PR and Wine: A Bitches Brew

A few commentators have noticed that the South African wine writing fraternity appears to ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ occasionally ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ have one or two disagreements in its ranks. This group of vinous wordsmiths has even been described as “the most negative wine press in the world” for its vigorous internal debating skills and certain members’ habit of taking the odd pot-shot at one another.

Said commentators would be appalled, however, at the current state of the South African public relations’ industry tasked with promoting and representing a number of wine brands and related organisations.

When it comes to back-stabbing, bitchiness and the eschewing of general business ethics, we in the PR ranks make the wine writing community look like a bunch of Bob Dylan fans at a love-in.

Of course, this always seem to be the case when money is at stake. At least wine writers are divided by differences of,opinions, personality clashes and the odd bit of sexual frustration.

For PR practitioners, it’s about money, who is getting the clients and professional envy. Bad-mouthing other PRs as well as trying to do in the odd journalist who is not playing along seems to be part of the business.

The fact that the PR industry is unregulated and anyone with a laptop, a wine guide and a slick mouth can charge wineries between R6 000 and R50,000 a month to “represent” them is perhaps at the root of the cause. Because see, it is a small market, and to get your foot in the door a PR must sometimes use tactics that would not go down as ethical in most business circles.

A common one is for PRs to spread personal rumours about their peers. As purveyors of reputation management, PR people are ideally positioned to know to what extent a bit of scurrilous gossip can damage a competitor’s brand.

Subsequently a number of rumours about PRs are circulated that would have a tabloid editor reaching for a valium. Allegations of mental instability, apparent mismanagement of clients’ funds and the sexual proclivity of a heavy metal rock-star have all been deployed by certain PR agents working in the SA wine industry in attempts to “get one-over” other practitioners.

PRs who ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ on request ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ write about an aspect about wine for a publication cause other PRs to run, screaming and shaking, to Press Ombudsmen accusing the perpetrators of “conflict of interest”.

Then there are the so-called Chinese walls. Here PR consultancies represent wine industry organisations and major wine producers, which amounts to nothing more than massive conflicting interest in its own right.

Dog-eat-dog is one thing. This everybody realises. But when all the dogs are devoured with only the bitches remaining, PRs contribute as much to the negative image of South Africa’s wine industry as all the other naysayers for whom the wine industry is not a heartfelt passion, but simply a meal-ticket.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “PR and Wine: A Bitches Brew

  1. So… the rumours about you, Melvyn Minnaar, the Swedish masseuse and the bottle of Dom P is blatantly untrue?

  2. Melvyn Minnaar and a Swedish masseuse now there is a thought…Saw your lovely letter in the Burger to Malema, Joost and Steve. What a laugh.

    Wine is still rock n roll too me!
    Dionysus

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