Le Vin 2.0 Summary

I’m astonished at how much has changed in the past two years.  One particularly conspicuous example is twitter use in and around Vinisud, a big wine fair that happens every two years.

Twitter at Vinisud

Two years ago, there were a handful of people tweeting at Vinisud.  I actually got multiple journalists to visit the O’Vineyards stand just because we answered their tweets and invited them to come by.  That’s a pretty big score for less than 140 characters. :)

This year, in the days leading up to the event, there is a massive flow of tweets about Vinisud, including the tweets of winemakers, interprofessions, syndicates, and the official @vinisud twitter account.  Six people have tweeted about the wine fair in the time it has taken me to write the first three paragraphs of the post you’re reading.  That’s a big change in just two years!

More Twitter Users at Vinisud

In fact, this shouldn’t be surprising at all.  In January 2010, there were an estimated 127.4K twitter users in France based on a study conducted by Sysomos.  By October of 2010, that number had almost doubled.  And in January 2012, we’re seeing about 5.2 million twitter accounts in France.

  • January 2010 – 127,400
  • October 2010 – 225,000
  • January 2012 – 5,200,000

That’s incredible growth.  It also explains why there’s so much more chatter this year.  There are  40 times as many people to do the chattering.  Plus when you think about it, the first 127,000 to adopt are generally in the tech & communications field.  There are 700,000 informaticiens in France.  So the odds are the winemakers don’t really join the conversation until those guys all do it. ;D

How useful is twitter at Vinisud?

And we come to the question, what use is tweeting for winemakers or anybody else at Vinisud?  It’s not Fukushima.  It’s not Arabian Spring.  It’s a wine fair.  Who cares what you’re drinking right now?

Well, two years ago, it was exceptionally useful.  As I mentioned above, we got tasted by the Wine Enthusiast and several blogs solely because of a tweet.  We were on the Cité de Carcassonne’s communal stand and all the other producers were shocked at how busy we were.  We were also rather shocked!  In 2008, before social media (and before we had developed much of a reputation at all), we had virtually nobody come by the stand.

So Twitter was useful for drawing attention back then.  It was pretty easy.  Look who is talking about vinisud.  Tweet them an invitation to taste your wines.  The end.

But now that there are more of us, it’s harder to stand out from the crowd.  Is this the point of diminishing returns?

The point of increasing returns?

Interestingly, more users also means more listeners!   Sure it takes more time to stand out of the crowd.  But the crowd is bigger so you get more return for your work too.

So all we have to do is figure out how to stand out from the crowd.  So let’s take a look at the crowd.

Promotion of a group – A lot of the tweets are coming from organized groups like AOC syndicates, winemaker collectives, and PR agencies.

This strategy commonly involves tweeting out the stand of the collective group or the stands of individuals who belong to the group.

For example, the AOC Saint Chinian account seems to have been created very recently and specifically for the purpose of tweeting about their presence at Vinisud and similar events.  There are only a few tweets and they’re generally self-promotional invitations.  They only have a handful of followers, so logically they are not tweeting to those few who already follow them.

They are probably hoping to get the attention of folks who don’t already follow them on Twitter.  And to the extent that they’re mentioned here, I guess that works.

This strategy is relatively common.  You can find it again in the AOC Limoux, Groupe UVAL, and others.  Limoux is notable for being more about social interaction most of the time (but they do this “list every winemaker routine” at conferences like Vinisud and Millesime Bio).

While I think a minority of people use this strategy, it tends to be highly visible because it fills the entire vinisud stream with short bursts of messages from the same people.  As seen in the screenshot to the left.

Some groups like the Outsiders (which I belong to) separate these messages by several hours so that they don’t look quite as spammy.

Conversational Use – I think a lot of people are having simple conversations on Twitter.  Like a form of broadcast text messages.  It can be pretty hard to follow the stream of conversation, especially when multiple people get involved.  But it does allow lots of people to get involved in the same discussion, and that is nice.  Much of the conversation at this point is just “@soandso Are you coming to vinisud?”  But there are more intricate dialogues too.

