Archive - July, 2008

Blogging Matters to Harpers

I had a piece published on the Harpers, or should I say Talking Drinks, web page yesterday.

I had been talking to their web editor for some months as I knew they were looking at this area, and we had similar views. He invited me to write a short piece about the state of blogging and introducing the concept of blogs to their (probably sceptical) readers.

Hopefully I did the latter, but there wasn’t room enough to explore all the sorts of conversations that are going on in the space available. That’s what I do more of here.

If you are interested, please take a read and let me know your thoughts on “Why does wine blogging matter?” and pass on the link to others as well.

The wine business has always sought ways to reach out to consumers and communicate the personality and individuality of their wines, and now blogging – whether it be by the winemaker, the consumer with first-hand experience, or the trade professional offering a trusted review, makes this possible.

Lots of fun stuff to discuss at the upcoming European Wine Bloggers Conference

See you there?

A very social media

It seems I am spending more of my time socialising than writing about social media at the moment.

Last week I was off to Windsor to meet Joe Roberts and Andrew Barrow, then on Friday I met up with the “Lewisham Bloggers” (a local grouping of bloggers on a whole range of topics, living in this part of London), and last night it was the London Bloggers.

Wow! What a night for someone who spends so much of their day involved in social media sites like me (“My name is Robert, and I’m a SocialMediaChat-a-Holic“)

One of the great things about blogging, as I have mentioned before, is that you meet all sorts of different people around the world who share your interests and passions. But one of the other aspects is that, as bloggers, we are in the business of building communities, and we are therefore, it seems to me, interested in all sorts of other communities as well.

Last night I had great conversations about wine (amongst other things), but none of them with other wine bloggers. There was the digital marketing consultant, the Food & Drink Editor, the Digital PR strategist, the Underground blogger (I was particularly excited to meet Annie Mole, I must admit), the Digital Brand & Marketing Commentator, and many more.

One of the things I learned is that if you want to be taken seriously in these circles there is one “must-have” item.

Not a 3G iPhone.

It is a Moo Card.

I started picking up a few of these last night, and by the third or fourth, I felt like apologising for only having my “boring, traditional” cards to give in return. So my Moo cards are on order right now!

It was interesting to meet all sorts of people, and all levels of bloggers – from the A-listers to those starting out, and generally just have fun without having to explain (again) why I spend so much time on these sites.

A particularly big thank you to Stella Artois for sponsoring the evening, not only with some drinks for everyone, but also offering a prize in their airship.

Oh, I should mention THAT I WON A TRIP IN THE AIRSHIP!!!!!


I’ll be posting photos here after the trip, currently scheduled for this Friday.

[I wish I had an airship to use for promotions!]

Thanks to everyone for the evening, and I’ll update this post with links to other round-ups as I come across them.

Some other round-ups:
London Underground Blog

Social PRobiotic

Wine Investments

I would NEVER suggest anyone invests in anything, let alone wine, without a THOROUGH knowledge of what they are getting into. Despite my reasonable levels of knowledge about wine in general, one area I really do not feel I know at all well, is Fine Wine. But there are plenty who (think they) do.

It used to be the kinds of wines that most people simply couldn’t afford, and the rich bought, stored in their country houses’ cellars to drink after their retirement. However, Fine Wine, and in particular Bordeaux, has become a ‘market’ – a commodity to be bought and sold purely for investment purposes.

In these difficult financial times, is it a better, or worse time, to get involved in this?

I have no idea.

However, someone thinks they do, and he has a radio programme dedicated to Wine tomorrow, so if you are interested, check out Alvin Hall’s World of Money: Wine tomorrow, 26 July, 2008 at 12:04 on BBC Radio 4 (or Monday, 28th July at 15:02 for a longer version, apparently).

For those not in the UK, this is during a programme called MoneyBox which is available after the fact as a podcast.

[UPDATE: The BBC have added some further interesting content related to the show here. Not an answer to the question, but further background and interesting quotes]

You can’t share a bottle online

I really enjoy building online relationships and keeping in touch with a great range of people through blogs, comments, facebook, twitter, Open Wine Consortium, etc., but the ultimate goal, really, is to make ‘real’ friends.

So when I saw a ‘tweet’ by @1WineDude, otherwise known as Joe Roberts who blogs at 1winedude.blogspot.com out of Philadephia, mentioning that he would be in the UK, I jumped at the chance to meet up with him and share a glass, or two, of wine.

Andrew Barrow from Spittoon joined the party and we met up at The Two Brewers in Windsor.

We talked about wine, blogging, US vs. UK, music, food and all the sorts of stuff people who have known each other for a long time would talk about, yet we’d only met an hour beforehand.

It was fun, and if any other wine blogger out there is planning on passing through London, or its environs, do get in touch so we might arrange a get together of our own.

Two of the topics we discussed which are worth bringing up here, were:

The serving temperature of wine, particularly reds. The Two Brewers is a great place to go for wine as it has a limited, but adventurous wine list. However, the UK is not built to deal with heatwaves, and our bottle of Chateau Musar 2000 arrived too warm (as did the later bottle of Astrolabe Pinot Noir 2006). No problem! Drop them in the icebucket left over from the Rose (from Provence, but label had washed off). We did get a reputation from the staff for “liking chilled red wine”, so I had to point out we were only lowering it to where it ought to be, around 18 degrees. The idea that serving at ‘room temperature’ does not mean “whatever temperature your room happens to be” has yet to filter down properly. This is Confessions of Wino‘s personal crusade, and I’m happy to support it.

Bloggers need to work together more. This one was more controversial, and I must admit it is my own agenda. I do believe that we need to find ways of doing things together that go beyond links and comments if we are to have real impact. This is the subject for what is going to be discussed at the European Wine Bloggers Conference, as well as the North American one, so expect to see more on this.

My thanks Joe and Andrew for a great evening. Let’s do it again soon.

Wine Biz Radio

Oooh! I’m a radio star!

Well, in truth I was allowed to babble on well beyond my due 15 minutes of fame on Wine Biz Radio – a great radio show emanating from California

For anyone involved in the wine blogging community, Wine Biz Radio, and its hosts Randy & Kaz, will already be well known.

This is Randy in the photo – a perfect face for radio, wouldn’t you say? :)

For everyone else, this is a two-guy radio show that airs every week on live radio around California where Kaz (winemaker, sound effects maestro and all-round entertainer) and Randy (resident geek [sorry Randy!], lion tamer [sorry Kaz!] and winemaking student) look at stories of interest to wine folk.

Mostly this is US & California specific, but as Randy in particular is linked in to all the online communities on twitter, Open Wine Consortium, Wine Blogging Wednesday, and more, then it touches on wider issues as well (Kaz gets dragged kicking and screaming into these too from time to time).

This week, in an (unusually) pre-recorded show, I called in and got a chance to share my thoughts on UK wine drinking, Dinastia Vivanco, Garnacha, the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference and even babies and growing up in Italy. Yes, pretty random!

If you get a chance (and have a little time spare – you can always forward to my eventual arrival at around 25 minutes in), check it out!

Wine Biz Radio – A new Paradigm

Thanks Randy & Kaz

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