17 January — SWEDEN – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and renowned Swedish photojournalist Johan Berglund have teamed up to create a new wine review website that is both visually enticing and refreshingly honest.
Backed by a small group of Swedish wine loving investors, none of whom have any ties to the wine industry, Perrotti-Brown and Berglund seek a return to the high ethical standards initially championed by Robert M. Parker, Jr. back when he started The Wine Advocate in 1978.
“Unbiased wine criticism is important for wine lovers who are seeking to navigate the world of fine wine,” said Perrotti-Brown. “At its foundation, a reputable wine criticism publication should not accept money from any other wine related entities. Many consumers believe this is the case when they read reviews from well-known critics. Still, numerous conflicts of interest have come to light in recent years, such as selling event tables to wineries and score previews to retailers through ultra-premium subscriptions. Some supposedly reputable publications – ones that claim to be independent – are guilty of such practices. As a result, faith in wine reviews has been eroded to the point where buyers no longer know who they can trust.”
While sound ethics are at the heart of The Wine Independent, it promises consumers much more than unbiased reviews. Johan Berglund is the award-winning photographer behind numerous books about iconic producers, including Chateau Pontet-Canet, Le Do^me, and Troplong Mondot. To pursue his dream of launching his own wine publication, he will no longer work on behalf of wineries but focus his talents on telling the visual stories-behind-the-stories of regions and producers at The Wine Independent.
“The Wine Independent will inform and surprise wine lovers with a steady stream of original, continuously evolving content beyond the ratings,” said Johan Berglund. “We look forward to taking our readers on exciting journeys into the lives of the people from the regions we cover, with in-depth features and visual storytelling. As for editorial staff, we will grow organically at a steady pace.”
While Perrotti-Brown and Berglund are the controlling shareholders of The Wine Independent, they intend to bring more critics on board, offering equity as part of the company’s incentive package. “At Robert Parker Wine Advocate, it was my job to find and on-board talented reviewers for more than thirteen years,” mentioned Perrotti-Brown. “At The Wine Independent , we similarly plan to cover the fine wine world using a team of regional experts. If there are great wines out there that collectors need to know about, we will cover them.”
Apart from comprehensiveness and expertise, Perrotti-Brown cites the timeliness of reviews as another critical factor in servicing consumers. “When wines that are in high demand and short supply hit the market, we will be there with all the facts and advice so that our readers can make informed decisions.”
The website also promises groundbreaking new search capabilities to help consumers find wines that suit their palates and philosophies. “We’re emerging from an era when a disproportionate emphasis was placed on wine scores, largely because scores were the easiest and quickest part of a wine review to understand. But scores are simply an indication of relative quality. An accurately written, meaningful tasting note can offer more information about the wine’s style and flavor and therefore be even more valuable to consumers. With this in mind, we are adding an expansive range of filters to our wine search function, some of which are not currently found on any other wine website. This will help subscribers navigate the tasting notes with greater speed and ease.”
TheWineIndependent.com launches in May 2022. An interim site is available from 17th January 2022.
Instagram: @thewineindependent Facebook: thewineindependent Twitter: @thewineind
About Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
Born and raised in rural Maine, Lisa has spent over 25-years working in the wine industry, living in London, Tokyo, Singapore, and now Napa, California. In 2008, she became a Master of Wine and began working for Robert M. Parker, Jr. at The Wine Advocate. In 2013, she became Editor in Chief for Robert Parker Wine Advocate and RobertParker.com and was the publication’s critic for the wines of Bordeaux, Napa Valley, and Sonoma County. Her first book,Taste Like a Wine Critic: A Guide to Understanding Wine Quality, was published in 2015. In 2021, Lisa left Robert Parker Wine Advocate to become co-founder of The Wine Independent.
About Johan Berglund
Johan trained as a documentary photographer at ICP in New York in the early 1990s after having spent much of his youth backpacking throughout Asia and Africa. On returning to Sweden, he received a series of photojournalism assignments from leading Scandinavian newspapers and travelled to conflict areas around the world. In 1999, he won Photographer of the Year and Picture of the Year. 2006 marked a turning point, when Johan visited Bordeaux during En Primeur for the first time. His maiden barrel sample was Chateau Latour 2005 and since then, he has never looked back. He has attended every Bordeaux Primeur since.The Wine Independent started as a seed in Johan’s mind ten years ago and is now coming to fruition in collaboration with co-founder Lisa Perrotti-Brown.