Beating the Ethics Horse on Twitter

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The following is a transcript of “tweets” captured when the topic of Wine Bloggers, Wine Writers and Ethics was posted on twitter.  I put them in time order, reversing the order one gets on twitter by using the hashtag #wss2010.  I tried to include all those directly related to the discussion.

@Meadowoodnews #wws2010 Moderator: Steve Heimoff. Panelists Michael Bauer; Heather John; Thomas Ulrich, CSU San Jose journalism department

@vinography Starting conversation of ethics in wine writing at Wine Writers Symposium. Steve Heimoff presiding. #wws2010

@cfwineedu RT @1WineDude: Kicking off #wws2010 Ethics panel Dude, Aren’t they mutually exclusive :-) let us know the details of the debate.

@RonMcFarland @1WineDude would be good to start with definition of ethics #wws2010

@alaingles RT @ItalianWineGuy: #wws2010 ask not what your online community can do for you-ask what you can do for your online community

@ablegrape Really enjoyed panel with @vinography @patcisco @steveheimoff @1winedude – wish we had had more time! #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews RT @ablegrape: Really enjoyed panel with @vinography @patcisco @steveheimoff @1winedude – wish we had had more time! #wws2010

@1WineDude It’s taken about 5 mins. for Rockaway to be mentioned in the #wws2010 Ethics panel :-P #thistopicwillneverdie

@GalaxyNT RT @ablegrape: Really enjoyed panel with @vinography @patcisco @steveheimoff @1winedude – wish we had had more time! #wws2010

@IamBlu2 RT @vinography: Starting conversation of ethics in wine writing at Wine Writers Symposium. Steve Heimoff presiding. #wws2010

@RobBralow RT @RonMcFarland: @1WineDude would be good to start with definition of ethics #wws2010

@ablegrape My inner vocab geek loved @patcisco using “execrable” (state of American Syrah) and “multifarious” (referring to zesterdaily.com) #wws2010

@winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. What’s yours? http://bit.ly/cwzgeT

@1WineDude RT @ablegrape: Really enjoyed panel with @vinography @patcisco @steveheimoff @1winedude – wish we had had more time! #wws2010 <- you RAWK!

@Meadowoodnews RT @winebroad: Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. What’s yours? http://bit.ly/cwzgeT

@cfwineedu RT @1WineDude: It’s taken about 5 mins. for Rockaway to be mentioned in the #wws2010 Ethics panel :-P http://bit.ly/bL0MXb

@SommJ A panel on new media #wws2010 has prompted a flurry of tweets from the likes of @ablegrape, @vinography, @1winedude. Sign of the times

@1princeT RT @ablegrape: Really enjoyed panel with @vinography @patcisco @steveheimoff @1winedude – wish we had had more time! #wws2010

@1WineDude Is there an issue re: the proper distance between wine writing and PR / wineries (ads, freebies, junkets…)? #wws2010

@amaynard6 Okay. The #wws2010 sounds super interesting.

@1WineDude “It’s easy to have ethics when you have money.” #wws2010

@oreanawinery RT @1WineDude: “It’s easy to have ethics when you have money.” #wws2010

@1WineDude RT @amaynard6: Okay. The #wws2010 sounds super interesting. <- It is; brainpower & talent in this room is making me feel like a total hack!

@ UCBeau RT @1WineDude: “It’s easy to have ethics when you have money.” #wws2010 — love it! the hidden implications make me laugh.

@winetravel Getting a glass of paid-for Chilean Riesling to accompany tweets on ethics from #wws2010 (sorry guys, I’m in the UK where it is wine time).

