I was recently approached by Stacey Marrs of the web site Letstalkwine.com (I'm not including a link because I do not want to increase their web traffic). She wrote:
I notice that you publish articles and other content that tackle different aspects in the world of wine. Would you be interested in having more wine-related articles for your site? My best writer on staff knows a lot about the subject and extensively writes for our website as well.
From the beginning, something seemed fishy. Why cramp my style? I know I've got a good thing going... why should you get a piece?
Visiting Letstalkwine.com, I found an article on Puglia's wine that is filled with poorly researched (did they do any real research?) and incorrect information. The internet is filling up with what a college buddy once called pocket knowledge, i.e. hearsay. It's getting easier and easier to pass along misinformation. I say it has to stop. When I write articles, I do my research and I list my sources whenever applicable. Writing a blog post once a week or more, we're bound to make mistakes, but Letstalkwine.com took it one step further: They tried to publish their crappy articles on my blog.
For the love of Bacchus, if you're a blogger who received a similar email from Stacy Marrs, don't let her "professional writer" anywhere near your site. Below is a list of the false information published on their site. It's also worth mentioning that Daniel Manu, the "professional writer" of the article Let's Talk About Puglia's Wine, has no online presence as far as I can tell. Further, Letstalkwine.com provides zero contact information on their web site and their About page is blank, leaving one to conclude that there's simply nothing to write about them. If they don't provide a service, such as entertainment or information, do they even exist?
False Information Published in Letstalkwine.com's Article Let's Talk About Puglia's Wine:
"...Puglia is the biggest producer of wine in Italy..."
Puglia was behind the Veneto and Sicily last I knew. The 2010 GAIN report said that Puglia's overall production fell by 7 percent while Sicily's rose 10 percent.
"...The flagship red grape is Primitivo, used to make food wines..."
Roughly 80% of Puglia is planted with the Negroamaro grape. This is a number told to me by multiple winemakers in Puglia. I can't find a reliable source for this online, but one wine producer wrote this. My main point is that you might want to mention the Negroamaro grape somewhere in your article on Puglia's wine.
"But Puglia has a bit of a shameful background. For years it has produced “plonk”. Plonk is a term used to refer to very poor quality wines, the kind of wines that will make you spit in disgust. They would illegally blend this excuse for a wine to create mediocre ones."
No, Puglia winemakers shipped vino sfuso north, then northern wine producers "illegally" blended the wine. Relax: Puglia's vino sfuso can be quite good.
Of the Castel Del Monte DOC: "This delicate wine comes in white, red and rose version. "
Besides good grammar, this sentence leaves out the fact that the wine comes in several versions.