Not only is Michael Olivier unethical, but he is a MasterCrib too!


Not only does Michael Olivier not declare on his blog that he is paid to write ‘reviews’ about the wines of his ‘Winery Partners’, but he also ‘writes’ blogposts about winery news that are copy-and-pasted word for word, including the headline, from media releases sent to him by the winery PR companies!

On Monday we received the following media release from De Kock Communications on behalf of their Nederburg client, announcing the wine company’s new Winemaster’s Classes, which have been designed to tie in with the start of Season Two of MasterChef SA next Tuesday:


Nederburg, official wine sponsor of MasterChef South Africa season two, and also the venue where most of the action takes place, has a new series of entertaining online master classes in food and wine pairing.  Participants stand in line to win gourmet cookware prizes.

Featuring cellar master Razvan Macici talking about some of his favourite taste pairings in wine and food, the eight Winemaster’s Class clips will be posted bi-weekly on the brand website,, starting on Tuesday, June 11. They have been created to coincide with the new season of the cookery challenge series that runs for 14 weeks from June 11 on M-Net, every Tuesday and Wednesday at 19:30.

Mostly less than two minutes long, the Winemaster’s Classes cover a range of foods to go with wines, from tapas and pasta to barbeques, desserts and even a gourmet sandwich that Razvan makes for himself as a midnight snack during the height of the harvest.

Online participants will be asked a question based on the content of each clip. Correct answers will see participants entered into a bi-weekly draw for a stunning Le Creuset cookery set.

Even if participants have missed a class or two, they can join in at any point during the series and catch up with their fellow classmates.

The clips focus mainly on Nederburg’s Winemaster’s Reserve range that will also be made available to MasterChef South Africa contestants. These wines are stocked by the major retailers nationally.

“It’s a tasty, relaxed way of thinking about combining wine and food to bring out the deliciousness of both,” says Macici, who was judged the 2012 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. “

To watch the introductory video, please go to

Nederburg was also the wine sponsor and host venue for the first season of MasterChef South Africa last year.

DATE                                       JUNE 3, 2013

ISSUED BY                               DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS)

FOR                                         NEDERBURG WINES

QUERIES                                  LYNETTE HARRIS, NEDERBURG GLOBAL MARKETING MANAGER, (021) 809 7000

or 082 417 0584

MELISSA DIEDERICKS, NEDERBURG SA BRAND MANAGER, (021) 809 7000 or                                              078 290 6107


The release has been copied word for word on Oliver’s blog, with the same headline, and there is no acknowledgement by Olivier that it has been written by De Kock Communications.   No journalist worth his or her salt would be so unethical as to copy someone else’s information without acknowledging the source, and would be so lazy to not transcribe the content into his/her own words.  One wonders if Olivier also demands payment for featuring information from PR companies on his blog!

Olivier has lost all credibility, in not declaring receiving payment for his reviews, and now also is guilty of copy-and-paste plagiarism, which is defined by Wikipedia as follows: Plagiarismis the “wrongful appropriation” and “purloining and publication” of anotherauthor‘s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s ownoriginal work (our underlining)….Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like expulsion‘!

POSTSCRIPT 27/7: It is astounding to see that Michael Copy-and-Paste Olivier is still cribbing media releases word for word on his blog, without acknowledgement to the PR companies that wrote them!  We receive the same releases that he does, so it is clear to see.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 27k

WhaleTales Blog


We don’t spam!

Read our privacy policy for more info.

16 replies on “Not only is Michael Olivier unethical, but he is a MasterCrib too!”

  1. Having worked at a wine estate for 4 years,all of our press releases were copied and pasted.
    So this is nothing new or unusual.

  2. Thanks for your feedback Kerry.

    It is shocking to read this – that means
    that the consumer reading a blog like Michael’s is unsure whether to trust the information which is posted because of the endorsement of the writer, reflecting his standards, or because he was paid to write the blogpost and/or copy-and-pasted it.

    This gives all of us bloggers a terrible reputation, seen to be lazy and deceiving! No traditional media journalist would dare plagiarise, so why do bloggers like Michael do it?


  3. Hello Chris.
    Copying from one person is plagiarism. Copying from many people is called research. 🙂
    I know of numerous Post Graduates who plagiarise and some of them are Masters Graduates. Is this fair and right? NO and never will be.
    Thanks for showing Michael up for the phony he is!

  4. Even when one does research, as you define it Dave, one has to meticulously list one’s sources, which Olivier is not doing at all.

