Tag Archive - wine tasting

From Bloggers to Gangs and the Future of Wine

I’ve only just returned from the European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Lisbon, but instead of collecting my thoughts and writing them up, I was straight into the next project which was to be the voice in social media of The Wine Gang at their first wine tasting.

The Wine Gang (Olly Smith, Tim Atkin, Joanna Simon, Anthony Rose & Tom Cannavan) asked me to help share information about the event they were planning with the world. It is interesting that more and more of the wine trade are recognising the possibilities of Social Media not just to do traditional things, such as get visitors to a show, but just to raise the profile of the participants (organisers, exhibitors, brands and even visitors). However, getting started is not easy, so I offered to help get the process started with The Wine Gang Live blog and even a twitter account @winegang – let’s see where these go from here!

Check out one visitor’s reaction to the event and how they learned about it:

The event took place last Saturday at Vinopolis and was a great success I believe. The exhibiting wine importers and retailers seemed happy with the orders and feedback they were getting, and the consumers learned a lot and tasted some EXCELLENT wines (Corney & Barrow had an excellent Nerello Mascalese called Passopisciaro – thx for the tip goes to Tim Atikin). It all means that The Wine Gang are likely to do this again next year, so keep an eye on their wine subscription site (I think there is lots more news to come there) as well as their blog.

I enjoyed meeting so many people I know in the trade, and to bring along some fellow bloggers. I also really enjoyed meeting some of my twitter friends in person (IRL as it seems to have become known). I have lots of video to edit and photos to sort through, BUT …

Tomorrow I’m off to Rioja for Wine Future conference with Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Gary Vaynerchuck and Ryan Opaz! (oh, and a few other speakers too). It will be an INCREDIBLY busy trip, but I will be live blogging the event with Gabriella Opaz so look out for lots of content about what these industry leaders make of the future of wine!

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Spot the wine blog – updated

How would you like to share a glass of wine with 700 potential new readers of your wine blog?

The Wine Gang have offered me the opportunity to showcase a small number of UK bloggers at their upcoming The Wine Gang Christmas Fair on November 7th, 2009 at Vinopolis. In exchange for spreading the word about their event (which I would have done gladly) and a little blog building expertise, I am being given the opportunity to bring 3-5 bloggers along to the show with me to taste the wines and showcase wine blogging to a community of wine lovers.

The Blog Spot

I have a small area in the show where we can set up our laptops with free wifi (for us, not the general public I’m afraid), power and the space to speak to wine lovers about our blogs, our views on wine and what they can learn about wine from bloggers. This is called the ‘Blog Spot

I believe that this is a great opportunity for bloggers and readers;

  • Bloggers can meet their potential target audience and find out about what interests them, what sites they read (if any), what motivates their wine buying and what wine lovers really think of wine blogging. These blogs will be exhibiting alongside some of the biggest names in UK wine retail as well as distributors, brands and generic bodies. It is an amazing opportunity to create a brand new audience for your blog content
  • Wine consumers can learn what motivates bloggers to go to the efforts of maintaining a blog, usually for no reward (except appearing at wine tastings) and what their particular passion is. It is an easy way to find some great new sources of wine information to complement their own wine buying research and maybe even new friends to share experiences with.

Want to come along and feature your blog?

1. Who is eligible?

If you are based in the UK and write a blog on any topic, but include wine regularly (but not necessarily exclusively) then you qualify. This offer is open to wine bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers and anyone else who likes to talk about and share their thoughts on wine.

2. What do you need to do?

Create a post on your own blog in the next 10 days (published before midnight, Tuesday 6th October, 2009) on the subject of “Buy Smarter and Drink Better Wines” (The Wine Gang strapline). Interpret this as you like! You can write in your own style, in the context of your own blog and for your audience, even produce a video or any other format content, but we want to hear what YOU think about how consumers can learn more about wine and improve their appreciation of better wines.

Most importantly, you need to link back to this post and to the new The Wine Gang Live blog so I know that you have written it (it wouldn’t hurt to leave me a comment or notify me on twitter as well, just in case).

All participating posts will be read, and The Wine Gang and I will select from these the ‘best’ entries. Unfortunately I can’t give strict criteria as I want to leave you free to interpret the brief as widely as possible, but we are looking for creativity, a good sense of how wine appreciation can be improved and of course for those ideas that can encourage more people to enjoy wine, responsibly!

