Tag Archive - social media

London Wine Fair Gets Social

LIWF 2008
Image by RobWinton via Flickr

I think this must be my third, or possibly fourth, London Wine Trade Fair (LIWF) since I started writing this blog. As a “Trade Only” show, it might not be of interest to many of you, so I don’t talk about it much unless I come across an interesting story or two. This year might be a little different.

The main reason is that the European Wine Bloggers Conference for 2009 has been announced, and the interest in it is such that Ryan and Gabriella Opaz from Catavino.net (my fellow organisers) and I have been invited to talk about the intersection of the wine business and Social Media. We will be speaking in one of the London Wine Trade Fair’s official ‘Briefing’ slots, on Wednesday the 13th of May at 13:00. Our topic is: “Wine and the Web: the Business of Getting Social“. I look forward to sharing a platform with Ryan Opaz and Dan Coward from Bibendum who are sponsoring this talk.

If you are in the wine trade and you can make it on Wednesday, come along to the talk (RSVP here) – we already have lots of wineries, agents, importers, PR and journalists coming along but there is still space left. We want to keep a good proportion of the time for questions, so come prepared, we’ll try to do the same!

The other exciting news from the London Wine Trade Fair this year is that they have begun to recognise wine bloggers as “Press” just as they do for journalists from traditional media. You get a Press badge, access to the Press Centre, WiFi, and a seat! You do have to have some track record of writing about wine on your blog to qualify, which I think that’s fair (I can imagine there are a lot of people who’d like to be able to come along to the biggest wine tasting in the UK), but otherwise, they are keen to give bloggers access to the world’s top wines. If you are not already on the list and you want to know more, leave me a comment here or email me (thirstforwine AT gmail DOT com) and I’ll pass on the details.

If you read this blog you will find me either on Bibendum’s stand (D30) or on the EWBC booth which has been generously organised by ViniPortugal on their stand (B20).

I’ll certainly be sending some thoughts and pictures from the show floor on twitter. If you want to check it out, make sure you follow me on twitter (I’m @thirstforwine)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Blend your Rhone – tastelive.com in London

Tomorrow (or today when you are probably reading this) a group of intrepid wine lovers in London are joining a global event linked to the Hospice Du Rhone event that supports the varieties and wines of the Rhone region.

Like some past “Twitter Taste Live” events I’ve been involved with, such as the Hugel dinner and the Bibendum trade event, this is an online tasting of wines that allows participants from around the globe to share their experiences.

There will be 2 other major tastings on the same night in the US (With 1winedude in the East and Estate-Sonoma on the West coast) as well as 3 UK events – London, Oxford and Oxted (Surrey). While the US events will focus largely on single varietal wines, and mainly from California, we in the UK are looking at the originals – the blends from France. We want to show that blends can be even more exciting than single varietals, and Gareth Groves from Bibendum (who supplies these wines) will help us out with some expert knowledge.

As of this moment, the best place to read more information on this event is on the existing TTL site here, but tomorrow morning I hope to see the launch of the NEW & IMPROVED TasteLive.com – so I’ll add the link here when I can.

The UK tastings will take place on Friday 17th April, starting at 7pm and probably last just over an hour. We will be tasting:

Alain Jaume Cotes Du Rhone Blanc Haut de Brun 2007
Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Rouge Cuvee des Prelats 2007
Ventoux Rouge Les Sablons Cave Terraventoux 2007
Gigondas Tradition Domaine Font-Sane 2006
Domaine Paul Autard Chateauneuf de Pape 2006

We have chosen these wines to reflect different regions within the Rhone, and to select wines that showcase blends of the indigenous varieties of the Rhone, because this really sets many of them apart from the rest of the world.

One of the great thing about these tastings is that you can combine the face-to-face tasting with friends in a pub (as each group is doing) with the power of Social Media to bring these groups together AND share it with all those who are interested but couldn’t make it. Hopefully, some of those who don’t take part this time will be inspired to do so next time (leave me a comment here or follow me on twitter and I’ll try and keep updated).

