Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sign Us Up For This Trip!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

McClatchy Newspapers reports that U.S. taxpayers are picking up the tab for foreign journalists to visit the country on wine junkets.

These wine-writer tours, part of the Ag-Department's Market Access Program, are said to boost foreign sales of U.S.-produced wine, according to the article (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/staff/michael_doyle/story/20694.html). The selected writers, who tour various wineries and taste hundreds of samples, are expected to produce feature articles in return for their travel costs.

Foreign consumption of U.S.-produced wine is booming and now accounts for more than $1.2 billion in exports, and many wine experts consider the marketing program a success.

On the other hand, U.S. journalists aren't as pleased, as the program raises a host of ethical questions. Any thoughts? The House of Representatives is considering boosting the Market Acccess Program from $200 million to $225 million annually, according to McClatchy.

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