Do you doubt the ability of Twitter to offer valuable and tangible business benefits? Then check out this little example.
I was at the Wines from Spain tasting today and I met Sarah. In fact we were already “friends” on twitter in our various alter-egos as @thirstforwine and @bottlegreenltd but had not really met in person. In any case, this twitter-enabled chat encouraged us to taste some of each others’ wines, and in the process I was asked what I thought of this label:
Knowing that such things are subjective, I thought I’d ask for wider input, so I shared the photo with twitter. Within 20 minutes, I had 15-20 responses to be able to gauge a more general view. In this case, unlike my own personal luke-warm stance, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Check out some of the reactions below (some are not included as the messages are private):
How about that for value for business? With a properly planned out strategy for getting input and feedback from fans, friends and consumers in general, twitter and other social media tools can be very useful without being complicated or time-consuming. And they can be fun too!
Apologies for another in a line of short hiatus on this blog. Once again work and family take priority over my online musings, and the good news is that there are lots of interesting projects underway – I just can’t find the time (except just before midnight) to share much about them.
Other than the 2010 EWBC (have you signed up yet?), my priority at the moment is to do something a little contrary. I am considering splitting off some of my content from this site to a separate ‘home’ on Posterous, so that I can then re-integrate it here, but as a separate area. As someone who (tries to) blog about marketing and wine in the UK, I also get invited out to wine tastings, dinner and trips and I want to find a way to allow readers to select those parts of most interest to them. I also want to find the easiest ways to make sure I get you the fun stuff faster and more effectively, hence using posterous (if you have not checked it out, do!).
After that, I will try to properly integrate other content streams so that this site, or something like it, can bring more of my ramblings together in one place.
So, this place may seem a little quiet for a bit, but if you really miss me, you can check me out at any of the following places:
Ever since I heard that Majestic would be moving out from under the arches at Bank End, the warren of brick tunnels between Borough Market and the Thames, home to Vinopolis, I wondered what would be happening there.
It was quickly announced that Laithwaites, one of the key retailing brands of the MASSIVE Direct Wines, the king of direct mail wine suppliers in this country, including The Sunday Times Wine Club and countless others, was to take over the space. I wondered how they would be using the opportunity. They already had a number of shops as well as their direct mail business, but this was a big change for them.
I was not disappointed by the effort they have made to make this a pleasant and welcoming shopping experience. Check it out yourself:
Although the Majestic shop that had been there was a bit of an institution, its warehouse style presentation, that works well in its shops around the country, didn’t quite fit the end of the Vinopolis experience. Much as I enjoy shopping in Majestic stores as a wine lover, they can be rather daunting to some, and moving from the Vinopolis Tour to a roomful of thousands of wines was a bit like getting someone to watch a single episode of The F Word then expecting them to run the kitchens at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants.
The choice, presentation and decisions were rather overwhelming. Maybe even off-putting.
I hope Laithwaites apparent focus on the tasting table, and the space to explore around the displays, will be more welcoming for novice wine drinkers. I also hope they keep the range of wines available to taste as broad (and non-exclusive) as possible.
I didn’t have much time to look at the full range available. I did notice some well-known names from Australia, New Zealand, Spain and also a range of ‘Fine Wine’ (usually £20+ per bottle) but I wonder what regular consumers will make of the lack of the brands they are used to seeing in high street retailers for context?
In any case, let’s hope the site helps to welcome many more consumers to the enjoyment, variety and culture of wine.
When I asked recently whether I should let you know about interesting opportunities and stories that emerged despite them being as a result of my work (in the wine business), the resounding response was yes, but please disclose it. So here’s the lowdown on the next couple of days.
I first met Fred Siriex, General Manager at Galvin at Windows, through twitter when he was one of the first top London restaurateurs to explore twitter. By coincidence I also began a commercial relationship with his restaurant when he listed the wines from Dinastia Vivanco not long after.
Fred is a mate and he happens to be an incredibly inquisitive guy, looking for new ideas and relationships, so we hit it off early on with LONG discussions about what social media could bring to restaurants and the wine business. We worked on a couple of projects involving food and wine bloggers, but we also discussed the idea of documenting more about the life of a restaurant.
Galvin organises occasional “inspiration trips” to beautiful places in the world to source new ideas for their now Michelin starred menu and restaurant, where the owner, Chris Galvin, chef Andre Garret and some customers have a brief, fun and inspiring road trip for a few days. I agreed to come the most recent trip, a journey to Champagne to visit Pommery, eat at Chateau Les Crayères and generally explore the region.
I hope to learn a little more about the food, wine and history of Champagne, but also understand what inspires Galvin and maybe inspire others to do something similar.
I trust you will enjoy the results, but I have always encouraged others to openness on their blogs, so I thought it worthwhile to make this clear.
Now, I’m off for my breakfast glass of Champagne. A bientot!
(5/2/10: edited for punctuation lost by posting it from the iPhone orginally)
I don’t claim to be a food ‘expert’ in any shape or form – whether as a taster or cook. However, I do enjoy good food when I am offered it, and especially when I have friends with me who know more about it than I do, and help me learn something about it.
I have met Simon Majumdar, one half of the Dos Hermanos crew, on a couple of occasions. Simon puts on what are probably the most stunning events I know of for bloggers such as myself, under the banner of “Dine with Dos Hermanos” (I strongly urge you to join their facebook group and read the blog to stay in touch with them).
… these guys are DEDICATED TO BEEF!
In the process of talking about wine and food matching at these events, Simon invited me to lunch along with another mutual friend, William Leigh – another accomplished foodie and writer.
Lunch was to be at Goodman, an American style steak house not far from Oxford Circus, and what a lunch it was. 4 ENORMOUS steaks of different provenance and different ages, cooked perfectly, and accompanied by a very nice bottle of Cahors from the wine list (Cahors is the home to the Malbec grape whose more recent incarnation as the ‘signature’ grape of Argentina is generally considered a great match for steak).
However, what really opened my eyes was when we were given a “behind the scenes” tour of the kitchen by Head Chef John Cadieux. Words are not enough to explain this, so thankfully I remembered to bring along my video camera! Do check out my short summary video as John explained the meat, the ageing, the grill and even the charcoal – these guys are DEDICATED TO BEEF!
The great news is that I can put my new-found expertise to good use in about a week when a group of us will gather in Goodman for “Blokes Eat Beef” – so do expect a lot more posts and photos about the food from others too.
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