    The readers to his blog are blind to the commercial nature of his information, and therefore it is no longer trustworthy!


  5. Seriously?

    Bloggers are now journalists?
    Do You-Chris….have a degree in journalism?

    Or hospitality or food for that matter?
    My understanding is that the original nature of a blog is that it is a documentation of info from various sources. There is no need to credt sources as it is already assumed that the info is not original. The only time that anything actually is credited is when it is original thoughts of the blogger.

  6. Wow Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen, what are you smoking? You cannot be serious to have written this comment. Lol!

    So you reckon that all bloggers copy and paste everything they receive from PR companies or that they receive payment for, and when we write something original, a light goes on and flashes to say that it is our original work!

    I have not ever called myself a ‘journalist’, but I am a writer, with 23 years’ experience, which you can read about in the link in the top right hand corner of this blogpost.

    You have employed Linda Harding as a Social Media Manager for your Franschhoek restaurant, and have invited bloggers to try out your restaurant. So you reckon that every blogpost written about your restaurant was copy and pasted from a media release written by Linda, or cribbed from other bloggers!

    If all my content on this blog, with the exception of the rare moments of original writing by myself, has been copy and pasted from all sorts of other sources, as you allege, why on earth do you read it or any other blog?!!

    Strange that you haven’t asked Sam Linsell, Hennie Coetzee , and ourselves, three bloggers whose reviews of your restaurant are on the first three pages of Google, to remove our reviews of your restaurant, to prevent readers from being confused about the authenticity (or lack of) of our ‘copy and pasted’ content, as you allege!


  7. Oh come now Chris.
    don’t throw names out there that have nothing to do with you.

    I have been commenting on for nearly a decade now. Initially a conduit for info with the odd opinion piece, it has grown to something entirely different. But at no time did I really assume that Keo was at a press conference in Aukland and Cape Town on the same day.And that is my point as Kerry has said.

    Admittedly, food and wine blogs are of a more personal nature with more personal information from 1 person…reviews,recipes,etc…

    But let’s face it, I certainly do not read anything you have to say with the same seriousness as I would the Buisness Day or Sunday Times editorial. And all the bloggers I know, food-wine-blogging are their passion but they do have a “day-job”. Like you do.To lump yourself in with the real -money-earning-journo’s who do it as their living and using words like “‘Plagiarism”, is a little presumptious, in my opinion. It’s not exactly as if you are undercover in Iraq getting to the bottom of the “big story”, is it?

    Also, you do not allow all comments to appear on this blog and that in my opinion is also, how did you put it… “unethical and Mastercrib”. Basically, you like taking shots but you don’t take hits.
    Anyway, that is my opinion on the matter. Very sorry that I have not been able to invite you to any of the social media gigs but if I did no one else would come.
    Strictly business, I am sure you understand.

  8. Thank you for clarifying our relationship Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen. You do understand why we do not support your restaurant in Franschhoek. ‘Strictly business, I am sure you understand’!

    There is nothing unethical at all about deleting comments that are abusive and defamatory. Every blogger does that, and has the right to do it.

    I will reiterate that I have never called myself a ‘journalist’ – if anything, a ‘writer’.

    Why are you prescriptive about who I may/may not mention, yet you give yourself the right to criticise what I may or may not write about?

    Plagiarism is plagiarism, where it is a small or a ‘big story’ – it is deceit and therefore unethical.

    Why do you read my blog if you place such little value on it, and others can see that you are reading and commenting on it? Isn’t it a matter of you being too weak to address the blogger politics when you are dictated to by a Michael Olivier or Clare (Mack) McKeon McLoughlin as to who should/should not attend? Few restaurants play their game, as you may have read about in the blogposts about Michael Olivier.

    He must be thrilled to have a supporter club of one in you! Yet I cannot see a ‘review’ he has ever written about your restaurant!


  9. How have I clarified our relationship?
    You are not banned….like you are from many of my contemporaries in the village. I just am not able to invite you to gigs where they might be. Or would you prefer I have a one man gig with you alone? how would you play this one out?
    Also, do not grandstand to the general reader, you do not send me guests because you do not have any in Franschhoek. Your cottage is on the market and has been for a while and I see you are even open to renting it out now.
    lol, when the rent dips to 15k I might give you a call.

    I read your blog because I can, because on the odd occassion you get it right, even if only by accident. I hadn’t been on for a couple of weeks and arrived back on one of your witch hunting days. I could as easily enquire as to why you continue to visit the literary festival, eat out,etc….when you have nothing nice to say of them?

