The wine trade is welcoming back the start of its first proper tasting season in 18 months with a celebratory wave of moaning.
‘It’s so good to see the trade getting back to what it does best,’ said drinks PR Emma Longlunch. ‘Namely bitching about everyone else and complaining loudly.’
Scores of ‘senior’ figures in the wine trade are already said to be suffering from ROMO – the Reality Of Missing Out – as they discover that they are no longer on wine PR invitation lists.
‘The first I know of tastings, dinners, and overseas trips these days is when I see them the next day on Instagram,’ complained 65-year-old veteran, Wynn Wright-Air. ‘It’s almost like these companies aren’t interested in getting their products in front of the readers of the Old Scrotington Church Gazette.
‘Both of them.’
Through a glass, darkly
The frustration appears industry-wide with the British Instagram and Bloggers Engagement Media Executive (BRIBEME) agreeing that the return to proper events has been poorly handled.
‘Most of these tastings seem to be taking place in luxurious, dimly-lit restaurants carpeted in flowers,’ said spokesperson @wine4dayz. ‘How can you apply the WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting in an environment like that? Worse, you can’t even see my new shoes.
‘They’re Charlotte Olympia by the way.’
Asked if there should be a return to more traditional events, @Wine4Dayz said ‘Absolutely, we should go back to taking pictures in a park, wearing big hats and bikinis like normal people’ before adding ‘are you paying me for this interview as an #ad or a #paidpromotion? It’s important to be ethical.’
However Callum Ment-Pod from the drinks media advisory group PIFFLE (Partnership for Imprecision, Fiction, Flagrant Lying and Extortion) said that tight budgets meant that drinks companies were having to get the most out of every event they run.
‘Our members’ sole concern is serving our clients, and maximising exposure for their products,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘And if two-second ‘views’ mean an Insta post can look like it’s reached more people that a two-page spread in the New York Times, then that’s fine by us.
‘Especially as clients pay us the same. I mean if you don’t tell them we won’t.’
Inclusivity and openness
Ment-Pod told Fake Booze that PIFFLE had a strong mission statement of ‘inclusivity and openness’ and ‘promoting drinks knowledge to all’.
His members, he said, were busily sticking to that remit by ‘inclusively not inviting old people who don’t understand social media’ and ‘rigorously promoting knowledge to people who have no interest in it.’
‘These days it’s all about influencing the influencers,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘The numbers don’t lie.
‘And if they do, we ignore them because it makes our life easier.’