Archive - April, 2008

Searching for wine on this site

If you are a regular visitor to this site you may have noticed a recent change (other than the update to my list of UK wine blogs). This latest addition can be found at the top right of the page.

I have mentioned AbleGrape.com on this site before a few times, but now I must really thank them for listening to customer feedback and offering an amazing service for wine bloggers. They are now offering a free ‘widget‘ that allows you to search their database of wine related information straight from this, or any other, blog.

I should give the site a proper review, but that will have to wait. However, if you are looking for ANY wine related information, give it a try – whether just to see where your blog or wine appears in the results, or if you are doing research and studying, I really do recommend it.

List of UK Wine Blogs

I have been threatening to do this for some time, and finally I sat down and put into one place all the UK wine blogs and blog-like sites that I have come across, particularly those that are already in my feed reader.

I want to have this list available to distinguish the UK wine blogs from the many other English language blogs around the world, so new readers can find the sites that are most relevant to them , that include the wines they can actually buy, and written by those who understand the UK wine market.

Of course the list could be much more comprehensive, covering a broader range of wine sites. To be honest, that is better left to someone better technically qualified as the list would be long (if you want that, go to AbleGrape.com as I’m sure you’ll find the information you are looking for).

For the purposes of this list, I have chosen to concentrate on those sites that:

  • are written in the UK (whether they are about this market or not, or even written in English!)
  • provide Opinion, Commentary and/or Tasting Notes. I am not including news sites like Harpers.co.uk because of this, but I have included Decanter as they have a separate blog area, even if it only seems to be used for en-primeur reviews these days, and included JancisRobinson.com as it achieves many of the same objectives even if 50% or more is subscriber only

I have also tried a very basic categorisation. These categories are not strict or mutually exclusive, but they do try to separate the blogs by the type of writing you can expect when following them.

The “Lone Voices” are individuals blogging on their own time and are personal impressions. There are individuals who are also in the Press (Pressing Concerns), so their professional expertise in both content and style separates them somewhat from the others. There are also wine merchants who blog, and their commercial background influences their content to a greater or lesser extent, but their access to winemakers and tastings make them useful sites to follow as well. Finally, there are the other sites, directories, aggregators and social networks.

I’m sure to have missed a few (yes, bloggers ought to do a better job of research, but I can update this list with your input, so effectively this IS my market research).

Hopefully this list will be useful to some other than just sp*mmers. Let me know what you think.

Lone Voices in the Wilderness
Clueless About Wine
Confessions of a Wino
Eating Leeds
The Daily Wine
Gare Aux Gouts (don’t be surprised if it is in French, the author is based in London though)
Golly’s Wine Drops
Grapefan’s Wine Adventures
InterWined
Linda’s Wine Blog
The Pinotage Club
Spittoon
Tales of a Sommelier
The Tasting Note
The Wine Conversation (or my original address at wineculture.blogspot.com)
The Wine Doctor
The Wine Post
The Wine Sleuth
Winey Wink

Pressing Concerns
3 Little Words by Natasha Hughes
Andrew Jefford
Decanter
Drinking Outside the Box
JancisRobinson.com
Jim’s Loire
Wine Anorak

Merchants
(I’m sure there could be many more here)
Aldi UK (Buying Director’s Blog)
Barrels and Bottles
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Bibendum
Bordeaux Undiscovered
Majestic
Surf4Wine
Thirst for Rioja (my new blog)
Wine for Spice

Directories, Offers & Aggregators

FeedReel (Directory, including a “latest posts” service)
Love that wine (Social Network)
UKWinesOnline (Offers)

Happy Reading!

List Last Updated: 08/09/2008

Your views on Wine Experts

Andrew Jefford has issued a request for views regarding:

“whether the palates of professional wine buyers, sommeliers and wine critics are ‘too developed’.”

This is for an article in Decanter, so get on down to his site and leave him some thoughts on the world of wine reviews, wine buying and even wine service.

