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Brain Fail

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I’m sad to report that my Brain 1.0 crashed this morning.

I had crafted a beautiful post about Twitter and the business benefits of participating in it, including witty comparisons, links to all sorts of relevant articles, statistics and images, and even made a few quote-worthy inserts that would allow you to pass on the article to your friends.

Unfortunately, I sat down this morning to paste this article from Brain 1.0 into Worpress and I discovered that this well crafted article had been corrupted (possibly by tiredness or even the half bottle of wine I had last night). I even attempted to reopen the article in my now rather dated Pen-N-Paper interface, and the entire thing seems to have become one wordy, garbled, incoherent and unresearched mess.

Unfortunately it means I’m going to have to start again, and this post is an attempt to re-format those thoughts and find fresh inspiration.

For those of an impatient disposition, the gist of the article was:

Twitter is a worthy additional tool in any business communication plan, but there are several different ways to approach it, and you need to better understand not what twitter IS, but how it is USED before you prepare that plan.

You do not need to participate in it heavily to benefit. You can simply monitor conversations and use it to respond to questions, and most importantly, respond to any issues directly and in a timely way. This is customer service “gold dust” and creates a great opportunity for word of mouth benefits.

However, as with all social media, you can really benefit from the twitter platform by getting involved, interacting with other individuals and communicating your (personal and business) personality. This is something that takes time, honesty, and a degree of openness most businesses find hard at first. However, it could be transforming for the business by creating a truly loyal group of friends, much more than ‘just’ customers.

OK. I’m off to turn that into something a little more useful and rounded, and to see if anyone has yet brought out an upgrade or replacement for my unreliable Brain.

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More BBC Wine Conversations

The programme's set, introduced in May 2006, f...
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Must get this post up quickly because I’ve been asked (this morning) to come along to the BBC Working Lunch studios TOMORROW to discuss Wine, Social Media, and specifically the business benefits of Twitter.

Not only that, but I get to share a stage with Annie Mole who will be focusing on the blogging side of things – wow!

How exciting is that? I’d never intended to BE the wine spokesperson on Social Media, only to get to know it to the benefit of the wonderful wineries I work with, and all my wine friends. However, anything I can do to raise the visibility of wine blogging and wine tweeting, then great! After all, this IS the wine conversation.

Of course, one of the main points and examples will be the ongoing developments at Twitter Taste Live

If you are in the UK (or can access the BBC Two), check out the programme that starts at 12:30 tomorrow (6 January, 2009) or watch the iPlayer catch up in the next week.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you are reading this before the programme goes out, let me know what you think I should say. Any great examples of where Twitter has helped your wine business – winery, retailer, marketing agency or importer? What about as a wine consumer – has twitter helped you explore wine further? I’d love, in fact am DESPERATE for, your feedback.

Wish me luck!

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The two-minute wine blog video challenge

This to be filed under: “It seemed like a good idea at the time …”

What wine bloggers do when they get together

What wine bloggers do when they get together

When preparing for the sponsorship of the London Bloggers Christmas Networking meetup I contacted my wine blogging friends with a challenge:

“As you probably cannot make it in person to the tasting, how about making a SHORT video, say 2 minutes maximum, explaining a little about you, your blog and your wines, so that the London Bloggers can learn a bit more about the people behind the blogs?”

Of course, it is a good idea, but despite the fact that some of us have been blogging for ages, and the multimedia capabilities of the blogging platforms and our computers, most of us are firmly wedded to our keyboards. I have never produced a proper film (with editing) before, and nor had anyone else I think.

However, everyone was up for the challenge and we got an amazing reaction and variety of presentations.

My absolute favourite is below, but rather than load them all on this page, please follow the links below to the videos on YouTube – and if you were at the tasting, why not check out the producer of your favourite wine from the night?

Thomas Lippert – Winzerblog.de

[Make sure you check out the credits to this video regarding "Beckham" & "Gascoigne"!]

BTW, this is a picture of Thomas

The other bloggers and their videos (click on the name for the video):

Robert McIntosh :: thirstforrioja.co.uk
My first video (this is take 15 or so!)

