Thursday, July 10, 2008

When Self-Promotion Crosses the Line

That can be a tough line to draw, but the issue came to mind when I was in the Napa Valley this past weekend. Stop #1 on our wine-tasting crawl was at Chimney Rock winery in Napa's Stags Leap District.

We opened the door to the tasting room, and immediately we noticed a dozen or so cloth banners that were dangling from the ceiling above us announcing ratings at or above 90 from The Wine Spectator or other wine-reviewing magazines.

It was a bit much. I almost thought I was in a Masonic or guild hall. I'm glad Robert Parker likes your wine, and I'd expect you to have some kind of promotional literature that notes the high ratings your estate wines have received, but don't let it go to your head — or the ceiling.

Stop #2 was at Provenance Vineyards, right next door to Grgich Hills, on the edge of the Rutherford district. The sheet with the tasting notes shared all of the high ratings that Provenance wines had received in recent years, which was enough. I didn't feel as though Provenance crossed the line.

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