Vintage Beacon Circa May 2010: Free Wine Events

Knew that would get your attention!

Now, stop reading right this second if you think there are such things as free wine events. Nonsense. At least there are none for you. On the other hand, and that would be my other hand, there are plenty for moi.

Wine Etiquette For Everyone by Eve Bushman Available Now on Amazon.comIn seeking a career as a wine writer I found out fairly early that receiving wine, and being invited to events, are standard.

Now, before you run out to your local stationers to purchase sheets of business cards that you plan to imprint Biggie Wine Writer on, you’d be stopped dead in your tracks at a wine event if you simply A. Don’t have a blog, or B. Your articles can’t be found on a Google search.

(I have an old friend that danced his way onto the stage during a New York Ballet performance, once, on chutzpah alone. Never again. Don’t even think he can attend any ballet now. The point being made here is that there’s more I must tell you before you know the full skinny.)

Starting with winery representatives that learn your name via their ever-present search for, “who is” talking about them comes the, “who isn’t” talking about them. Then, if they send you a bottle, you are moved into their first group, the talking about them group, and your work is done. Until their next vintage…

The way we get to go to events for free is because they want us to review the event, and, wineries can get more out of me writing about an event – especially if it’s before said event – than they can from you as the one bottle a day consumer.

The perks might be:


Being treated like a queen in your local wine bars and restaurants that you’ve been generous enough to give glowing reviews of, and then, copied them to your Yelp, Twitter and Facebook pages.

The best wine education for free when you get to interview sommeliers and winemakers.

More than your fair share of tasting groups with friends that want to be quoted saying impressive things like “Ripe Berry!”

A collection of corks your sister-in-law can make corkboards and trivets out of.

Free trade publications to keep you in the liquor loop.

The gamut of gifts from friends that know exactly what you like.

Surprise desserts from the chef for all at your table! (While we’re talking about meals be careful of the people that want to meet you for “lunch”. They may expect to drink wine at lunch and will be upset  if you suggest the food court in your local mall.)

Your name in a wine bar’s newsletter when you “work” there one night a year for charity.

Everybody, and I mean everybody, greets you with, “I want your job!” Because your passion is transparent.


Downside you ask? I still do buy my own wine, have wine club memberships at some wineries, buy books and attend continuing education classes. And it’s not only needed, but expected, that I do these things.

Sometimes I have a hard time telling a winemaker, the one that sent me a bottle for my opinion, that I didn’t care for their wine. I’m not a winemaker. I’m not a wine expert. I am one person with one opinion. But don’t let me convince you – too hard – of that one. Then I’d really be out of a really, very cool, job!

Lastly, if you are going to begin a career as a wine blogger, as of 2010 wine bloggers now must disclose to the Federal Trade Commission if they purchased or were gifted any wine that they review. I think that’s a great idea.