Javier Navarro :: tintoralba.com
Javier and some photos of the Cooperative winery near Alicante

Gianpaolo Paglia :: poggioargentiera.com
Gianpaolo, one of the top Italian winery bloggers but now based in the UK, gives us an overview of his wines

Emilio Saez Van Eerd :: casavides.com
Lots of photos of many different aspects of the business and some tunes to keep us humming along (!)

Jose Eduardo J Silva :: cortesdecima.com
Get everyone involved. Vineyards look a little wintry, but these are the guys behind the wonderful Syrah we tasted

Jan Pettersen from Fernando de Castilla talking to Justin Roberts :: jerez-xerez-sherry.blogspot.com (who also writes about sherry here)
Justin cheated (!) and interviewed the guy who made the sherry so we never get to see him, but a nice introduction to this sherry bodega and a wonderful wine

Oscar Quevedo :: Quevedoportwine.com
Uber-youthful Oscar and his mountain bike in the vineyards of the Douro.

Celebrating diversity

Thank you so much to the London Bloggers for the enthusiastic response to last night’s experience and experiment. Presenting wine from wineries that have a blog to fellow bloggers must qualify as some sort of world first, shouldn’t it? [some photos here]

In any case, I want to thank all those who came along, and especially those winery bloggers that sent us the wines to taste and videos to watch. One of my key objectives was to get my fellow London Bloggers to look at wine in a slightly different way, and I think we succeeded.

I will try to upload the video of my brief talk from last night along with a summary of the main points to accompany the slides I’ve already posted at a later date (YouTube rejected my upload this morning!).

I will also give you a link later today to the videos from each of the participating winery bloggers.

However, I did want to post a few thoughts on your reactions to the wines and to wine blogging today and remind you of the competition (see details below).

By far the most controversial must have been the sherry, but sherry is used to it! Some of you bravely tried sherry for the first time which is wonderful. There were a handful who loved it (including me I admit) but 20 year old dry oloroso sherry might be a little like jumping in a the deep end when learning to swim – it is an overwhelming experience!

With the whites, there was an interesting split between those who liked the drier style of the Riesling Kabinett and Vivanco Viura/Malvasia (predominantly the men) and those who liked the richer, fruitier Auslese Riesling (many more of the women).

When it comes to the reds we had clear differences in people’s palates. A number of you came up to tell me that they found the lighter, “peppery” style of the Higueruela wine, made from the unusual all-red Garnacha Tintorera, amazing, whilst others found it wasn’t full-bodied enough for them. What more demonstration do we need that we all like different wines and catch-all recommendations are useless?

I found several fans of Italian wines who were surprised to find a Morellino di Scansano on the list as it is a rare sight still in the UK, but the wine (as well as the bottle and lovely label) was tasting really good.

To be honest, the votes on “favourite red” were quite evenly spilt between the Casa de las Vides CVP (and its unusual bottle), the Dinastia Vivanco Crianza and the Cortes de Cima Syrah. It seems that the cold weather has converted many of us to “red season” and the richer styles were very popular.

Finally, I only had a small taste of the Quevedo Reserva Tawny Port – at one stage I turned around and found a couple struggling to taste the last drops whilst trying to avoid the sediment. Draining a bottle is always a good sign!!

Basically there wasn’t a wine there that did not have a big fan which is great, and a great testament to the diversity of wine and of everyone’s palates.

I have a long list of cards of people I will be in touch with, but please do leave me a comment with your views on your favourite wines as I’m sure the wineries would love to hear it from you directly.

Finally, don’t forget to get in touch so we can chat about wine and your own experiences. I’d love to interview and reach out of the wine bubble to make what we write about more relevant to more of you.

Now, for the competition for those who made it to the tasting last night. There are 6 bottles of Dinastia Vivanco Crianza (delivered to you) available for a lucky blogger who posts thoughts about one or more of the wines we tasted. For every mention of a wine, and link to the winery blog, I’ll allocate you a virtual draw ticket (don’t forget to ping me on this blog so I know you have done it). I’ll make the draw on 21st December so you have a few days to get something up and have a chance of winning.

Live from the London Bloggers tasting

If I am lucky, and you are seeing this page, it means I have found a way to do some Live Blogging of the tasting.

Please feel free to participate and maybe post your thoughts

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