In the latter part of March, I will be traveling to Paso Robles, California. I have never been there before so I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about this region, and to experience the variety of food and wines they have to offer.
In the interests of full disclosure, this will be a press trip arranged and paid for by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Approximately six to eight journalists will participate in this four-day, three-night trip. Though we have not yet received the exact itinerary, it will include visits to wineries, farms, restaurants and more.
I made it clear that my acceptance of this opportunity was contingent on my usual policy as per samples and review products. I am under no obligation to write anything about this trip, and if I choose to do so, I have complete discretion as to what to write. My regular readers will know that though I try to stress the positive, I do not refrain from constructive criticism as well. That will remain the case with Paso Robles. If I do write about the trip, you will hear both the positive and negative.
Press trips are not without their controversy, and you may have read previous discussions concerning the ethical issues associated with such. Some feel that you cannot be truly unbiased if you attend such a trip. It is true that one must be very careful when assessing and reviewing such trips, to try your best to limit any potential bias. Yet it is the same basic caveat that occurs when you receive free samples, albeit on a larger basis. I will do my best to limit any potential basis in any future posts about this trip that I write.
Such trips though provide an excellent opportunity to learn and experience a region that you might not otherwise have visited. Bloggers generally do not get paid for their writing, so much of their travel, food and wine, is paid for by themselves. As few, if any of us, are independently wealthy, our income does limit what we can buy. We don't have the expense accounts that may be provided by professional print media. We can't afford to take a dozen trips each year, to visit regions all over the world. So, to learn and experience more, these press trips can be a great benefit.
This Paso Robles trip will be similar to other trips I have taken on my own. The hotel and restaurants I will experience will be on a similar quality level to many others I have visited on my own in prior vacations. Thus, the press trip will not be offering something that is far above what I am used to, which I believe will help limit any potential bias. Plus, I can better compare my prior experiences to what I find in Paso Robles.
In the end, my readers will judge me in this matter, and whether any subsequent posts I write are biased or not. I am sure you will be able to make such a determination, and I vow to you to do my best to eliminate or minimize any potential bias.