Wikipedia:Notability (wine topics)

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Wine topics are frequent subjects of notability discussions. For centuries, wine has been a big topic of worldwide scope. The global accessibility of wine and the views developed by aficionados can lead to passionate opinions about the importance or relevance of particular wines, winemakers, wineries, vineyards, regions, competitions, and related subjects. While working to expand Wikipedia's coverage of the world's knowledge of these wine topics, we must keep Wikipedia's core policies of Verifiability, No original research, and Neutral point of view at the forefront of our editing, and especially be mindful of Notability criteria for inclusion.

This document derives from Wikipedia:Notability and other guidelines and policies, to provide guidance unique to the world of wine, thereby informing decisions on whether an article on a wine topic should be written, merged, deleted, or further developed.

Significant coverage in independent, reliable sources[edit]

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One of the bedrock principles of notability at Wikipedia is the expectation that any notable subject will be the focus of significant coverage in independent, reliable sources. The key word "significant" is important to keep in mind when dealing with wine topics. In some respects, wine is foodstuff like bread. In other respects, winemaking can be considered an art form like music. Wineries, themselves, are the incubators of these ideals with parallels to service industries such as restaurants and bed and breakfast inns. Because wine is so widely known, it is a subject that is widely written about in reliable sources. Therefore, it is important to evaluate whether the coverage is significant in both breadth and relevance, or is mere casual mention.

  • Wines will always be reviewed. Wine critics, newspapers, magazines, blogs, associations and tasting groups conduct thousands of tasting reviews across the globe each year. Each major news publication features someone who reviews wines. Magazines like Wine Spectator exist almost completely for the sole purpose of reviewing wines, producing around 10,000 such reviews a year. In the past 30 years it has been possible for every wine that has been made commercially to receive at least one wine review from a reliable source, regardless of notability. Wine-related reviews are as common as the numerous reviews received by local restaurants. Ultimately, these reviews constitute tasting notes — personal opinions on a product. Being reviewed, even by a major publication, is not the same as receiving significant coverage.
  • Local sources tend to give undue weight to local topics. This scenario often occurs with wine topics where local wineries and winemakers will receive "significant" coverage in local and regional sources simply because they are a local-interest topic. Newspapers, magazines and online websites that are devoted to local issues rarely, if ever, put the subject in the context of a larger scope (such as the greater wine industry). These sources give undue weight to their distinctly local topic and therefore are poor indicators of notability in the context of a global encyclopedia. Therefore, a topic having coverage limited to local resources has not received significant coverage.
  • Brief, casual mentions often lack both context and content. Because wine is such a widely discussed subject, general interest articles on communities or people tend to offer casual, brief mentions of a related wine topic. Some of these articles may be published by reliable and mainstream sources; however, it is important to consider the context as well as the content. If the article is about the general wine industry of a particular region, it is likely to mention several wineries in that region. Being mentioned is not the same as being the topic of the piece. A general interest piece such as a travel article, for example, might mention restaurants, inns, wineries, and other tourist spots. Because Wikipedia is not a directory for tourist spots, brief or casual mentions in general-interest articles are not considered significant enough coverage to establish the notability of the attractions mentioned.

Wineries and wine businesses[edit]

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A good starting point for determining the notability of wineries (and similar businesses such as vineyards, merchants, and distributors) is the notability guideline Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies), which gives much consideration to a company that has been the subject of multiple non-trivial, reliable published works. However, the abundance of "non-trivial and reliable published works" in the world of wine presents a challenge for determining whether a particular wine business warrants an article in Wikipedia, because this requirement could be "technically" met by many non-notable wineries. Therefore, Wikipedia should include articles on only those wine businesses with some substantial degree of notability and contribution to the wine world.

Valid criteria[edit]

  • Making a significant contribution to the world of wine, even if it is within just a single wine region or industry (such as the Texas wine industry or the Barolo DOCG), is a strong claim to notability. Contributions can include pioneering a new grape variety in a region, bringing international acclaim or attention to a region, developing or advancing new winemaking or viticultural techniques, etc. These claims should always be cited to reliable sources that can be verified. This can include being cited in a wine book (Such as Oz Clarke's Encyclopedia of Grape) for some significant achievement or uniqueness of a particular wine.
  • Participation in a significant wine event like Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 confers notability, provided the significant wine event is notable enough to merit its own article. If the notability of a wine or winery relies solely on participation in a wine event, then the event should already have its own article on Wikipedia.
  • Regardless of the quality of wine produced, a wine business is notable if it is a significant producer, distributor, or exporter of wine, such as those wineries appearing on widely-read business listings. Example listings include the Fortune 500 or the Top 30 Wine Businesses published by Wine Business Monthly.[1] These large business are more likely to have an international presence that makes them of encyclopedic relevance to an international encyclopedia.
  • Being the subject of multiple articles or profiles in reliable independent secondary sources such as Wine Spectator indicates notability. In keeping with Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies), sources should be national or international, not local. For a global topic such as wine for a worldwide audience, sources should similarly be accessible to a worldwide audience; therefore, coverage in regional sources does not necessarily mean a winery is notable, although non-trivial coverage in multiple sources representing different and distinct regions strengthens a claim of notability.