During the event, I anticipate this form of use will increase as Twitter just becomes an effective way to communicate with large groups (largely thanks to Twitter’s tiny data burden).  This is often the kind of use you hear about in the news whether it’s in the context of vapid “I’m eating a muffin” posts or natural disaster and political upheaval articles.  People use the tool for first hand communication/conversation.

Curatorial Use – Curators use Twitter to present things that they find elsewhere on the Internet.  Obviously I am a big fan of this school (as should be apparent since we’re getting to the end of a lengthy listing of different uses of Twitter at wine conferences).  For an idea of what this looks like, you can look at Andy Abramson, a blogger who is visiting the region in the time leading up to the conference.

I should note that there is a fine line (or no line?) between curatorial use and the group use mentioned above.  In fact, groups are trying to curate their group members.  But it just feels different.  I can’t really put my finger on it.  Maybe some other day.

If you want to stand out from this crowd, you’re going to need to do something eye-catching and different.  Be the best curator, the most entertaining conversationalist, the coolest group, or invent a new use!

constant tweets about vinisud 7 days before the event

 

I’ll be quiet for a little bit as I’m headed to Brescia Italy for the European Wine Bloggers Conference.  The whole conference is themed around storytelling this year and I have the great privilege of moderating a session of storytellers.

These short stories will be a great way to learn about some of the very interesting people who attend the conference and normally don’t have a chance to share their story.  Should be a lot of fun.  And a welcome break from decuvage!

ryan emptying a wine tank

sud de france food poster with wine graffitti

Don't forget to pack the wine!

Now I have to pack my bags.   What to pack?

Drawing inspiration from this Sud de France poster, I’m bringing a whole leg of ham and seventeen different kinds of cheeses.

No not really… typically, I pack a pair of jeans, two shirts, and a case of wine, as usual.  I won’t be winning any fashion contests, but I won’t run out of wine either.  Plus I have to bring extra wine in case we get invited to one of Berlusconi’s Bunga Bunga parties.

This post is about what I do to leverage conferences, events, and trade shows after getting home.  Attending wine events (or conferences in any other field) can be expensive and time consuming, so it’s important to do the most you can to take advantage of your attendance.

This post won’t go into the prep work you should do beforehand which is even more important.  But that preparation is sort of common sense.  Call your contacts.  Initiate new contacts.  Let  people know you’ll be attending.  And so on.  This post will focus on the best things to do when you get home after the conference or event.

Write down what happened

Even if you have a good memory, it’s important to write things down.  Fresh after the event, everything is crisp in your mind.  But two weeks later, memories get fuzzier.  Details get dropped.  The exact order of things is forgotten.  It’s always best to write down as much as possible within a day or two of getting home.   If you’re doing several trips in a row, it’s tempting to sleep while traveling.  I try really hard to write stuff down before closing my eyes on the train.  A lot of people will recommend that you take notes at the actual conference.  But I sort of hate doing that.  I’d much rather listen closely and jot things down later.

Alternatively, you can make audio and video recordings of everything.  But beware because listening to audio recordings is exceptionally time consuming.  Video is slightly easier to scroll through and find a specific point.  But audio recording has no good scrolling mechanisms.  So this method costs you a lot of time.  Written notes are much easier to browse through quickly and they can jog your memory almost as well as a verbatim recording.

Publish media quickly

Almost everybody I talk to favors edited videos to unedited.  I think this is one situation where everybody is wrong.  In the days following a conference, people who weren’t able to attend will desperately want to experience as much audio and video as possible.  Photos are good too, but unless you’re an exceptional photographer or the conference attendees are superbly attractive, photo is not as useful as video and audio.  Unpolished video recordings can be very ugly Blair Witch Projects, but if they capture a keynote speaker that cost 30K Euros to have at the conference, then your crappy video is worth a lot.

Publish quickly as interest is highest during and immediately after the conference.  Consider sites like ustream to do live streaming.  I don’t know how long vocaroo recordings can be, but that might be an idea too for live audio recordings.

I will also note that people who make good charts, graphs, or infographics can generate a lot of interest.  Hell, just taking really good notes is enough.  Upload really well-written notes to your blog.  Any primary source artifacts can be as powerful as photos and other audio/visual stuff.

