Tag Archive - food

European Wine Bloggers Conference review

EWBC Petrol Art

EWBC Petrol Art

It is too early to really be able to take it all in, but I am back from Lisbon and the European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) 2009.

The conference this year was about 3 times the size of last year’s event, with around 120 bloggers and a great number of producers and other wine businesses there to support the event and promote their wines. That is a big change in a year, and makes me wonder about next year.

I have so many things in my head that writing one post seemed incredibly hard, so I thought I’d kick it off with a brief summary and a few notes of thanks to get the flow going, then over time I can post my thoughts on the sessions, the people, the location, the sponsors, the food, the practicalities of running a large conference and more. Wow, so many things to think about.

European Wine Bloggers ConferenceFirst, I need to restate my thanks to Ryan and Gabriella Opaz of Catavino. Although all three of us are listed as ‘organisers’ the load of all parts of the conference was not exactly evenly distributed and Gabriella in particular really does deserve an extra reward for making things happen as well as they did – just don’t hand her an open bottle of wine! (photo by eatlikeagirl)

Secondly, as with all conferences of this type, we struggled to keep everyone online so they could email, tweet, blog and generally record their impressions. The hotel network did not, unfortunately, seem up to the task as promised, but the boys from Adegga who are already experts in their own areas (check out their brilliant wine social site) also became our de-facto IT support setting up, monitoring and moving the network for 120 people. Thanks Andre, Andre and Emidio!

I must also mention all those who were at their second EWBC event. They too took on informal roles to support the team, welcoming new friends and encouraging the discussion, and I still think we managed to keep the tone very friendly despite growing the event so considerably. This is down entirely to the community-mindedness of all those involved. Thanks everyone!

So, briefly, what did I learn?

  • I really enjoyed Portuguese wine and must buy more of it to learn the key regional differences
  • Portuguese food is amazing and deserves a more relaxed enjoyment of it than I was able to devote
  • The people of Portugal are very warm and generous. We were always well treated despite being so unusual and being so poor at speaking their language
  • That cork is making great efforts and inroads, via people like Amorim, to gain our trust in it again as the best closure for quality wine (more on this very soon)
  • That bloggers themselves are still a strong community with an inclination to help others and share, so we need to build on this while we can
  • That differences between bloggers on certain issues that might seem important, such as monetisation, are vastly outweighed by what we have in common and we need more opportunities to meet face to face to remember this
  • That one of the main barriers to more international cooperation is language differences, something that can be easily, if expensively, overcome, and that otherwise we would benefit a great deal from working together. So, how do we fix this? Certainly not by sticking to our local cliques
  • That we still have not yet truly captured the essence of what the consumer is looking for regarding wine in social media, but we are getting closer
  • That I have a weakness for 70′s & 80′s dancefloor classics and revivals

All of these deserve a post of their own, so hopefully I’ll be able to raise some of these issues in more detail soon

In summary, if you like writing about wine and you didn’t make it to Lisbon this year, pay close attention to this site and to the event site to grab a place for next year!

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The Wine Show Merry-go-round

It is a really busy time, and a great time to taste wine.

Today, and for this weekend, I will be at The Wine Show in the Business Design Centre in London showing off some of the wines I represent in the UK on the Wines from Spain stand (come over to say hello), but also speaking to other exhibitors about what they are doing to reach wine consumers, and about their innovations.

Then it is the turn of the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference taking place in Lisbon from the 30th of October to the 1st of November 2009. There are already 117 confirmed participant bloggers from across Europe but also further afield. I am particularly excited to know that we have so many friends from the US and Canada coming too as I have yet to attend the US version of this event. Plenty of great wine and food will be consumed alongside the more serious conference discussion programme.

Then it is back to the UK to take part in The Wine Gang Christmas Fair on November 7th, 2009. There will be literally hundreds of wines there for you to taste PLUS I’ll be helping to showcase some great food and wine bloggers, recording what we get up to on the day and the impressions of the wines.

After that I skip off to Rioja a few times for the Wine Future conference and then a further couple of trips with wine lovers later in November and December.

Somewhere in there I hope to bring you updates on some of the exciting wine developments I’ve been learning about in packaging, research and even games! (more soon)

This blog is not updated every day, but if you want to stay up-to-date (and until I manage to bring it all back into one place) you can follow me on twitter and on the various sites linked above. I hope that somewhere along the way I can taste some of these wines with you in person.

Stay in touch! I may need your help to remind me where I am at any moment.

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A devilishly good day

A quick post to point you to the results of the fun wine and food experiment I helped to organise yesterday for Casillero del Diablo, the well known Chilean wine brand.

I’m always looking for interesting new ways brands can promote wine and reach out to new audiences, and when I had the opportunity to create an event for a wine brand like this I knew it could be amazing. The team at Cube put on a great event at The Kitchen run by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Laborde, and my role was to document, host and share some of that event with the wider world.

The event itself was really made a success by the three bloggers who were invited to taste the Casillero del Diablo wines and come up with dishes to match them – then cook them in time for a taste-off with the judges: winemaker Marcelo Papa, chef Thierry Laborde and Carol Emmas from Harpers. The three bloggers were Signe Johansen (@scandilicious), Linda Williams (@goodshoeday) and Louis Villard (@spiltwine).

I managed to use a whole range of ‘social’ tools on the day, but the star was really Posterous – an amazing tool for combining your event content. Check it out! Visit the site to see the videos (using Qik from my mobile), audio interview (using AudioBoo), photos (using Flickr) and the twitter stream (using ScribbleLive) – all toold you should definitely consider using too.

Enjoy!

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Biodynamic tasting with BB&R

Tonight we taste three biodynamic wines from the Berry Bros & Rudd stable:

2007 Mâcon, Les Héretieres du Comte Lafon, Burgundy
2006 Vacqueyras, Garrigues, Domaine Montirius, Rhône
2006 L’As, Coteaux du Languedoc, Mas Conscience

I will be tasting these wines, led by @winematters, with a group in BB&R’s cellars in London and groups around the country. Check below for all the twitter details I know, and leave yours if I’ve missed you out.

We are using the platform at tastelive.com (put together by Bin Ends Wine and still developing all the cool features we need for interactive online tastings) so check it out and register there.

For a bit more information, check this video (apologies it got cut off, but twitvid failed me)

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Participants:
BB&R Cellars
@thirstforwine
@winematters
@gastro1
@cowfish
@laissezfare
@oliverthring
@digitalmaverick

London
@wine90
@thewinesleuth

Edinburgh
@madamevin
@whiteandred
@thefinewineman
@lintably

Isle of Wight
@benjamindyer
@MattandCat
@mark32i5b
@wighthandman

Around the country
@loudmouthman
@bigbluemeanie

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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