Philippe Boucheron makes some salient points about the role of wine writers (Feedback, Jan 25), and it would certainly be good to see some more bite from many whose work apppears in the nationals.
As I'm sure he's aware, it's borderline with many wine writers whether their primary motivation for doing the job is to promote wine and the
industry, or to be on the receiving end of free samples and press junkets . Who can blame them for not wanting to rock the boat?
BMW will still let Clarkson drive their cars if he has a pop at them because they can't afford not to. But Philippe is living in cloud cuckooland if he thinks there's a single wine writer out there who has the mainstream pull and influence of Clarkson.
However many times Oz Clarke takes a spin round one of his favourite wine regions with one of Clarkson's pals, it's the boorish, macho petrolhead that the majority of viewers tune into watch.
There's also a fundamental difference in the nature of the freebie. Motoring journalists get the loan of a car for a day or two - and then have to give it back. A wine trip is a wine trip, and a free sample is a free sample - freebies, plain and simple.