A hate letter from a winery owner over a review
Hey, I’m used to getting some tough reaction from wineries over my scores, but really, this is the most violent blowback I ever got. I’m not going to identify the emailer, but you can determine for yourself if it’s psycho talk. Read it, then I’ll continue with my remarks.
A Small Man in Many Ways
S-tupid, small minded
T-atooed like a fool
E-rectile inversion, get the pump
H-omosapien, poor excuse for one
M-ean, will someday meet his maker like all the rest of us but how will he explain the…
O-ff putting, odorous, bullshit he feeds people, his malicious intent reeks
The sender followed this up with a long email the next day. It was laced with obscenities and sexual innuendo. Here’s a taste: “FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT.”
What happened was, I gave one of this winery’s wines a score they didn’t like (84). This evidently led to a situation with one of their distributors that was not in their favor. The writer also disliked the text part of my review. “The written portion of your reviews reveal your lack of tact, lack of poise and expose you as a bully,” she wrote.
I want to say something here about my written reviews. I taste a lot of wine that is mediocre and some that is outright bad. Long ago, I developed a philosophy I’ve hewed to for years. It goes something like this: If a wine is mediocre, give it the appropriate numerical rating, but write the review up in more positive terms, for the sake of compassion. There’s no sense kicking a man when he’s already down on the ground. There’s always a way to say something critical in a kind way, as opposed to being downright nasty.
Some other parts of the email:
Most of the wines submitted to you had received gold medals Do you expect me to be impressed that a wine got a gold medal someplace? Should that make me think twice about my impression of it?
[A friend] said: Wow, what beef does he have with ___ Winery? I have no beef with any winery. Wine reviewing isn’t personal.
You’re one of those fame chasers, a popularity seeker Actually, it’s just the opposite. Ask around to find out how little I enjoy “fame.”
Your writing is mediocre at best. Now, that is below the belt! Give me credit at least for being a good writer, even if you don’t like what I say!
People are your ‘friends’ because they’re afraid of you I don’t know if she means my Facebook friends, or my actual friends. Anyway, if some people are afraid of me, there’s not a thing I can do about it. I tell them not to be. I hope no one is. I don’t know why they would be. I encourage people to call, email, whatever, and I tell them not to apologize for interrupting me, etc. When I’m on the road, I don’t throw any weight around. There’s no reason to be afraid of me. I try my best to let everyone know that I’m just this guy living in Oakland who’s paid to write about wine.
[You’re] just trying to get a free meal OMG! I hope all the winemakers and public relations people who know this isn’t true will write in! In the beginning, yes, I did accept every invitation to lunch or dinner. That was 20 years ago. The novelty wore off quickly. I go to about 10 lunches a year, max, and maybe half as many dinners. I do it for work, not because I want a free meal.
It’s funny how the writer uses the word “little” so much in both her emails. Yes, I’m short. So what? Do we have to resort to ad hominem attacks? She also called me “a trust fund type.” That’s a laugh, as my CPA will tell you. I’m “a bloodsucker.” An “oddity.” I “aspire to be accepted by the elitist pigs.” Really? Tell that to my friends in Occupy Oakland.
Okay, the emailer had to get it off her chest. I feel her pain. I need to vent, too, when stuff happens to me that I think is unfair. But really, have we descended so far down the etiquette chain that it’s now considered appropriate to send crap like this?