Wine publicists claim they’re facing a cost of ligging crisis with free lunches now costing as much as a thousand pounds a head.
Seasoned PRs say the soaring costs are down to the rise of ‘journo-fluencers’ who have transformed the traditional economics of their trade.
Good old days
‘It’s not like the old days,’ said Ima Hustler, who has been representing wine brands for three decades. ‘Pre social media, you’d take a few hacks out for a free lunch, pretend four courses and half a bottle of Armagnac counted as a tasting, and watch the coverage roll in over the next month.’
Journalists who proved a bit slow to write even a few token paragraphs, she said, could usually be encouraged to uphold their part of the bargain by ‘innocently asking them who they shared a cab home with… in front of their partner.’
Keeping it reel
But Hustler says recently things have changed – for the worse.
‘Nowadays these new journo influencers say the free lunch is just for coverage in their newspaper column.
‘But they’ll only turn up in the first place if we pay a thousand pounds for their ‘reel’.’
Research by Fake Booze has revealed that this is nothing to do with fishing. But a short video where someone holds a glass of wine above their heads on the interweb and whoops enthusiastically.
News of the new hard-nosed financial reality has been met with dismay by old school journalists. Barnaby Claret-Trouser, who has written a weekly column for the Oxbridge Clarion for the last 50 years says it crosses a journalistic red line.
‘Wine writing has always been about eulogising a few bottles of Chianti in return for a nice plate of Bistecca Fiorentina,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘If I wanted a job where I was actually paid properly I’d be an accountant.’
Encouraging a situation where journalists were paid sizable sums for content would, he said, ‘encourage the wrong sort of people into the profession’ and also ‘went against the spirit of everything that has made wine writing what it is today.
‘Which is to say largely ignored.’
However journalist, content creator, social media strategist, brand consultant, and Instagrammer Ann Fluencer rejected accusations that what she was doing was wrong.
‘I have very clear ethical guidelines that I’ve come up with by myself,’ she told Fake Booze. ‘I write about stuff I like at lunch. And then wineries pay me separately as their Social Media Strategist to hold a glass of their wine above my head on my Instagram.’
When asked whether such behaviour was pointless narcissism that achieved sod all and would be looked at in bemusement by future generations, Fluencer was dismissive.
‘It’s valuable content that gets thousands of likes from Gen Z wine consumers and if brands don’t do it they’ll literally die,’ she said.
‘And by the way, this interview will cost you a grand.
‘Now can you look into the camera, hold the glass a bit higher and shout ‘woooo’?’
Click here to see why idiots think that spicy rosé could be the next trend