Invalid criteria[edit]

  • Being an award winner in regional competitions (such as a county or state fair) is a weak claim of notability. Wine fairs and wine competitions give away thousands of medals each year to many distinctly local and non-notable wineries. The probability of winning one of these awards is proportional to the limited scope and participation of these events. Many times these competitions lack an international focus or have more notable wineries in the area decline to participate. Therefore, assigning significance or notability to winning awards and medals from these low level competitions would violate Wikipedia's undue weight guideline.
  • Appearing on a local "top ten" or "top 100" listing does not confer notability. Wikipedia has a worldwide audience, so articles about wineries should be relevant to that audience.
  • Being mentioned in a wine review or wine region overview does not make a wine business notable, regardless of whether the source meets verifiability and reliability requirements.
  • Being mentioned in a back page list of "Ten New World lookalikes" or "Ten good-value wines", or similar listing does not indicate notability. As a general rule of thumb, a non-trivial reference includes more than just a name in a listing.
  • Being the subject of one article or profile by itself in an otherwise verifiable and reliable source like Wine Spectator is a weak claim of notability. Such publications are known to publish profiles on obscure, unknown, or new wineries with no established history; therefore, a single profile in such a publication does not by itself mean the profiled winery is notable.
  • Similarly, being profiled in a local or regional publication also fails to convey notability. Because these publications strive to provide complete and exhaustive coverage of the area they serve, their reviews will cover the notable and non-notable alike.
  • Press releases do not constitute valid claims of notability regardless of where they are published, because press releases originate from primary sources (wineries) rather than from independent secondary sources.

The restaurant test[edit]

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To objectively evaluate the notability of wineries, one must step away from the romanticism attached to wine and winemaking. At its most basic level a winery is simply a business, providing a product. As Wikipedians, we should try to keep that in context no matter how much we sincerely love that product.

An effective approach is to apply the "restaurant test" and think of the winery in the context of a local restaurant. Restaurants are good comparison points because they receive similar reliable source press coverage as small local wineries. These restaurants receive numerous reviews and write ups in local papers, dining guides, travel guides, and some even get Zagat ratings. But these "reliable sources" are relatively trivial mentions that are to be expected within any service industry. Local restaurants are naturally going to be reviewed and written about in local papers. There is a distinct difference between these trivial write ups and more substantial mentions by reliable sources apart from just being a review of the food and service.

Wikipedia has historically exercised discernment with articles about restaurants because of the decidedly limited scope of notability and familiarity that they have. While "everyone" in one particular city or metropolitan area may know of a restaurant, the vast majority of Wikipedia's readership will never see or hear of it. The restaurants that do warrant articles typically have something about them that distinguishes them beyond just being a restaurant.

Examples:
  • Legal Sea Foods - which has made advances in Food Safety and worked with the US government in developing Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points inspection systems.
  • Geno's Steaks - notable for its place in the development and notoriety of Philly cheesesteaks and controversy over some of the restaurant's activities.
  • Le Dome Cafe - Paris cafe which has been the subject of numerous paintings and literary mentiones. Birthplace of the term "Dômiers".
  • The Fat Duck - One of the few restaurants to be named Restaurant magazine's "Best Restaurant in the World" and also one of the leading advocates of Molecular gastronomy.

This same level of discernment must be applied to articles about wineries. If an article merely states "Chateau Foo is a winery..." with a listing of what wine they make and how long they have been making it, then we have an indication that maybe Chateau Foo is not notable. Remember, the mere act of being a winery and making wine is not intrinsically notable. Tens of thousands of wineries exist throughout the world and in history books. Wikipedia caters to a worldwide audience, yet many of our local favorite wineries will never have their wines extend beyond their region or state. As an encyclopedia, we strive to catalog the world of wine and the people, places, and events that have made a significant contribution to that world. Stepping beyond the scope of our own personal familiarity and biases is difficult but necessary to evaluate the notability of wineries and related businesses objectively.

List articles[edit]

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Articles consisting of lists are generally unnecessary when a category listing will suffice. For example, we do not have articles on List of Bordeaux wineries or List of Chateaus in Bordeaux. Instead we have Category:Bordeaux wine producers for displaying a list. The wineries in this category have met the WP:CORP criteria for notability, for reasons such as involvement in the history of a particular wine region or some development and accomplishment with a particular varietal or wine style. Those articles also have links in relevant articles through the noting of those accomplishments such as the chateaus linked in the Bordeaux wine, Bordeaux wine regions, History of Bordeaux wine, and Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 articles.