    On Plagiarism….I have an opinion, so do you. I choose to not take it all to seriously but then, it is not my “original” work so possibly I would concede this one to you. However, in my proffession, unless your name is ElBulli, nothing is all that original.

    I have never met this Michael oke and know nothing about him. The Claire lady I met once for about 2 minutes. I am not a visitor to their blogs. They have never dictated to me on anything.

  10. You do like to insult don’t you Ryan!

    We are as quiet or busy as most other guest houses in Franschhoek. You must be pretty quiet yourself, having so much time to read my blog and to comment on it daily! You must be feeling the pinch too, by not using Linda Harding’s services anymore?

    I am not banned from any restaurant in Franschhoek specifically, only from Le Quartier Francais, and I probably am not the only one, from what we hear! Susan Huxter must be the most disliked person in Franschhoek. There are a number of restaurants in Franschhoek I certainly would choose to not go to!

    The danger of only reading this blog occasionally is that you do not get the complete picture. We communicate via Twitter, our Blog, and Facebook, so you are only getting an occasional snippet of information. We praised the Literary Festival for its festiveness, for it filling all restaurants and guest houses, and for its variety of speakers, but many things went wrong this year. Why should I not write about them, especially when I was a festival-goer too?

    Hopefully our badgering of Eat Out in the past two years will have helped restaurateurs, in that a (hopefully) better and fairer judging system will be in place this year. Their management invited me to sit with them to debate how the Eat Out Top 10 can be improved. You must be so disappointed to have never made the Top 20 list!

    Thank you for your compliment of my rare abilities as a blogger!

    Congrats on writing your comment without a single typing error!

    If you want to use my blog to insult me, then this was the last time. This is not what it is for.


  11. PS Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen:

    You must have missed my (free) punt for your gigs at ‘Cook Franschhoek’ this weekend. A ‘Thank you’ from you would be nice too!


  12. non·sen·si·cal (n n-s n s -k l). adj. 1. Lacking intelligible meaning: a nonsensical jumble of words. 2. Foolish; absurd: nonsensical ideas.

    There, I just copy and pasted from an online dictionary. Now I’m a member of the very elite Cape Plagiarist Club…


  13. Chris I already mentioned that pulling other peoples names into our discussion is not cool.Needless to say, the best 2 meals of mine in SA have been at the establishment you cannot visit. You are missing out in my opinion.

    I have had my best May yet and am “using” Linda more than I have in the past. The winter has definately kicked in now albeit weekends are decent and Franschhoek Tourism have something going on almost twice a month.

    I do ironically have limited time to comment and surf and Yours was the first Blog in this categorary that I came across. I am loyal.

    Eat Out have pulled a political masterclass in my opinion. Everyone has to “enter” now. There should be no complaints after the fact as everyone knows what they are in for. If you do not like it do not enter. lol.
    I am not sure if you are being sarcastic withregards the eatout list but even IF I was a genuine contender, I would be slightly embarrased with my small somewhat humble restaurant being lined up with the Lamotte’s,Nellie’s,Green House’s,etc..

    Don’t confuse you being insulted, with my having a difference of opinion. Everyone is entitled to one and yours is not the only and certainly not always “right”. Apologies for my grammer in advance but I only had a Std8 pass. Started my apprenticeship in the kitchens then.My boys will be better…they’re at BridgeHouse. ((

  14. I know the difference between being insulting and expressing a difference of opinion Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen – you are the former! You have lost business as a result, as other readers have spoken to me about your rudeness on this blog. It’s really not necessary.

    I do agree that asking restaurants to apply to be in the Eat Out Top 500 list is odd, and it is no guarantee that any of the problems will go away as a result!

    I did not know that you were the censor of my blog – I am entitled to write what I like and what is fair and the truth. You have no right to stop from doing so.


  15. Do not waste your time on Michael Oliver anymore. Your reporting on the matter has been balanced thus far, but if you continue exposing all his indiscretions it is going to start looking like a vendetta, costing you credibility. Judging by what people are saying in wine circles, he is not relevant it does not sound like his blog is widely read and his social media presence is poor, let the facts speak for themselves. Let it go.

  16. Thank you for your input John.

    The three Michael Olivier blogposts have been read by more than 1000 readers, still top of the pops after the Restaurant Specials in unique readership.

    I have said what there was to say!


Comments are closed.