I will be with a group of around 10 other ‘twitterers’ in The Lansdowne Pub on Gloucester Avenue in Primrose Hill, a pub with a lovely informal atmosphere and great wines (including, I must admit for full disclosure, some of mine – but we are not tasting those). There is WiFi, so we are all bringing laptops, iPhones, PDAs, etc. so you can expect a great deal of twittering, photos, and maybe even some video.

The Lansdowne is laying on a special menu to accompany these wines which I am REALLY looking forward to:

Snail vol au vent with persillade
Morels and asparagus on grilled bread
Onion tart with gruyere
Roast chicory and ham with breadcrumbs and thyme
Eggs poached in red wine

The other groups taking part are being led by @surf4wine in Oxford and @bigbluemeanie in Oxted, Surrey.

If this sounds interesting, follow the event as it unfolds in the UK from 7pm onwards. If you are already on twitter, follow me (@thirstforwine) but even if you are not, you can watch the comments as they stream in on the homepage of http://tastelive.com

* Photo: Courtesty of The Lansdowne Pub, Primrose Hill, London

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wine is not just for wine bloggers

This post follows neatly, although it wasn’t planned that way, from the last one.

A wine region in Spain wants to invite a select group of influential bloggers to visit their region, possibly in June, to learn about the wines, about the local food it matches with, and a little about the region itself as a tourist destination.

The first port of call, in Social Media, would be wine bloggers in key markets like the UK, … but why just wine bloggers?

I’ve said before that if we want to make wine more relevant and less threatening to more people, we need to “reach beyond the wine bubble” and talk to others who also influence consumers interest in wine, such as foodies, event organisers and travel bloggers. If this group felt comfortable discussing and recommending wines, the Wine Conversation would be transformed!

So, I’ve offered to put together a list of interested UK bloggers, but also of those active in other forms of Social Media, so that this wine region might decide to invite a broader selection of them and thus have lots of different people learn more about it.

Disclaimer bit: this is nothing to do with the wines or wine regions I represent, it is on behalf of a friend who is working with the wine region in question, and who asked me to reach out to my UK followers.

Why these categories, and why bloggers in particular?

The cost of the trip will not be insignificant for the wine region (few wine regions have big budgets) and they hope to have those who come write about their experiences and share them with their audiences. This is easiest where writing about the trip will be ‘in context’ for those bloggers. For example, it might not be that easy for a tech blogger to suddenly switch to writing about great wines from Spain (although I accept that depends on the blogger).

Also, why bloggers? All can be considered, but from the region’s perspective, they’d obviously love to have the kind of content, reach and permanent record offered by blogs (and I mean written word, photography and video). Remember, this is a BIG step for a wine region only used to talking to wine journalists working with established media.

Finally, I’m afraid they cannot bring everyone. I believe the trip will be for 5 or so people, so I’m afraid quite a few of you will be disappointed, but I promise to let everyone know if more such trips arise, so it’s worth getting involved anyway. I have no idea what criteria they might use to select a group, beyond making this a fun, influential and eclectic mix to see what an investment in Social Media might deliver for them.

I already have a pretty good list of foodies and some events people, as well as a few unusual requests that could be very interesting too, but if you want to throw your hat in the ring, you can do it publicly by leaving me a comment here, sending me a Direct Message on twitter, or an email at: thirstforwine AT gmail DOT com – and if you were to say WHY they should choose you, that might help :)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Mixing my business with your pleasure

Sarah's signed VIP pass
Image by teepoole via Flickr

I have a dilemma. As with many other twitterers and bloggers out there who write about the subject matter they also work with, I sometimes have some potential conflicts of interest. To be more precise, I face some situations that some might pick up on as conflicts in a traditional journalistic sense.

I agree that someone who promotes themselves as a journalist and wants to be seen as an objective reporter of facts and news must be very careful about what products or brands they become associated with. However, I don’t think all bloggers really are journalists. We aim to share news and facts, as we see them, but mainly we try to entertaining you, and have fun as we do it. If you like it, you can follow us, and if you don’t, you can easily stop. We bloggers soon get the message.

So, to the dilemma.

I often come across information about, or even help to organise, wine events, tastings, special offers and more. Some of these, of course, relate to the wines I represent in the UK (which I have chosen not to mention on this blog, but write about elsewhere) or at least to the retailers and restaurants that I meet with regularly.