Contact your new friends

I’m actually really bad at this.  I lose business cards and contacts very quickly.  I have to make an effort to sit down and email all my new friends and acquaintances as quickly as possible.   Follow up on any requests.  Send information to people who asked for it.  Include links to your facebook and twitter page in case people wish to follow you on one of those platforms.  Add people on facebook while they still remember what you look like.

Think about the conference

This sounds really obvious.  But you have to take some time to process all the things you have heard.  Spend a serious amount of time thinking about how it affects you.  I meet a lot of people who complain about conference topics being irrelevant to them.  Sometimes, things really don’t relate to your work.  But a lot of the time, the subjects that seem totally unrelated can teach you the most revolutionary ideas.  I like to think about this while I drive, draw, and .. everything that starts with dr.. drink?

Think about whether certain themes emerged from the conference.  Most of the speakers don’t coordinate beforehand.  So if there were themes emerging naturally throughout the conference, think about these themes.  They’re probably important.  Try to develop the theme more on your own.

Read about the conference

While the last bit of advice seemed obvious, this one is a bit counterintuitive.   You just attended the event so you might think that you don’t need to read other peoples’ accounts of it.  On the contrary, reading about other peoples’ experiences can help give you perspective and initiate new ideas and interpretations.

Every time you see an article pop up about the conference or a conversation happens over twitter or whatever… copy the URL down.  When you have more than a couple articles, you can publish this list of URLs.  In the first few days after a conference, all the people who weren’t able to attend will want more information.  If you develop a useful resource like a list of all the articles about the conference, people will use it and link to it.

Publish your ideas quickly

Publish your ideas quickly.  This is not the same as publishing media quickly.  You can take a little more time to process your ideas and reactions.  But the important thing is to publish.  Ideally, you met amazing people at the conference and got a bunch of great ideas.  Now that you’re home, you can share those ideas, expand on them, talk about the people you met, or anything else that comes to mind.  Being there in person was great for you.  But now you can get a second round of good stuff by publishing your experiences.

Brag about your success

This is really awkward because most people are uncomfortable bragging.  Believe me or not, I don’t really like bragging.  It’s weird and I feel like a jerk when I do it.  But this is very important.  Try to find tasteful ways of letting people know that the event well and that you had a good time and that you’re proud of your company or your product.  If some important personalities comment on your business, go home and write that down.  Publish it.  Let people know that writers enjoyed your wines.  Or if a leader in the field thinks you’re ahead of the curve.

If you got a radio interview or a speech, that’s awesome because it went out to a live audience.  But there’s nothing stopping you from uploading that interview to your site and getting the message out to your personal audience too.  Radio, TV, and a lot of print sources are somewhat temporal.  They’ll be archived somewhere and nobody will see or hear of them for the rest of your life.  But you put something on the web and it’s google-findable until the machines rise up against us.

Concrete examples from the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference

In the spirit of bragging… :D

I attended the European Wine Bloggers Conference last year in Vienna, Austria.  The two keynote speakers were from the publishing business and I felt like their subjects might be slightly irrelevant to me.  Most wine bloggers are intense writers whereas I’m more of a winemaker and (at the time) video person.  But I attended the keynotes anyway out of a sense of curiosity.

It turns out that both of those keynotes have been very important to the way 2010 finished.  After getting home, I had to go through decuvage because the conference was timed right at the end of harvest.  But when I could, I made time to think and read and publish.

One keynote was about ivory tower wine journalism.  I liked the overall sentiment of the speaker, but I criticized some of her criteria. I also mentioned a Wine Advocate critic by name.  A week later that wine critic emailed me asking if I would share some additional information with my readers.  Since then, the person who gave the keynote has recontacted me with her thoughts on the matter and some clarifications of her own (which I promise to publish sooooon).  Without inflating the importance of this exchange, I think it’s clear that what you do when you get home can be very important.   This one post kept the conversation going between movers and shakers, some of whom weren’t even attending the original conference.  That’s gold.

