aux Médoc, and Chateau Labégorce Cru Bourgeois Margaux. These three Bordeaux wines offer excellent value for your money and won't break the bank (between 10-20 euros).

    Feb 23, 2014 at 5:23 AM

  • Snooth User: Saffredi
    729598 151

    As a wine importer in Europe ( I would gladly answer your monthly questions (

    Feb 23, 2014 at 5:26 AM

  • A very interesting post - thanks for sharing.

    Feb 24, 2014 at 4:00 PM

  • Snooth User: Wineme99
    Hand of Snooth
    449321 14

    As a former owner of a very small wine shop/bar in the Chicago suburbs, I truly commend your efforts to help the little guys. We recently closed our shop, primarily for financial reasons, and a little free publicity like you are offering would have been a very welcome assist.
    Our business was very heavily reliant on hand-selling and recommendations from me and my staff. We didn't carry the "well-known" brands, so many labels were unfamiliar to customers. Instead, we chose to also help the "little guys" and carry mostly small producers and unknowns. Our customers loved the variety we offered - and us getting to know their palates and make suggestions that worked for them.
    More customers need to get to know their local wine purveyors: talk to them, taste with them . . . it will be worth it!
    Although our shop won't benefit from your efforts, I thank you again for the help!

    Feb 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

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