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Wineries and Social Media

Here are a few more details on the talk I will be giving tonight for London Bloggers at Ember. I am probably not going to show these slides, they are more for my reference, but they might jog some memories after the fact! I will post the text of the presentation after the event.

Below you will also find a list of the wines we will be tasting, and the links to the winery blogs that supplied them for you to taste.

There is an added incentive to come along. There will be wine bottles to win for those who dip a toe in the wine conversation! Read on.

Wine Conversation 081209

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: wine london)

The wines we will taste tonight are:

  1. Vivanco Viura/Malvasia 2007, Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco – courtesy of thirstforrioja.co.uk
  2. Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2007, Weingut Clauer (and if you are really nice to me, a taste of Riesling Auslese 2003, Weingut Clauer) – courtesy of winzerblog.de
  3. Higueruela 2007, from Sta. Quiteria – courtesy of tintoralba.com
  4. Dinastia Vivanco Crianza 2004, Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco – courtesy of thirstforrioja.co.uk
  5. Bellamarsilia 2007, Poggio Argentiera – courtesy of poggioargentiera.com
  6. CVP 2007, La Casa de las Vides – courtesy of casavides.com
  7. Syrah 2004, Cortes de Cima – courtesy of cortesdecima.com
  8. Antique Oloroso Sherry from Fernando de Castilla – courtesy of jerez-xerez-sherry.blogspot.com (who also writes about sherry here)
  9. Special Reserve Tawny Port, Quevedo Port – courtesy of Quevedoportwine.com

And stay tuned for a series of videos we will be showing on the night. I shall link them up here tomorrow for you all to enjoy.

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An unusual kind of wine tasting

Ember

Ember

I hadn’t intended to write about this quite yet (I only just posted my first post for ages last night) but the London Blogger Meet-up Group has just announced an exciting event for Christmas which I need to tell you about now if you want a chance to come along (as I write, 45 of the 80 places are already booked, and that in less than 2 hours since it was announced).

[UPDATE 16:45 - unfortunately the event is ALREADY booked out - 80 acceptances in under 8 hours. How exciting! Keep an eye on this site just in case we can make arrangements for a few more, you never know.]

I’ve been in contact with Andy Bargery from Marketing Blagger for some time as he was the one who set up an excellent networking event for London Bloggers of any subject – in fact it was through this that I won my wonderful trip on the Stella Artois Airship a few months ago. That event inspired me to volunteer to “sponsor” a future event, to also give something back to my blogging peers, and that is what I plan to do on December 9th, 2008 at Ember, opposite Farringdon Tube Station.

I will give you more details on this site and on the meet-up page soon, but I plan on talking briefly about Wine Blogging - who we are, why we do it, and specifically what benefits it has brought to my winemaking friends. I hope to have many different wines to taste and I also hope to show you some videos from these bloggers presenting themselves and their wines. I bet they LOVE that challenge!

The wines to taste will be courtesy of: Winzerblog, Poggio Argentiera, Tintoralba, Quevedo Port, Cortes de Cima, Casa de las Vides, La Gramiere (although this is a long-shot) and, of course, my own efforts with Dinastia Vivanco.

(EDIT: through the power of Twitter my friend Justin will also be trying to locate some sherry to try!)

I will also be looking to hook-up with bloggers who do not write about wine to participate in my campaign to “reach out from the wine bubble” – be warned! I’m in search of your views on wine.

There will also be some money behind the bar for some free drinks, and I might even chuck in a Christmas present or two!

If you want a chance to join in, Be Quick! Sign up to the event.

See you there!

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The Beer Conversation

I hope you will indulge me and allow me to change the regular subject away from wine for a short while.

The subject today is beer. To be specific, it is Stella Artois and their marketing and PR activities. THIS is what I was inspired by!

I did not set out to think about beer marketing, but I had been trying to get along to a regular London Bloggers get-together for many months and I had failed 7 times already (that’s almost a year of events) so I made a special effort for the summer party.

To help celebrate the event, Stella Artois made the brave, and far-sighted in my opinion, decision to sponsor the event. Not only did they pay for drinks, but they also offered a quite unique prize – a trip for up to 6 bloggers in their Star Over London airship (or zeppelin) as seen above. Each of these seats cost up to £360, so it was no small prize!