Another keynote was on the history of digital publishing and how it will affect wine writers.  Again, I thought this would mostly be irrelevant to me since I didn’t think of myself as a wine writer.  But the more I listened to the speaker, the more I realized this was a relevant topic for a winemaker.  The speaker specifically mentioned that some writing was better suited for traditional publishing while other writing was really much better suited for digital publishing.  When I got home, I crudely attempted to expand on the idea that there might be a book format which can only exist through digital publishing.  That post initiated a conversation with a fellow winemaker in the Languedoc.  And we brainstormed my short reference book on the wines of Carcassonne.  I listened to the keynote in October.  By Christmas, I was a self-published author.  And before new years, I got a full write up on jancisrobinson.com and lots of encouraging emails from respected wine writers.

The European Wine Bloggers Conference was a great event to attend.  Very enriching.  Lots of wine.  Lots of learning.  Lots of new and old friends.  And it’s very tempting to come back to Carcassonne and go straight to work in the vineyard and winery.  But there is still a lot of work to be done post conference.  Think about it!

Recently, I wrote an article about the cost of trade fairs and how those can affect the price of wine you buy.

This is an article about how small wineries can find ways to present their wines at trade fairs without paying too much (and without increasing the final price of their wine).

Lowering costs

Judging by the costs mentioned in the previous article, it’s hard to see how small or medium sized wineries can afford to go to fairs. It’s obvious that the trade fair is a marketing strategy that significantly advantages economies of scale (the more bottles you produce, the easier it is to amortize a trade fair).

So let’s explore some ways that small wineries can attend trade fairs and accomplish some of the same goals of attendance, all while keeping costs down.

Goal of a small winery at a trade fair

  • make new relationships (to generate sales)
  • sustain existing relationships (to generate sales)
  • attract press attention (to generate sales)

I’m probably oversimplifying things, but these are the three things that participants vocalize the most often around me. You want to meet new people, say hello to the people you already know, and get a couple journalists to notice you.

To best acheive these goals, you have to do a lot of work in advance. Set up appointments ahead of time. Let everybody know you’ll be at the fair. Let everybody know why they should be interested in meeting you or coming to your stand. And naturally, you want to have the most significant impact possible with the smallest cost.

Off events after the fair

Many winemakers organize “Off” events similar to how musicians will play on an “off” stage during a major festival.  Hosting an off event can sometimes be an alternative to the fair, but it is very frequently done in addition to participating in the fair.  If it’s done in addition to getting a conventional stand, then it’s not cheaper at all.  It’s actually even more expensive.

However, if you’re clever, you can attend the fair without a stand and organize an off event which draws a crowd.  Off events should offer something juicy for journalists and other people in the trade.  It has to be fun or novel.

Sometimes, off events can seem like they’re competing with the main event.  I try to avoid doing this.  Schedule the off event after hours to avoid competing with the actual trade fair.

Sometimes, an off event can be a refreshing counterpoint to a trade fair.  Imagine holding a beer tasting after a wine conference.  After a long three days of tasting wine, a lot of wine writers love nothing more than to switch drinks.  Or if you’re at a fair that showcases mostly red wines, hold an event at night that’s just about your whites.  After Millesime Bio, a conference focused on organic wine, Louise Hurren’s Languedoc Outsiders held an event where we tasted regional wines (mostly not organic).  We all respected the ethics of the Millesime Bio producers and many of us attended that fair.  But at night, after the fair was closed, we held an off event that allowed people to taste something a bit different.   And we love organic wines, but a lot of people mentioned it was nice to take a break from all the vin naturel talk.

Grouping winemakers at trade shows

Grouping with other winemakers or with trade bodies can be an efficient way to reduce costs and increase visibility.  Last time I participated at ViniSud, I went with Les Vins de la Cité de Carcassonne (my IGP).  While the conference normally forces you to take a minimum amount of space for a single stand (I think ViniSud is like 9 square meters), we could take 70 square meters and split it 12 ways.  With some creative ideas for how the stand was set up, we managed to get by with almost half the space.  Additionally, the stand was much more visible when we were grouped.   And we got to join forces to hire caterers, glass washers, signage, etc.

