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09 December 2009

"Making dangerous predictions..."

This was the title of Tim Atkin MW's column in UK drinks retailing fortnightly Off Licence News on 20th November. In quick summary: sommelier, wine guide author and TV personality Matt Skinner appears to have got his fingers burnt in his just-released "the Juice 2010" by recommending "a number of New World wines from the 2009 vintage that he could not have seen before the book's deadline in May." His defence was "...some of the wines he included... are consistently good from year to year." I don't know Matt nor have I read any of his books, but Tim's quite right to point out that he's on rather dodgy ground here in retaining credibility with readers. But what grabbed my attention more is the "excuse" forwarded by the publisher: "this was a way to get around long lead times and potential public disappointment," as in the past apparently "several of Skinner's choices had sold out before the book hit the shelves." Indeed, talk about accidentally admitting this style of paper guide now seems more or less pointless, thanks to the traditional publishing process itself! As Tim concluded, "Why not put the whole thing online to make it more immediate and up to date?" Then again, if you're reading this and agreeing, you already know where the future / present lies for wine writing!

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