I have left my initial thoughts on his site (still pending comment moderation at this time), and I think readers of this blog, many of you bloggers and trade professionals yourselves, will have your own views. Why not have them published in Decanter?

Wine & Pork

Off to eat Pork and drink wines from Alsace – here’s a taster

[UPDATE: Click here for a picture of the centrepiece of the meal. Warning, not for vegetarians!]

Aperitif

Rolly Gassmann Pinot Auxerrois Moenchreben de Rohrschwihr 1997
+1 of the gewurz

Langoustines

Trimbach Riesling CFE 1995
Leon Beyer Riesling Comtes D’Eguisheim 2000
Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvee Ste Catherine 1997
ZH Riesling Clos Hauserer 1994

Foie Gras

Schlumberger Gewurz Princes Abbes 2000
Zind Humbrecht Gewurz 1998
Hugel Gewurz Tradition 1997
ZH Gewurz Clos Windsbuhl 1989
Trimbach Gewurz SDR 1998

Suckling Pig

Trimbach TPG Reserve Personelle 1998
ZH TPG Clos Jebsal 1997.
ZH TPG, Clos St.Urbain, Rangen, 2002

Hugel Riesling VT 1964
Hugel Riesling VT 1976
Hugel TPG VT 1976

Contemplation of pudding

ZH Clos Windsbuhl TPG VT 1990
ZH Riesling Brand VT 1990

Pudding

Albert Mann Pinot Gris Hengst SGN 1994
Rolly Gassman Gewurtz SGN 1997

An Audience With … Me

I was invited by a friend and ex-colleague to talk to her Wine Business and Wine Production class at Plumpton College yesterday where I met a very interesting and diverse bunch of people. I wish them lots of luck with their future careers in wine.

The subject of the talk was me (jokingly referred to as “An Audience With …“). More specifically, it was about my experience in the wine business, how I got (stumbled) into it, what I have done, and any suggestions I may have for those trying to do the same.

I will skip the vast majority of the content as it is irrelevant (and not all that interesting really), but I thought I would post a couple of the closing thoughts I had for them as they may be relevant to others, whether you are in the trade or looking to get into it.

1. Help solve a problem.

It isn’t good enough to turn up to interviews with a bunch of skills but no idea what is going on in the trade. There are some key issues facing the wine trade today, what do you think they are, and what do you think your prospective employer could do (with you) to address these (profitably)?

My own, very quick, list was:

  • How do we sell better wine? (upselling)
  • How can we reach more (new) consumers?
  • How do we grow our business responsibly?
  • How do we educate consumers?

No-one expects you to answer these questions fully (and if you can, set up your own business!), but if you have thought about them and about how you can help the prospective employer put this into practice, you’ve got a lot more to offer than other candidates.

2. Blog!

The wine trade (in the UK) may not believe it at the moment, but I am convinced that blogging / self-publishing / consumer driven content / whatever you want to call it, will become a major influence in wine purchasing in the very near future. If nothing else, as wine retail develops online and more consumers purchase a greater range of products online, the need for recommendations and suggestions will increase. Blogging, and Wine 2.0 in general, also has the opportunity to change how we source information on wine wherever the consumer decides to buy it.

If you want to be in wine marketing in the next few years you really have to be familiar with this new trend. All it takes is to sign up to a few blogs, read them, contribute comments and share the conversation.

[I am particularly intrigued to know what they make of Wine Library TV (if anyone of you drops by, please leave me a comment) which I pointed them to as only 1 had heard of it before]

Even better, get involved and start your own. Blogging encourages you to put your own thoughts in order and encourages you to do a little more research (well, I did say a little). If you want to communicate about wine in the future day job, why not start now?

Also, the more there are of us providing interesting content, the better the general knowledge archive will be. Blog posts are permanent records, however well or badly they are written, and a well-meaning post, properly researched, might turn out to be invaluable to others

A Final Thought

We need more people to join the wine trade not just because they love wine, but because they have something to offer to improve the business. If you can find a way to tap into consumers needs and ways of thinking, then there will be lots of people willing to give you that dream job you are looking for!

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