@OliverStyles @1WineDude @UCBeau “hidden implications make me laugh” What, saying that most bloggers have no ethics…?! #wws2010

@GalaxyNT RT @ablegrape: My inner vocab geek loved @patcisco using “execrable” (state of American Syrah) and “multifarious” (referring to zesterdaily.com) #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: is it okay to accept junkets – possibly depends on what the PR / winery is expecting / demanding in return #wws2010

@ OpiciImports wine writers and freebies – well done! RT @winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. http://bit.ly/cwzgeT

them..transparency is key right? #wws2010
@UCBeau @1WineDude I’d imagine it’s ok to accept junkets as long as you clearly mention that you do accept

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Bon Appetit changed policy on press trips (now accepted, without conditions of coverage tho) #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews Cheers! RT @winetravel: Getting a glass of paid-for wine 2 follow tweets on ethics #wws2010 (sorry guys, in UK its wine time)

@1WineDude Ethics panel: “wine writers have a really bad reputation” (e.g., req multiple bottles, accepting comp dinner & ordering $$$$ wine) #wws2010

@kerrynewberry Hope this once black and white issue, now a fuzzy line of Editorial vs. PR comes up today during Ethics Panel at #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: editors will not hire you if you’re pushing the envelope too much and being a jerk #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: “The higher the ethics, the lower the income stream?” #wws2010

@cfwineedu RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: is it okay to accept junkets – Is Robert Parker on hte Panel ;-) He should be #wws2010

@1WineDude @OliverStyles Definitely NOT saying that here #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews Great ethics discussion between wine writers & panelists happening. Follow tweets on #wws2010 to keep up! Add your voice!

@1WineDude Ethics panel: “The media mooches” are the “worst offenders” for editors #wws2010

@kerrynewberry Hmm, what about integrity? RT @1WineDude “It’s easy to have ethics when you have money.” #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: In their experience, the print media journalists have more potential ethics offenders than do online writers #wws2010

@RonMcFarland RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: “The media mooches” are the “worst offenders” for editors #wws2010

@winetravel Ethics in wine writing – yes, but surely honesty/transparency is the most important aspect. As per @winebroad ‘s post? #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Personal ethics and official newspaper / mag ethics standards may differ #wws2010

@TishWine talking wine writing ethics only in context of trips, samples misguided. blurring lines bet edit and ads in print also a problem. #wws2010

@joejanish compare to travel writers? they get trips paid for by resorts, hotels, spas, etc RT @1WineDude is it okay to accept junkets #wws2010

@OliverStyles @1WineDude #wws2010 Sorry, but I disagree with that – personal ethics occur in print as much as they do online

@1WineDude @TishWine Haven’t touched on ads yet, audience is mostly concerned on individual ethics #wws2010

@LENNDEVOURS @1WineDude What’s the problem with requesting 2 bottles of a wine? #wws2010

@1WineDude @OliverStyles I’m just streaming from the panel – these aren’t my opinions #wws2010

@winetravel RT @TishWine: wine writing ethics … blurring lines bet edit and ads in print also a problem. #wws2010 – Not only a problem, unforgivable

@Heather John (at Bon Appetit): PR friends tell me nightmare stories about poor ethics from wine writers. Worst are print writers. #wws2010

@vinography Heather John: wine writers abusing sample requests, asking for free food/lodging, ordering most expensive wine at free dinner. #wws2010

@OliverStyles @UCBeau Ethics is tough – sometimes I think even bloggers compromise to get readers #wws2010

@winetravel Yes @joejanish: compare to travel writers? they get trips paid for by resorts etc #wws2010 … And they also debate this.

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Can u write objectively about people with whom you’re partying, friendly, etc.? #wws2010

@AlisonBing Wine + ethics: do freebies affect reviews? Paying for #LP Napa/Sonoma guide research gave me consumer’s keen sense of value/price. #wws2010

@rafaibarra RT @vinography: Heather John: PR friends tell me nightmare stories about poor ethics from wine writers. Worst are print writers. #wws2010

@vinography Can wine writers be friends with winemakers, winery owners and not compromise their objectivity? Ethics panel at #wws2010

@winetravel RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: Can u write objectively about people with whom you’re partying, friendly, etc.? #wws2010 … that’s a toughie

@rafaibarra RT @vinography: Can wine writers be friends with winemakers, winery owners and not compromise their objectivity? Ethics panel at #wws2010

@tirebouchon se amate il vino seguite @1WineDude twitta da #wws2010 napa valley e parla di bloggers e vino, molto in gamba, cool!

