• Several weeks ago, at a conference of the American Association of Wine Economists, Robin Goldstein revealed that he had created a fictional Italian restaurant and entered its wine list in the annual Wine Spectator magazine running for awards of excellence -- and got one. Michael Veseth, noted author and director of the International Political Economy program at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, chaired the session at which the sting was described. Now that he has thought about the scandal for a while, Veseth makes his thoughts known. Here's an excerpt.
" ... It’s too bad that Wine Spectator got caught in the restaurant award scam because they seem to be pretty careful to avoid paid-placement problems in the wine ratings section.
"So where is the outrage? I’m not sure outrage is called for here. But I do think that we all need to be critical consumers of wine reviews publications and ratings (just as we are with advertising and media in general). And I’d encourage wine publications to try to be especially transparent in drawing the line between editorial content and paid commercial features."