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Monday, October 17, 2011

Give this a Swirl: Wine Regions Redraw the Lines

Last week as I was traveling home from the Red Mountain AVA in Washington State, where cool temps pushed back the harvest dates for a second season. I ran to catch my flight from Seattle to San Diego, but not without some reading material.

I'm constantly amused at how wrong folks can be when think they have a full grasp of the facts and are allowed by their editor to run willy-nilly with their story and plonk it down right on the front page of the paper. Not just any paper mind you, but on the front pages of USA Today.

It is kind of surprising to see these types of glaring errors on front page of a major paper, but it does lead me to conclude or carefully consider just one thing when I see a story like this on the front page, that perhaps fat ad-revenues via eye catching headlines are far more important than getting the story correct.

So once at the airport, as my usual custom I picked up a USA Today, as I've skipped seeing or reading any news items the entire week while I was there [nice break]. So I hopped on the plane and sat down and buckled up, as I started to read the dire prediction on the front page about the coming end of the Napa Valley as a grape growing region and how wine from the Willamette Valley is virtually unknown, I just had to laugh out loud.

So this is what I read on the USA Today’s front page on two weeks ago. It was an article entitled, Taste this: Climate change may redraw wine regions [btw, the paper article is way different than the online version, much is omitted]. The only thing I could taste in this article was a bad case of fact checking.

The article foolishly suggested that the Willamette Valley is a "little known wine-grape growing region" and may, just may start to see some growth according to a controversial study. Don't you just love to read articles by folks who like to cite unsubstantiated studies as facts to support their story line; I do it makes for rather amusing reading.

I thought to myself "really" as I read the article stating Oregon's Willamette Valley is "little-known". I just started to chuckle, I mean come-on USA Today if you’re going put an article on the front page of your paper, you may want to have someone who has a clue about wine, writing the article. I’m just saying, you could have done a little fact checking before you hit the publish button. But hey we all make mistakes, unfortunately this one was kind of glaring like a crocodiles eyes on a Louisiana bayou.

Even the garden variety vino-sapien, understands immediately that saying the Willamette Valley is a little known area for wine production in print, on the front page, is automatic fail. The slate of other inaccuracies in this piece are far too numerous to point out here, but appear to be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding the article. Hey USA Today, if you need someone to cover the wine-beat, that knows his way around a wine bottle, let me know I’d be glad to talk about doing some freelance work, give me a call. Until next time everyone, sip long and prosper, cheers!
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