I will also try to feature as many as possible of these posts on The Wine Gang Live blog at: http://thewineganglive.com

Those selected will be notified before October the 12th so you can make plans to be at the show, but please put Saturday November 7th, 2009 in your diaries now!

I hope you agree that this is a fun and exciting opportunity for wine bloggers and wine blogging, and I look forward to reading your posts.

UPDATE 06/10/2009: Today was the deadline for submissions, but I have been too busy to remind people about it. I already have a number of candidates, but I would like to spread the word a little further, so I am extending the deadline to the end of this week (ending on Sunday 11th October). Due consideration will be given to those who did get their posts up for the original deadline, of course!

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A wine buying social experiment

Money coins
Image by CascadeAndSTAN via Flickr

A month ago I mentioned that I have been impressed by the potential of the wine newsletter sent by The Wine Gang. I am excited to say that I have done a deal with them for the Wine Conversation to give away 5 free subscriptions to their newsletter, worth £20 per year.

However, being an inquisitive and social chap, I thought I’d do it in my own way and seeing what we can learn from it.

My contention is that the best wine sites (& newsletters) need to balance learning with buying advice.

I believe that this newsletter, arranging its reviews not by style or region, but by retailer, makes it much easier to use it to buy better wines, and thus encourage subscribers to try new wines and even trade up with confidence. Most importantly, it can be used without making you change where you currently buy your wines (but you can).

So, here’s what I’m thinking (for stage 1): …

At £20 per year, the cost of the subscription works out to £1.67 per month

I’m looking for 5 people who would like to receive the newsletter (and browse the archives) of The Wine Gang (FREE), and all I ask is that you commit to answering this question: “how have you saved £1.67 (or more)“?

  • It could be that you know you spend £6.99 on a decent bottle of wine, but you find two worth £5.99 you really enjoyed drinking
  • It could be that you discover a wine you might have considered buying rated poorly, so you bought something else & saved that money?
  • It could be that you found a wine worthy of giving as a gift that cost less than you expected
  • Maybe it saved you buying another wine book (I hope not too many, they need love too)?
  • Or maybe it is something else … there must be other things worth £1.67
  • Or maybe you didn’t – and I’d like to know that too

I’d like to hear your thoughts (especially as this month they rated the wines of Majestic who just reduced their minimum purchase to 6 bottles). I’d love to know if YOU, wine drinkers, found value in this product. I’d like to share those experiences on this blog and on twitter.

Stage 2 will involve drinking some of your favourites together, maybe sharing the moment online, but I’ll save that for another day – but The Wine Gang are organising a Christmas Wine Tasting event so watch this space

So, who wants to test this out?

Leave me a comment below and I’ll see how many volunteers I get and the decide how to apportion the subscriptions.

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Live wine tasting – postponed [updated]

De Long's Wine Tasting Notebook
Image by RobWinton via Flickr

If you were trying to find out what happened to today’s planned fun “blind tasting” that I had promised, I’m afraid it has had to be postponed.

Twitter is currently down, apparently knocked to the canvas by a denial of service attack, but I’m confident normal service will be resumed later.

Unfortunately I have to leave the office soon, so maybe we can reschedule for another day soon – I had a cracking wine to taste too!

[UPDATE 07 August 2009: It happened! If you missed it, check out the archived video of the second live wine tasting]

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Interactive wine tasting

TwitCam Wine Tasting

TwitCam Wine Tasting

I was playing with a new service on twitter call TwitCam that allows you to create a video broadcast and then let people know, and chat, via Twitter.

It was fun broadcasting a wine tasting LIVE.

My first video was meant only as a response to a question, but it encouraged some feedback from others who tried to interact, so I thought I would do another and ask for interaction. I decided to run a wine tasting, not as a “presentation” (as most wine videos are), but as an interactive event, getting guesses on the wine from participants – a double blind tasting*.

The results can now be seen on the archived video here (or click on the image). I am not embedding it here as it starts playing automatically, which can get annoying.

We are only just starting to explore the possibilities of  bringing together different services such as twitter, blogging, video and audio. This is what can make communication and learning fun. Not just for wine, but in many fields. It is not a lecture, but a way to reach out to a lot more people around the globe and make friends.

If you participated or left comments later, thank you so much! I had great fun. So much so I’m planning on doing it again next week.

See you Thursday, 6th of August at 16:00 UK time (please check what that would be for you).

* a tasting where one person has to guess the wine based only from another person’s notes – who themselves doesn’t know what the wine is. Except I did. Hard to hide it from yourself really.

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