@mweb RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: Can u write objectively about people with whom you’re partying, friendly, etc.? #wws2010

@vinography @derricks That appears to be what all the print journalists say, too. Working under a big masthead is a luxury. #wws2010

@OliverStyles #wws2010 ‘The best friends are the ones who stab you in the chest’ – if your know your mates dont mind a bad review, then its ok.

@1WineDude Ethics panel: now getting onto the topic of conflicts from advertising in print journalism #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews Join the discussion at #wws2010 Pro-writers offering GREAT, important info. @writerkathymcd @Millennier

@AlisonBing This is why I prefer to taste anonymously. RT @vinography Can writers be friends with winemakers and not compromise objectivity? #wws2010

@OliverStyles #wws2010 I went 2 Cahors in learjet, had 3 top Guigals at lunch, didn’t write anything abt it. PR girl later: “you took the piss” did i?

@1WineDude Ethics panel: “We underestimate our readers at our own peril” #wws2010

@tandmark RT@winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. What’s yours? http://bit.ly/cwzgeT

@1WineDude Ethics panel: A lot of bloggers are getting offered junkets, juice, etc. -are they also now at risk for negative ethics perception? #wws2010

@1WineDude RT@winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. What’s yours? http://bit.ly/cwzgeT <- Excellent stuff!

@lovewineprofess RT@winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. What’s yours? http://bit.ly/cwzgeT

@lovewineprofess RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: “We underestimate our readers at our own peril” #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Answer what you’re asked, in print, so it has staying power (ie, be as transparent as possible) #wws2010

@OliverStyles As an aside, i remember being in a meeting with advertiser and editor where adv asked for ‘Return on Investment’…..hilarious #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Isn’t it also unfair to rule a wine out because it’s an advertiser? #wws2010 [ great point IMO ]

@kerrynewberry RT @1WineDude @winebroad Here’s my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. http://bit.ly/cwzgeT <- Excellent stuff!

@TheWineRules Same for all us would-be critics? RT @1WineDude: Is there an issue re: the proper distance between wine writing and PR / wineries? #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: (Some) Consensus is that expectations are THE key to ethics (and that ethics can be very personal) #wws2010

@tomcwark @Meadowoodnews What I’ve learned following the tweets is that I wish there were more tweets and wish I were there. Give us more!! #wws2010

@Jason Wilson (Wash Post): press trips lead to lousy stories, what’s the point. Heather John (Bon Appetit) I disagree. #wws2010

@TishWine Another problem with ethics = hiding behind “blind tasting” shield for reviews but then favoring advertisers other ways. #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: It’s simple not possible for all publications to pay their own way due to economics #wws2010

@tomcwark @1WineDude what are the thoughts on the Rockaway thing at #wws2010? Any lessons?

@1WineDude @tomcwark Would be awesome if you were here, man! #wws2010

@1WineDude @tomcwark Not really, just an example of how the issue crosses media types/streams #wws2010

@vinography Heather John: We had the luxury at one time to pay for every travel, meal, wine at Bon Appetit. We no longer do. Times a’changin. #wws2010

@Do artisan wineries who can’t advertise or send out 20% of production in samples get a fair shake in press? Rhetorical question? #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Be transparent & let your readers decide if you’re a shill (or not) #wws2010

@1WineDude @tomcwark Hang on – that very question just got asked…. #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews @tomcwark Taking back seat 2 this one! (Wine Writing & Ethics) Engrossed by attendees tweets #wws2010. Hot, hot topic. Join the discussion!

@UCBeau RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: Be transparent & let your readers decide if you’re a shill (or not) #wws2010 — exactly right in my opinion

@winetravel @AlisonBing Many good artisan producers I know in Europe sell all they produce through word of mouth and hate mainstream press #wws2010

@winebroad Re: press trips #wws2010. Only a bad writer would write “here’s what I did on my press trip.” Good writers find their own angles

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Problem with Rockaway event was that “bloggers were being naive” with agreement to write about the wine, etc. #wws2010

@tomcwark RT @vinography: Can wine writers be friends with winemakers, winery owners & not compromise their objectivity? Ethics panel at #wws2010. YES

@1WineDude Ethics panel: Wine industry seems to be held to much higher standard than other review writing (movies, sports, etc.) #wws2010

@winetravel RT @winebroad: Re: press trips #wws2010 – only a bad writer would write “here’s what I did on my press trip”; Good writers find own angles

@tomcwark RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: Isn’t it also unfair to rule a wine out because it’s an advertiser? #wws2010 –Of Course it is

@TheWineRules RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: A lot of bloggers are getting offered junkets, juice, etc. -are they also now at risk for negative ethics perception? #wws2010

@1WineDude Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? Do you not write about it, or do you cover it? #wws2010 @OliverStyles #wws2010 “higher standard than other review writing”…what? Is that why film and book reviews have 200x column space in newspapers?

