Archive - January, 2008

More European Wine Bloggers

As Ryan, Gabriella (from Catavino) and I are working on the European Wine Bloggers Conference concept (get in touch if you want to know more, participate or sponsor it), I thought I’d go on a search of more UK & European bloggers.

I must say I did this exercise a few months ago and was very surprised how few UK wine bloggers there were, and I was not very successful finding bloggers from other European countries either (although that is harder if the text is not in English).

However, I have come across a few more, some of whom are now “friends” on facebook, and all of which now are listed in my RSS feed (I now have over 80 feeds – not all wine however – TOO MANY!).

Here is a list of a few, in no particular order, of the new ones you too might like to explore. I think I’ll need to reorganise the blogroll to separate out the European blogs for future reference so you will not find these on there yet.

Tales of a Sommelier (UK)
InterWined (UK)
La Gramiere (France, in English)
Bubble Brothers (Ireland)
Castro Martin (Spain, in English)
Vino al Vino (Italy)
Vino da Burde (Italy)
Gare aug Gouts (UK, in French)

[UPDATES: There are a few more that are linked from these which I will add here for the next few days before reorganising the links section. If I've missed something, drop me a line]

The Winepost (UK)
Wine for Spice (UK)
The Pinotage Club (UK) – actually I am not sure why this is not already on my blogroll, but I’ve linked to Peter before

[ANOTHER UPDATE: 29.1.08]

Free Running (Ireland) – thanks to Bubbles Brothers for pointing me there
Barrels & Bottles (UK)

Enjoy!

ABCs never knew what hit them

Some time ago there was a lot of excitement over the fact that there are two competing films being made in Hollywood about the same event, The Judgement of Paris.

I’m sure that if you are reading this site you are already acquainted with this story. “Shock! Horror! Respected wine judges select Californian wines above French in blind tasting!”

It probably seems strange to people starting out on their wine discovery journey today that there was a time when ‘New World’ wines were struggling for recognition (although the term “Fine Wine” is still very much dominated by French wines). However, 1976 saw a sea-change. I won’t bother commenting further on this here as it has been done to death before and will be again once these films come out.

I thought I’d comment on the films themselves. Much will be said in the official wine journals and blogs about how closely or not these reflect the actual event. I think this article covers most of the common points.

What I think is interesting will be the fact that 98% of those who watch the films will not care. However, as the Sideways effect has shown, some of the results of a film involving wine can be long-lasting even if unintended.

What I think might emerge from this, and I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who hope it will, is a rejuvenated interest in the Chardonnay grape.

The first, and probably more light-hearted of the two, is Bottle Shock (“The French Never Knew What Hit Them” – including a tasteful image of wine bombs being dropped on the Eiffel Tower). It will focus on the winning white wine, a Californian Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena. If it gets people thinking positively about Chardonnay again, then this can only be a bonus, but lets hope the film has a little more integrity than the strapline suggests (I’d rather not see another “A Good Year” – it did very little for wine, romance, comedy or even film for that matter).

Let’s hope that less detailed historical accuracy is made up for in a plot that engages its audience in a love of wine, wherever it may be from.

The second film is still in the works, but will focus on the winning red wine, the Cabernet from Stag’s Leap, and I guess we will have to wait to see more about this, if and when this finally makes it out.

Who knows, but in 18 months time we may be talking about a new ABC movement in consumer drinking patterns. Maybe, instead of Anything But Chardonnay, we might have “Another Bottle shock Convert”

Stormhoek News & Speculation

Well, it looks like things are on-track for keeping the Stormhoek brand alive, if not the whole of Orbital as a company.

I’m sure we’ll know more early next week once due-diligence is complete, but it is fun to imagine where they will end up.

Just imagine: Wouldn’t it be fun to see it taken over by someone outside the wine business, probably by a tech company trying to reach the young, blogging, tech-savvy audience that already knows & loves the brand?

Why should they?

Well, a wine business will need to make a reasonable profit from it to justify the take-over, and we know how hard that is. For a well-funded tech business, this sort of investment would be peanuts, and so even if it made no profit at all, it would save them $/£ millions from their advertising budgets, money that they would otherwise spend anyway.

Just a bit of fun. I don’t expect anything like this, but it would be a great Wine2.0 story, wouldn’t it?

“Major Tech Company buys Social Object in a Bottle”

The "its really about drinking wine" conference

OK, the cat is now out of the proverbial bag.

Ryan and Gabriella over at Catavino have just posted news of some discussions that have been going on for a few months about a Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Europe.

A few months ago a group for wine bloggers on facebook suddenly exploded with creative energy and all sorts of stuff was discussed. Conferences, dinners, tastings, “pimp my blog”, “am I sexy or not?” (OK maybe not the last one). But, just like most facebook groups, very little came of it, but at least the doors were opened.

One of the most interesting ideas was that Wine Bloggers should get together to share ideas, drink some wine, meet their peers and generally have a good time. Unfortunately we are not a rich bunch, and on top of that, there is a great difference between the state of blogging in the US and the rest of the world.

While our American cousins imagined exhibition stands, multi-track conferences, discussions on alternative platforms, revenue-generation, wine2.0, etc. those of us in Europe preferred to start with a dinner with lots of wine and friendly conversation, and maybe go from there (which I think is what is also now happening in the US).

Ryan, Gabriella and I took it upon ourselves to see that something would happen, however small, in Europe in 2008.

So, here we are. Do you blog? What are you doing the weekend of August 29-31, 2008?

Our plan is to gather in Rioja for that dinner, wine and conversation and maybe take the opportunity to visit this famous area and some of its wineries (in the interests of transparency and disclosure I would point out that I work for Dinastia Vivanco in the UK). Lots more details can be found here.

If you fancy joining us, or getting involved in any way, get in touch with me here or on Catavino.net. Although we will probably focus on European issues, this event is open to anyone who blogs about wine, however peripherally, and in whatever language.

Come and join us, it’ll be fun!

French Letters – ANPAA

However hard we try to talk up the future for French wines, and France’s chances of developing a reasonable attitude to wines in the modern world, some organisation manages to come along and shatter our illusions.

Hot on the heels of the ruling about health warnings on Champagne articles, here is the latest news, courtesy of Decanter (assuming you can get their site working as it keeps crashing on me):

Web cannot advertise alcohol

Of course this current ruling is aimed at Heineken, but I wouldn’t rate the chances of a Vin2.0 culture developing in the land of Liberty, Equality & Fraternity any time soon.

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