Another similar option is renting space from trade bodies.  This can have all the advantages of an indie group of winemakers and some other perks.  I know Sud de France and the CIVL/ CIVR (interprofessions) do collective stands at certain events.  Typically, the trade body will charge the same amount per square meter that they are paying (so there’s no extra cost).  And you can potentially benefit from the work that the trade body does to attract potential contacts, increase brand awareness, organize direct appointments with buyers, logistical stuff like glassware and recycling empties, etc.

Public Speaking to the trade

I insist that public speaking is one of the most cost effective ways to attend conferences.  A good speaker with something smart to say can be invited to a conference.  Often times the organizers are prepared to compensate the speaker for travel, accomodations, or at least the cost of entry to the fair.  Speakers have a pre-arranged audience organized by the folks running the conference.  If you have a stand, a good speech can draw a lot of interest to your wine later.

Wine producers are very very common.  Good speakers are somewhat less common.  When you see how conferences treat exhibitors compared to how they treat speakers, it becomes clear that you should be both. :D

Don’t be just another wine producer

Taking the last point to it’s logical conclusion, you should do anything you can to avoid being just another wine producer.  Think outside the box.   In 2010, I attended the London International Wine Fair (LIWF) as a speaker in The Access Zone (a wifi space hosted by Vrazon). Instead of spending 2000+ Euros on a small stand, I worked out a deal with the folks running the access zone which allowed me to pour wines between presentations. It cost me nothing. And it’s a really nice, big stand with WIFI. :)

And I didn’t even have to arrange appointments.  There was a steady flow of traffic to that space because people wanted to use the wireless connection or see presentations.  That’s where I met Rowan and Derek from Naked Wines who now import my wine into the UK. A stand that cost me nothing brought me one of my strongest clients.  A really good tradeoff!

 

This is my summary of the conference speeches I heard at Vin 2.0, the conference on wine and the Internet organized by Vinternet. It was a good group with some solid presentations. The organizers motivated a lot of people who don’t normally speak in public, and it’s interesting to see your friends on stage for the first time. And a keynote by Gary Vaynerchuk is always worth sitting in on. I’m really looking forward to his new book.

Qu’est-ce qui a changé en 15 ans?

A top notch way to start the day. The panel started with James de Roany’s presentation of a study on where the wine world will be in 2050. Then Jacques Berthomeau, who is often given sole credit/blame for the CAP2010 report (often called the “Berthomeau report” or the “Bordeaux plan”), talked about how things have progressed since his commission dared write what they wrote. And then Bernard le Marois and Lionel Cuenca each delivered a testimony from a trade point of view. They talked about changes wine merchants have felt in the world of wine economics.

James de Roany from the CNCCEF (I’ll give a bottle of wine to the first person who can tell me what the hell that stands for without looking it up) spoke to us about a recent wine report that focused on where the wine world would be in the year 2050. Lots of interesting statistics. The numbers that seemed to impact the audience the most were related to how many non-drinkers France has now. A big untapped youthful market. There was also a neat section on economic projections for various countries that showed the US economy stagnating along with a lot of western Europe while China, India, Brazil and Russia all grow. This allows de Roany to suggest that winemakers should be focusing export efforts on countries with growing economies.

Berthomeau’s follow up was entertaining (the guy is a great story teller) and it was poignant as he is a main author of a report that dared to look forward (similar to the CNCCEF report we had just heard about). His team put together opinions as bold as “women are going to buy a lot of wine” and “maybe France shouldn’t try to directly compete with mass produced wines from the New World.” But Berthomeau didn’t just dwell on his glory days. He’s still got a lot of fire in his belly, and he exclaimed that there are still important lessons we have yet to learn.

For example, we need to think less about wine and more about grapes. Small fine wine producers are sort of in the minority around the world. When we talk about macro economics and global trends, it’s much more useful to think about grape production. Interesting stuff. Also, he reminded us that we need to get outside baseball. We’re too insular. A lot of online communication only reaches other wine professionals while the vast majority of the public stays in the dark. And this is one possible explanation for the growing number of nondrinkers in France. We are losing our base by playing omphaloskeptic games (staring at our belly buttons). He made a colorful comparison between American indie films and French indie films. The latter are frequently characterized as art house projects without plot or driving force. While American indie film still strives to reach an audience with a story (just less hollywood gloss). I don’t know if it’s a perfect comparison, but I like it.

