Mark Aselstine
May 16, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

Steve Heimoff on Wine Reviews and Thank You’s

Steve Heimoff on Wine Reviews and Thank You’s

First let’s start if you aren’t familiar with Mr Heimoff, he is the west coast editor of Wine Enthusiast. He held the same position at Wine Spectator before moving over and has been a part of the wine industry for as long as I’ve been alive. Steve is a fixture of the California wine scene and behind the scenes, holds much of the same power when it comes to scores and selling wine as does Robert Parker, without much of the consumer acceptance.

Secondly, we’ll also mention that Wine Enthusiast runs a wine club and is a direct competitor of ours (no I’m not going to link to it here). They offer a few clubs and international choices end up in 3 of their 4 club options, so we won’t get too bent out of shape over the competition angle.

Of more interest for our customers is how Steve views his job working for a magazine which allows wineries to advertise, while reviewing and selling wine at the same time.

To me, that’s an interesting paradox and must be a challenge to keep all those activities separate. Yes, I think they do a good job currently, but it is a concern of mine going forward as competition in our space continues to increase. I mean, how can we expect newspapers to exist if they aren’t selling wine right?

In any case, I get what he’s saying about being thanked for being supportive. We get much of the same reaction, although on a much smaller scale I’m sure. As an independent wine club we aren’t required to buy wine from the same people year after year.

Yes, it can be strange and somewhat surreal to have to explain that you aren’t placing an order because you didn’t think the wine was as good in their current vintage. Yes, it can hurt relationships.

We hope that wineries whom we largely consider our partners more than anything understand that doing the best thing for our customers is good for everyone long term. There are plenty of distributors out there who are required to push whatever wine comes their way from their clients.

That isn’t our model and it won’t ever be our model.

As for Steve, I hope reviewers at his magazine and others are able to remain as impartial as he has always seemed to be.


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