Paid-for wine reviews are unethical, Wine Writers of New Zealand has stated in its latest code of ethics, discouraging its members to engage in any work that involves direct payment from a winery, ‘given the possibility of real or perceived conflicts of interest.’
“Being paid directly from the producer for a review removes the independence that we consider crucial to a critic’s integrity and creates a potential for bias, this is not something Wine Writers of New Zealand supports and of which consumers should be made aware,” WWNZ chairwoman and found Jo Burzynska told SupermarketNews.
The group’s code of ethics states that, ‘in the event of minor conflicts, these must be fully and transparently disclosed to all interested parties’. The code also sets out the boundaries of correct behaviour, pointing out that wine samples and industry funded travels can only be accepted under no obligation to review them. Whilst substantial gifts must always be returned or declined, small unsolicited gifts may be kept, as long as they don’t affect content decisions.