A lot of Bernard le Marois’ presentation was lost on me as it dealt with more retail-oriented info. But he served up some juicy information about how he thinks the business has changed in the past 15 years and that is the topic of this panel after all.

Lionel from idealwine gave a great presentation. He’s very charismatic and acted well on his feet. I get the impression that Marois said a lot of the things Lionel was planning on saying. So instead of repeating that, he sort of flowed through his slides and talked about various projects that he’d seen rise and fall since idealwine entered the online retail game back in 2001. The company has an interesting story in that they’re one of the older online wine retailers in France (and the world) and they made it with remarkably little capital and a very small team.

Le Blogueur va-t-il détrôner Parker?

I enjoyed this panel but I feel like they largely ignored the main question: will bloggers dethrone Parker? Sylvain Dadé from SoWine moderated and he didn’t really get people to address the question… but he did get them to talk about interesting stuff. And the talkative Fabrice le Glatin never spoke for more than six or seven minutes at a time, so I’d say the moderator did an amazing job. ;D

Emmanuel Delmas and Fabrice le Glatin were both there as popular French bloggers. While neither totally addressed the main question of the panel, they showed their respective paths to blogging and their rise to popularity. And I’d say they were recognizant of the idea that no single blogger was going to dethrone anybody. Their blogs are just fun ways of interacting with a world they love: the world of wine.

Antonin from Vindicateur and Marc Roisin from VinoGusto also got to speak and they were representative of a new type of wine guide. Vindicateur is sort of like Rotten Tomatoes in that it weights scores of various professional critics along with amateur ratings to give agglomerated meta-scores to a wine. VinoGusto is a lot like snooth but less pitch-y and much French-er (I believe Marc is based out of Belgium). Marc came the closest to actually answering the question of whether somebody will dethrone parker. His answer was plainly No. The Wine Advocate and eRobertParker are both useful tools that add value to wines and make purchasing decisions easier for their readers. And they have a huge audience. He argued that blogs could also benefit the wine world in this way, but they don’t necessarily supercede any wine guide in existence. He also coyly made an argument that VinoGusto was just as good as the Wine Advocate and actually has a larger viewership than eRobertParker but he didn’t try to make this out to mean that he was gunning for Parker’s role.

Pourquoi changer? by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary spoke about a lot of stuff. He gave a little intro and then went into Q&A. He has a sort of wandering story telling style that works very well for him. It was fun to watch. I guess the first thing I’ll say is that he defended Parker. In reference to the panel that preceded his, he mentioned that Parker never made a play to control the wine market in the US or anywhere. The dude just delivered an honest and helpful opinion about wines. And the real criminals, if there are any, are the retailers and suppliers, according to Gary. And I agree. If anybody gets credit or blame for the ubiquitous nature of Parker’s scores, it’s the gatekeepers who are heavily influenced by him and the shopowners who post WA scores on their shelf talkers instead of handselling wine. But this sort of blame game is not very constructive, so I won’t dwell on it. It was more of a passing moment in Gary’s myriad stories.

Another really interesting thing to me was that Gary had an out in his book deal. Although he signed a 10 book deal, there was a clause that said he was free of contractual obligations if he ever exceeded a certain amount of cumulative sales. And the real kicker is that he exceeded that amount with the very first book. Wow.

He also gave me a shout out while talking. He was arguing that people enjoy wine more if they know and like the winemaker and he used a couple examples from the audience including Beaucastel and O’Vineyards. Good company. :)

I really can’t do his speech justice as it was the longest and had no central unifying theme. It was instead an awesome collection of high-quality reflections. Watch a couple of the video recordings of his various keynotes and you will get a sense of what I mean.

La prise de parole sur les réseaux sociaux – la communication conversationnelle

This panel was more workshop-y and how-to than most of the other panels.