List articles do have encyclopedic value when the list performs a function that a category cannot. For example, it can be useful to list notable wineries sorted by wine region or size of production; or list grape varieties by color or origin. The policy Wikipedia is not a directory as well as the guideline for categories and lists should be considered together when writing a list article. The list can include red-link entries, but such red links should be listed as placeholders for entries meet the criteria for inclusion described in this document.

Wine grapes[edit]

While nothing is inherently notable merely by virtue of its existence, editors have never yet discovered a lack of reliable sources covering any cultivar of grape used in the commercial production of wine. Consequently, cultivars can be safely assumed to be notable for a stand-alone article on Wikipedia.

Wine events[edit]

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The majority of wine competitions are of regional or local interest, and are not notable. Articles on these events would not survive a deletion proposal.

Significant wine events are those of interest to a worldwide audience, with international competition — especially when the outcomes are newsworthy or controversial. Such events include the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.

An entity associated with a notable wine event also has a claim to notability by virtue of having associated with that event. Conversely, if an article on a competition would not survive an Articles for Deletion discussion then winning such a competition would not imply any notability for the wine or producer.

When other articles reference a wine event or competition, the reference should be via a wikilink to the article describing the event.

Specific wines[edit]

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In rare cases, an individual wine or wine brand may merit having its own article separate from the winery. This would occur in situations where the wine has established notability for itself apart from the winery. Examples of these rare cases include Dom Perignon (wine) and Cristal (Champagne).

Otherwise, preference should always be given to incorporating content relating to individual wines and brands into a more fully developed main winery article. Redirects can be established so that readers searching for information on the wine can be directed to the appropriate article; for example, Antinori and E & J Gallo Winery. This not only provides better context for the reader but avoids repeating the same information in the winery article.

Valid criteria[edit]

  • Participation in a significant and notable international wine event or competition, where such an event merits its own article on Wikipedia.
  • Being described in detail by an internationally-influential wine critic such as Robert Parker or wine magazine such as Decanter.

Invalid criteria[edit]

  • Generally, the appearance of a wine on a list or scorecard in a publication like Wine Spectator or just a tasting note from Robert Parker does not confer notability, because such publications evaluate thousands of wines.
  • Winning awards in regional competitions (such as a county or state fair) is not a claim of notability.

The above criteria are not exhaustive. In general, the notability of a wine has the same criteria as described above in the context of wineries.

A notable wine also implies notability of the entities involved in producing that wine (the winemaker, winery, and possibly the region). This notability by association does not work in reverse, however: Notability of a winemaker does not confer notability on the wines.

Winemakers[edit]

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Articles about winemakers should meet the criteria set forth in Wikipedia:Notability (people) and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. In addition, winemakers (as well as wines and wineries) should have greater coverage than the regional competition wins, reviews, or profiles that are typically expected for any wine business.

As an outside example, college football players are not automatically notable although they get immense amount of press coverage, sometimes even national. However, that is to be expected when playing college football. To achieve notability for inclusion in Wikipedia, a player has to step beyond just being a college football player, either by achieving a special distinction that recognizes exceptional playing skill (for example, setting a game record, winning the Heisman Trophy, or playing professionally) or by involvement in some other newsworthy event.

We strive to adhere to similar standards of notability for winemakers, their wines, and their wineries. A winemaker whose wines have received national acclaim, or who presides over a notable winery (see below), or who has made a significant contribution to the world of wine, has achieved notability. Mike Grgich, for example, meets multiple criteria: Not only did he create the top-ranked white wine in the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, but he was also inducted into the Vintner Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contributions to the wine industry, which included his sponsorship of genetic research into the origin of Zinfandel.

Regions[edit]

All wine regions that are officially recognized by a national certification program or organization are inherently notable. Recognized designations include (but are not limited to) the French Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), United States American Viticultural Area (AVA), or the Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) designation.

Wine regions that do not have official recognition, such as proposed American AVAs, should be evaluated based on Wikipedia's standard notability criteria with an emphasis on the presence of non-trivial coverage in reliable sources.

Tourism[edit]

Any recognized viticultural region may include tourist attractions, such as a route for tourists to follow ("wine trail"), or attractions that have won tourism awards. While the Wikipedia:Notability guideline does not address tourist attractions specifically, the general guidance is still valid. For a wine-related tourist attraction to be notable, it must have significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, beyond trivial mentions in local-interest publications. Wine is a topic of worldwide scope; therefore, we want to have articles of interest to a worldwide audience.

See also[edit]

Related policies
Related guidelines
Project pages

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Top 30 Wine Business Companies". Wine Business Monthly (Wine Communications Group). 15 February 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.