@joejanish similar to sportswriters and athletes – i.e. Reggie Jax vs. Jim Rice RT @vinography Can wine writers be friends with winemakers? #wws2010

@tomcwark RE Ethic: Don’t give the perception you are working on behalf of the industry rather than on behalf of your reader. #wws2010

@TheWineRules As Aaron Neville sang, ‘Tell it like it is’ RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? #wws2010

@Emilysteers personally interested in the ethics discussion at #wws2010. i’m sure you can imagine why.

@vinotology RT @tomcwark: RE Ethic: Don’t give the perception you are working on behalf of the industry rather than on behalf of your reader. #wws2010

@winetravel Thanks to those reporting #wws2010 – remember @1WineDude etc. are reporting, NOT giving opinion (same problem @Catavino had at #winefuture)

@wineinkbytia RT @tomcwark: #wws2010 Question: Should people who blog and work in the wine industry EVER do wine reviews?

@1WineDude RT @winecast: @1WineDude Interesting that we bloggers are held to a higher ethical standard by the FTC, huh? <– Yeah – madness! #wws2010

@melissa_iwm Nice query. RT @1WineDude Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? Do you not write about it, or do you cover it? #wws2010

@HipsterEnology RT @TheWineRules: As Aaron Neville sang, ‘Tell it like it is’ RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? #wws2010

@OliverStyles I wish to apologise to any of my followers not on #wws2010 as my posts may give the impression of endless, psychotic, ranting. Sorry.

@1WineDude Ethics panel at #wws2010 now ending – GREAT discussion!

@mirocellars @1WineDude #wws2010 Don’t the glossy magazines sell ads 2 top scorers in the form of labels being included w/ review? Then upsell an ad pkg?

@SommelierChall RT @tomcwark #wws2010 Question: Should people who blog & work in wine industry EVER do wine reviews? [uh, Freedom of Speech?]

@SuzieLin RT @TheWineRules: As Aaron Neville sang, ‘Tell it like it is’ RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? #wws2010

@mwangbickler Somebody please transcript this conversation. It could be very useful to many. #wws2010

@Meadowoodnews RT @winetravel: Thanks to those reporting #wws2010 – remember @1WineDude etc. are reporting, NOT giving opinion (same problem @Catavino had at #winefuture).

@Timfishwine Top movie critics take junkets but not afraid to pan the film or actor they interviewed. Can wine writers on junkets say

@norcalwine It was a good one. RT @vinography: Conversation on ethics in wine writing at Wine Writers Symposium. Steve Heimoff presiding. #wws2010

@savoryexposure RT @vinography Heather John: We had the luxury at one time to pay for every travel, meal, wine at Bon Appetit. We no longer do. #wws2010

@WineSoiree RT @1WineDude: Ethics panel: what happens when the experience is awful? Do you not write about it, ? #wws2010 <~ no need to write negativity

@TomEddyWines #wws2010 What about the writer/blogger’s responsibility to educate?

@Meadowoodnews @tomcwark Hopefully they are reading the blogs and newsletters written by attendees at #wws2010

@HipsterEnology A person has personal integrity. It’s not one’s employment or hobby that dictates whether it’s possessed. Re: Ethics at #wws2010

@pinotblogger @tomcwark Yes. #wws2010

@Timfishwine @tomcwark Can, yes but much more likely to write nothing rather than write anything negative. Big difference. #wws2010

@tomcwark RT @TomEddyWines: #wws2010 What about the writer/blogger’s responsibility to educate? Is there a responsibility? What about entertaining?

