Archive by Author

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 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

Interactive Wine Sites

Over the next few days, thanks to their well established brand and their PR muscle, you’ll probably see several headlines like this one:

Roederer champagne launches new interactive website

I don’t know about you, but the interaction I want with my wine involves drinking it!

I don’t understand these Flash-based websites (you might want to go off and start the page loading, then return to read the article while you wait – but remember to turn the sound off).

The vast majority of people browsing the internet for wine are looking for:

  1. background details
  2. stockist information
  3. a ‘deal’
  4. fun

(check out Able Grape’s take on this too)

Using Flash to promote your wine brand is like hiring a stand-up comedian with ADHD to be your spokesperson – however amusing he may be, he is getting in the way of the message.

Sure, with Flash you get bells and whistles. In fact, the Louis Roederer site is like a unicycling bear that is playing La Marseillaise on his bells and whistles, but what are they doing to address the needs of the customers? What is the goal of the ‘interactivity’ on this site?

(oh, and by the way, that unicycling bear keeps falling off and his bells are out of tune – the sound on the site is awful and I keep getting stuck, unable to go back)

Joel Vincent made an interesting observation on a recent post on his blog Wine Life Today:

My bottom line points are simple. I’ve written about and preached on the “Wine Life Value Chain” where I talk about how the strength of a relationship basically has direct correlation to influencing a wine buyer. The closer you are, sociallogically, to the source of a wine recommendation the faster and more likely you are to buy it. So with that theorum guiding my thoughts we look at social media.

Flash CAN be a great tool to aid this relationship, but all too often it seems to be used to create a barrier between the people behind a wine and its consumers – something akin to a prestidigitator’s distraction technique.

One might argue that this is exactly how Champagne has managed to create a strong stylish brand, separating itself from its plain and homely still wine cousins – we’re missing that ‘magic’ ingredient. Maybe that is why it was used and I’m the one who is missing the point.

In any case, my preference is for sites that engage me in a meaningful relationship, that have answers to my questions and encourage me to commit myself in some way to the brand in the way they are doing with me.

The interactivity I seek is knowing that the winery, or winemaker, cares what I think, and helps me to both taste and understand their wines. Here are a couple I have come across recently that make me feel this way.

Neither of these sites has spent anything like the amount of money Louis Roederer must have done, but I get so much more out of them because I feel I know the wine, the people and the reasons for their existence so much better and on a more personal level.

And talking of interactivity, I’d love to hear your comments on these sites as well. Have I missed the point on the Champagne site, or am I too committed to blogs? Let me know.

(Photo Let it Float, courtesy of hashmil)

Who can? The Wine Can can!

Who can make drinking wine from a can actually look cool and an attractive proposition?

Until today, I thought nobody could. But now, thanks to I believe I may have found the answer:

The Wine Can

(photo borrowed from – please visit their site for more photos and other cool designs)

Not ANY old can, but a gloriously modern looking package with matt colours, nice graphics, and it is easily recyclable (I believe).

Of course, this is only at the prototype stage, but apparently the designers are looking for investors (and presumably wineries) to get involved and get this to market.

Of course, the issue will be cost. As with all innovations, this will probably be expensive, at least at first, on a per unit basis. The effect will be either to make the wine in this can appear more expensive than it is (limiting sales), or will require the marketing/distribution company to fill it with cheaper wine to offset this.

That would be a shame. What would be interesting would be to see an innovative, premium priced brand take the plunge and provide good quality wine in this package to attract early adopters to buy it AND enjoy the wine inside.

I’m always on the look out for packaging that is interesting, so if you know of any other such developments, please do let me know.

Page 5 of 33« First...«34567»102030...Last »