Stella Artois managed to tie in this prize to their sponsorship of “Love Your Local“, a campaign they are supporting to highlight pubs that are at the heart of their community. To win the bloggers’ prize we had to describe what we liked about our favourite local. I happen to have a great local pub (The Honor Oak), so it was no effort to write about them – and it so happens that I won one of the prizes.

[You can see my pictures here]

I also discovered that, as well as their long-standing and well regarded television commercials, they have a new interactive site with a game and other goodies (not sure about the game – it looks wonderful, but is it a game or a movie?) that includes a great collection and presentation of their adverts (I think these are the cinema-length versions).

It is a sign of a good campaign that you can conduct several different activities but still manage to tie them together, keeping the brand profile high.

Stella Artois emerges as a well recognised brand that cleverly manages to sell itself as a “premium” brand whilst still managing to compete on the mass market in pubs and supermarkets (i.e. it still discounts!). As far as wine is concerned, only champagne has managed to achieve this.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a similar branding concept in the wine business?

There are many reasons you won’t see a wine brand pay to brand a zeppelin or shoot some of the most beautiful cinematic ads, chief of which is that none can afford it, but the impressive link up between the promotions, and the single-minded (although no longer “Reassuringly Expensive”) and cleverly humorous presentation is something that would be wonderful to see.

[I ought to point out that Stella Artois is not immune from criticism either, with regard to its branding, but I don't think it negates the point that wine brands who want to succeed, as well as surviving for somewhere between 82 and 642 years, can learn from this sort of consistent branding]

ABCs never knew what hit them

Some time ago there was a lot of excitement over the fact that there are two competing films being made in Hollywood about the same event, The Judgement of Paris.

I’m sure that if you are reading this site you are already acquainted with this story. “Shock! Horror! Respected wine judges select Californian wines above French in blind tasting!”

It probably seems strange to people starting out on their wine discovery journey today that there was a time when ‘New World’ wines were struggling for recognition (although the term “Fine Wine” is still very much dominated by French wines). However, 1976 saw a sea-change. I won’t bother commenting further on this here as it has been done to death before and will be again once these films come out.

I thought I’d comment on the films themselves. Much will be said in the official wine journals and blogs about how closely or not these reflect the actual event. I think this article covers most of the common points.

What I think is interesting will be the fact that 98% of those who watch the films will not care. However, as the Sideways effect has shown, some of the results of a film involving wine can be long-lasting even if unintended.

What I think might emerge from this, and I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who hope it will, is a rejuvenated interest in the Chardonnay grape.

The first, and probably more light-hearted of the two, is Bottle Shock (“The French Never Knew What Hit Them” – including a tasteful image of wine bombs being dropped on the Eiffel Tower). It will focus on the winning white wine, a Californian Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena. If it gets people thinking positively about Chardonnay again, then this can only be a bonus, but lets hope the film has a little more integrity than the strapline suggests (I’d rather not see another “A Good Year” – it did very little for wine, romance, comedy or even film for that matter).

Let’s hope that less detailed historical accuracy is made up for in a plot that engages its audience in a love of wine, wherever it may be from.

The second film is still in the works, but will focus on the winning red wine, the Cabernet from Stag’s Leap, and I guess we will have to wait to see more about this, if and when this finally makes it out.

Who knows, but in 18 months time we may be talking about a new ABC movement in consumer drinking patterns. Maybe, instead of Anything But Chardonnay, we might have “Another Bottle shock Convert”

Stormhoek News & Speculation

Well, it looks like things are on-track for keeping the Stormhoek brand alive, if not the whole of Orbital as a company.

I’m sure we’ll know more early next week once due-diligence is complete, but it is fun to imagine where they will end up.

Just imagine: Wouldn’t it be fun to see it taken over by someone outside the wine business, probably by a tech company trying to reach the young, blogging, tech-savvy audience that already knows & loves the brand?

Why should they?

Well, a wine business will need to make a reasonable profit from it to justify the take-over, and we know how hard that is. For a well-funded tech business, this sort of investment would be peanuts, and so even if it made no profit at all, it would save them $/£ millions from their advertising budgets, money that they would otherwise spend anyway.

Just a bit of fun. I don’t expect anything like this, but it would be a great Wine2.0 story, wouldn’t it?

“Major Tech Company buys Social Object in a Bottle”

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