@Meadowoodnews #wws2010 Christian Miller starting address w/ points on how current wine economy impacts where consumers get info, what they’re reading.

@winetravel Many worthy Italian artisan wineries aren’t DOC exporters & count on reps made by mags, @SlowFood & guides. #wws2010

@1WineDude: RT @griffiti: offer streaming video and tweets next time. #wws2010 <– AMEN!

@DanSims RT @vinography: Heather John: wine writers abusing sample requests, ask for free food/lodging, order expensive wine at free dinner. #wws2010

@griffiti Thanks 4 compliment but you confuse me with a wine blogger. I’m just a wine and tech geek.

@tomcwark RT @Timfishwine: @tomcwark Can, yes but much more likely to write nothing rather than write anything negative. Big difference. #wws2010

@SommelierChall RT @winebroad …my take on wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. http://bit.ly/cwzgeT [Tina Caputo makes excellent points]

@CriticsChall RT @winebroad …my take on #wine writer ethics, as discussed at #wws2010. http://bit.ly/cwzgeT [Tina Caputo makes excellent points]

@thefoodinista changing my name + identity after heated ethics discussion at wine writers symposium at meadowood! #wws2010

@Barrysentials RT @vinography: Can wine writers b friends w/winemakers, winery owners & not compromise their objectivity? Ethics panel #wws2010 / me: yes!

@TomEddyWines @tomcwark Why can’t a writer be both educational AND entertaining? I believe Asimov does this. You do this. #wws2010

@pinotblogger It would be ridiculous to assert that winemakers should never review wines. They are certainly qualified to give an opinion. IMHO.

@tomcwark @pinotblogger I think it’s a bad idea for a producer to review a wine for print and publication.

@WineWonkette @SommelierChall @tomcwark that’s just STUPID. Who better to provide info about wine to consumers than those who actually know about it?

@tomcwark @WineWonkette If I represent a winery client, should I be reviewing wines that compete with them? I don’t think so.

@WineWonkette @tomcwark so you do not trust your own integrity to review wine because you represent the wine industry on a number of different levels?

@tomcwark @WineWonkette I think any review of the product I give is immediately suspect because of my position and clients.. And I think it should be.

@WineWonkette: @tomcwark oh I always suspect you of something ;) haha.

@WineWonkette @tomcwark it’s all about disclosure. but in that case it violates your responsibility to your client

@WineWonkette @tomcwark. If your employer makes high end boutique wines, a mass produced wine is not its competitor and vice versa

@WineWonkette If your employer makes cabs — no reason not to review a non cab wine unless it violates an agreement with your employer

@tomcwark @WineWonkette I disagree that a cab producer does not compete with a pinot producer.

@WineWonkette And wine bloggers are not investigative reporters. Altho there don’t seem to be any of those in the main stream media any more either

@WineWonkette That’s where the regulations are stupid. Bloggers are word of mouth marketing. Wine WRITERS get PAID to write. The rules are BASSACKWARDS

@WineWonkette Why do we go through this same inane debate every 6 months? Its so completely patronizing to wine drinkers

@WineWonkette What the “ethics” debate sounds like its thought that wine drinkers are little children – it insults the wine drinkers’ intelligence

@SommelierChall To @WineWonkette, @tomcwark – Re #wine “reviews”, surely the issue is integrity. Important not to try to pass of an “ad” as a “review”.

@WineWonkette @SommelierChall Writers in all industries have been passing off ads as reviews for years.

@WineWonkette @SommelierChall I think most of this debate about “bloggers” is pushback from those losing control over information flow, though

@tomcwark RT @WineWonkette: @tomcwark oh I always suspect you of something ;) haha. AND in that you are probably wise.

@griffiti @WineWonkette @tomcwark Bevmedia also won’t review product. Sets up conflict between need for objectivity and biz priorities #nowinsituation

About Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and nearly 10,000 twitter fans. She holds certifications from International Sommelier Guild, regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events and is currently studying for her California Wine Appellation Specialist certification through the San Francisco Wine School.
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    According to the long time attendees, apparently this topic or a version of it is addressed every year. Which means I might expect to be tweeting this stuff again in 12 months if I go back!