Archive - August, 2009

Talking Wine Lists

Not literally. I mean talking about wine lists with someone who knows a lot about them, Willie Lebus from Bibendum Wine Ltd.

One of the things that got me most excited about the tasting and event at L’Anima was the fact that it would give people on twitter who are not in the wine or restaurant business a chance to see some of what goes on behind the scenes. Wines for a list are carefully selected, potential places on the wine list are considered (in terms of style, price, choice) and then samples are tasted. There is a lot of complex planning and selection that goes on behind the scenes to create even a simple 12 wine list, never mind a 200 bin monster.

While I was attending the tasting, I asked Willie for his views on wine lists, and here are the, very animated, results. Thank you Willie!


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Social media challenges

Despite the lack of updates on this blog, I have actually been working feverishly on interesting wine-blog-related projects over the last few weeks, so much so that I have rather neglected this place. Here are just a few of those projects – they are a lot of fun, but I also think that the participants, including myself, and the wine business, are learning a lot from them too.

L’Anima wine challenge

I’ve been working with this amazing Italian restaurant to help shed a little light on Italian wines, grape varieties and also into the process of adding wines to a wine list. For more details, check out the wine social media site I put together for the #lanima project with Gal Zohar, sommelier at L’Anima and Dan Coward from Bibendum.

Tesco Wine Fair

Working with video is fun and useful, but this is a very different medium and experience makes a big difference – both in front of and behind the camera. I am working with a friend of mine at double-barrelled.tv to learn more about this. This week we made our first attempt on behalf of Castillo San Lorenzo for a Tesco Wine Fair promotion.

European Wine Bloggers Conference & #ddmsummit (Drinks and Digital Marketing Summit)

Lots of developments in the planning of the EWBC, a project I am VERY excited about this year, but in part because of this, I have now also been invited to share my thoughts on the influence and potential of social media (or Digital Marketing) for the WHOLE drinks industry, not just wine, at the #ddmsummit being put together by Cube and The Drinks Business. More on this soon.

Young, foodish and coffee loving

Coffee at Monmouth

Coffee at Monmouth

Just back from a great chat with Dan Young (aka @youngandfoodish), author of several books including Coffee Love: 50 ways to drink your java, and blogger at YoungandFoodish.

I really wanted to meet him and pick his brains about where to start my exploration of Coffee Culture as it relates to Wine Culture, but as with all these meetings, nothing stays on topic for long and we discussed wine, retail, weddings, photography, The Wire, video, culture and more. I love the fact that twitter, and social media in general, allows me to meet such diverse people and start a conversation so readily. I love the fact that we all have experts at hand who are prepared to listen to our questions.

I have lots of new ideas “brewing” and I need to “filter” them into something meaningful, but here are some general thoughts that emerged:

  • blending vs. varietals – in both wine and coffee blending is important, but does that art risk diluting the importance of the constituent varietals (grapes & beans) that can be unique, indigenous and differentiating, … or does talking about each part of that blend simply risk confusing and alienating consumers?
  • does coffee culture, particularly Down Under, owe much to the style and attitude (friendly, encouraging, fun) of the baristas more than the coffee itself? If so, is there something that sommeliers can learn from?
  • coffee and wine have both been successful at getting people to consume them – now how do we get those “consumers” to become “appreciators” and therefore take more time to taste, evaluate and enjoy?
  • does the success of a brand (in both coffee and wine) necessarily result in a decline in quality? If so, what is an optimal size to reach a wide audience without losing one’s roots? If not, how is this achieved and what can be learned?
  • coffee and wine are both, ultimately, agricultural products intricately linked with the land they come from, to the lives of those who grow the raw materials, and the struggle to make a modern, consistent and mass “product” from a less than reliable Mother Nature

Lots to ponder, and I need to learn more about where coffee comes from and the many ways it can be enjoyed. I do feel that there is a combined “Wine and Coffee” experience event in my near future. Fancy it? How do you see it working?

BTW, we had some excellent coffee at Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market. Above is a picture of two particularly nice “Flat White” coffees.

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Live wine tasting – postponed [updated]

De Long's Wine Tasting Notebook
Image by RobWinton via Flickr

If you were trying to find out what happened to today’s planned fun “blind tasting” that I had promised, I’m afraid it has had to be postponed.

Twitter is currently down, apparently knocked to the canvas by a denial of service attack, but I’m confident normal service will be resumed later.

Unfortunately I have to leave the office soon, so maybe we can reschedule for another day soon – I had a cracking wine to taste too!

[UPDATE 07 August 2009: It happened! If you missed it, check out the archived video of the second live wine tasting]

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Coffee & Wine

Expect to see a fair bit about coffee and wine over the next few weeks as I’ve “discovered” that there are a lot of similarities between the two and maybe learning about coffee will give me a different perspective on wine.

Rather than a post this time, here is an AudioBoo I posted earlier.

Listen!

If you are interested in some of the things I’m planning (even if I have not told you what these might be), leave me a comment here.

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