Open Letter to Germany’s well known Wineguide Publisher

Almost a month ago, most German Winerys received a letter from a Book Publisher, asking for a fee, so they can continue publishing their Wine Guidebook. Unfortunately, it was confusing many winemakers… and as many don’t take part in competitions, where you pay an entry fee… it seemed a bit too confusing.

Many winemakers also have their personal “Love and Hate” with this Wine Guidebook. People working on this book may have gained too much influence. It just needed a very little reason to turn away. Talking to my collegues, about what they have experienced sometimes wants me to shout out loud or just vomit. So much helplessness!

Times change. The Internet opens up, gets social, communication grows. We have the right to express our thoughts! Everyone of us fears bad ratings.. a loss of prestige…  a loss of revenue… Standing outside makes it harder selling wine.

Yes. this guidebook has been a great tool for marketing wines. And for many Winerys it still is “the tool”. And because of this, the publisher only wanted to survive by collecting a voluntary fee, so that the winerys can support this very cheap way of marketing their wines.

But when money gets involved, who guarantees that all is O.K.?

To many questions…

And the reponse of a small Group of elite winerys in Germany…

So here is the open letter…

Dear sirs,
reading your letter from the 8th of June 2009, we see that you need our financial help to continue your guidebook. As you have included in you letter, it is courteous not to collect an entry fee.
We fully agree with this attitude, also for future publications.

The signees will therefore not comply with your request for financial assistance.
We fully acknowledge the wine-political tension doing this in public, and therefore feel the relationship
to your guide disturbed is such a way, that we will not send you any more winesamples for tasting.

At the same time, we expect, that for the future, you will not publish any more tasting notes nor reviews of our winerys any more.

We would like to thank for the very pleasant cooperation with all of you contributing to your guide.
Also respect and gratitude for all the positive contributions to market German wines in Germany and foreign countries.


Blogpost reaction from Wine Rambler

11 Replies to “Open Letter to Germany’s well known Wineguide Publisher”

  1. brave, but it seems, necessary

    if at least they offered to modify their business model and become more open and inclusive, that might be worth paying for.

    … otherwise, good riddance

    hope it all works out well for you

  2. Please do keep us posted on their response, if there is any. And I think you are right about new way of “marketing” emerging (if that word still makes sense), so Gault Millau might rather want to think about changing their business model than charging vintners. Good luck!

  3. may I politely enquire whether I can offer any help with the English side of things? your estate is renowned, not reknown, and the blog of Wine Plasures, would that be wine Pleasures by any chance?
    Das soll keine Besserwisserei sein, sondern ein echtes Angebot.

  4. and another thing, collaboration means working together with the enemy, collaborator really being a “Schimpfwort”. What you meant was cooperation. Maybe it would be better to invest the 200 Euros in the services of a truly bilingual wine journalist?

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