Should I let you know about these offers through this site, or should I be very selective and avoid the potential of being seen to abuse any trust you have in me as a commentator on wine?

I’m not talking about spamming my readers with hundreds of offers and deals, but if I hear of something I consider interesting, or get the opportunity to suggest something I think readers might enjoy, should I mention it here and do this as openly as possible even if it involves my wines, or business partners’? The alternative is, as I have often done, to participate myself and report on it from the event, but it does mean others can’t get involved.

In fact, turning it around, should I actually be encouraging MORE people to create wine offers for you through Social Media? Of course, I’m not just talking about discounts, but about events that encourage the exploration of wine and support wine culture.

I’m hoping that as many of my readers are also bloggers, or wine trade professionals, you’ll understand the situation and have some advice to offer.

As more and more of the restaurants, wine retailers and wine producers that I talk to want to know more about the possibilities of Social Media, there will be more and more opportunities for this to arise, and I’d like to get a sense of whether I’m getting the balance right, or you feel I may be promoting other businesses too much.

If you want to keep it even more brief you could respond “Yes” or “No”:

  • Yes – let me know of interesting wine related offers (but don’t spam me, just the best bits)
  • No – concentrate on wine writing (and do more of it) and let other sites promote the offers

… but a bit more explanation might help :)

Yours, in some trepidation for what I might be starting, your friendly neighbourhood @thirstforwine

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Excuse me while I go exploring

So what do a top-class restaurant, a wine bar and a designer/bespoke tailor have in common with wine? Well, for the first two it is obvious, but the answer is not quite that simple.

If you follow me on twitter you will have seen me in conversation with @galvinatwindows, @vinoteca and @simonblaqua a fair bit recently, and you might even be forgiven for assuming I was running their PR in some way. I thought it fair, therefore, in the interests of full disclosure which I am so very keen on, to tell you a little bit more about why.

Having ‘evangelised’ about blogs, facebook and now twitter in the wine trade for several years now, it is very exciting to see so many businesses I deal with in my “day job” really beginning to listen to what Social Media can do for them. Now, instead of blank stares or laughs (or worse) when I mention what I do online, people are starting to ask my advice.

I don’t “consult” professionally about these things (although you never know what tomorrow brings) so generally speaking I’m happy to sit down with them and share my thoughts on what they could do. In most cases it is a bit of harmless chat, but in some cases these new friends jump headlong into social media and start to do really exciting things.

@galvinatwindows is the GM of a great restaurant, chic, well regarded and frequented by all sorts of celebrities, rich hotel guests and adventurous London foodies with a head for heights. He doesn’t “need” social media to make a splash, but he has embraced it wholeheartedly and is organising special tours, dinners, cocktail competitions, tastings and menus and promoting them through twitter in particular. Wow!

@vinoteca was recently voted “Wine Bar of the Year 2009″ – they too don’t need more publicity as such, but they too are embracing social media as a way to have better conversations with the kind of people who love their wine concept – which includes me.

@simonblaqua is a clothing designer who works with performers like Alabama 3 and has also designed things for rock royalty (I’m sworn to secrecy, so you’ll have to ask him). I was simply a customer, until I used his bespoke tailoring skills to create my Moocket shirt. Now he too is excited about starting a bespoke tailoring conversation with customers and those with interests in bespoke design. I will be supporting this by helping to host an evening of wine & design on 13 March (more soon) – but mainly because I’m getting excited about the idea as a consumer, not for “business” reasons.

There is a blurred line here, I admit. Some of these people I meet because I work in the wine business, and they might even be current or future customers, but I write about them now because I think that what they are doing is very brave, very exciting, and hopefully interesting – and tangentially related to wine culture for a variety of reasons specific to each one.

I hope to keep bringing you stories like these as I explore what is happening with the people and businesses I come across, and I trust you’ll find these interesting enough to bear with me here and on twitter.

If you have any interesting stories of bars, restaurants or designers using social media (bonus points for making it relevant to wine culture), please leave me a comment.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Page 5 of 7« First...«34567»