Mélanie Tarlant, maker of amazing brut Champagne, talked about how her family has approached the Internet… and I’d follow her advice as they’ve got like 10,000+ followers on facebook and a devoted network of fans who regularly share their story…some fans have even translated their website into various foreign languages. The thing that struck me most about Melanie’s presentation is her notion that the website/blog is really a secondary or tertiary tool. The short posts to twitter or the little uploads to facebook and youtube are just as crucial to their online presence.. if not more crucial. And I have to say that I believe that. I almost never go to their website proper. But I always check their updates on twitter and facebook. Intriguing. And she had picked out a few tweets, retweets, facebook shares, etc. to illustrate the point (all messages from the past few days). It was a pretty impressive case study that I’ll certainly steal from in the future when I’m trying to convince people to get online.

Miss Vicky presented her journey with a lot of humor and no pretense. She described how she very quickly became a reference in French wine communication thanks to a series of happy accidents and following her gut.

Francois Desperriers from BourgogneLive talked a bit about their short journey and its resounding success. And again, what strikes me most is this similar idea that the site is secondary to conversation tools like twitter and facebook. Francois’ updates on those “satelitte” sites receive much more feedback than the actual posts on the website proper. Another point of interest was when somebody in the audience brought up that-which-will-not-be-named “MONETIZATION”. Yes, tough question. Hope Francois and Aurelien figure out the answer to that.

Yair Haidu got up and did a good job presenting his project without sounding too pitchy. Although I’ve already seen the project presented several times so I’m less interested in this presentation. I instead key in on the more recent developments. The magazine elements… the API for bloggers…

Anyway, it’s clear that this panel has a lot of tools at their disposal for communicating online. And I’m glad they shared their knowledge. They also did a good job of referring to each other in their presentations. You can really see interactions between these people. Although sometimes it seemed like we were a little TOO interactive… the fine line between clever allusion and blatant mis en scene. But I’m being picky here. It was a great panel.

Développer ses ventes avec les réseaux sociaux – le e-Commerce de proximité

Philippe Hugon from Vinternet moderated my panel. I started things off with one of my wacky presentations about marketing wine online. Before the conference, I was a bit worried that I had too much ground to cover in 15 minutes… but people said a lot of what I wanted to say during the day and laid the foundation for my real arguments… so I got to be a bit of a provocateur, suggesting that folks stop blogging about their own wine. It was fun. And I talked a bit about other more conventional forms of marketing like salons and scores… and my fellow panelists took it the right way: in stride.

Jean David Camus followed me with a brief presentation on how Hospices de Beaunes has used the Internet to further the already outstanding brand of that location and its signature wine auction. It was good timing because my presentation was a bit big picture and Jean David presented some hard numbers to make it more concrete and real.

Rowan gave a great description of his business at Naked Wines, tailored to the audience to show them how Naked is one of the truest examples of a Web 2.0 business… where the clients really do have control in the way the company is run, what wines are imported, and how people interact on the site.

Thierry Desseauve had an excellent presentation which I felt was addressed directly at me. I was sort of worried that I might upset him with my talk, but he took it perfectly. Very tongue in cheek, responding excellently and showing that salons and ratings still have a very active role to play in wine alongside with all this cool Internet stuff. He’s an interesting figure because he and Bettane have both shown an amazing commitment to exploring the Internet while pursuing conventional wine journalism, wine criticism, and wine events. Their Grand Tasting is happening as I type the first draft of this document and I’m sure they’re having a great time.

Wine Library TV live episode

This was a WLTV episode where Gary tasted four wines. I don’t want to spoil it before he posts it on his site, but I will let you know that my wines do not appear. . . this time. ;)

Ces nouvelles technologies qui changent notre rapport au vin

Okay, I’m gonna admit my memory is a bit fuzzy on the final presentations. And the camera was out of batteries… And I was nursing a glass of Chateau Palmer‘s 2000 Alter Ego… and so… I don’t really remember everything. My bad!

We heard a bit about Taste a Wine which is cool software to file away tasting notes. . . ZeVisit did an amazing presentation on a sort of virtual ebook app they made for the Beaujolais region.. and they told us about their plans for augmented reality apps where you hold your phone up and it describes whatever is in front of you. It makes me really jealous that we don’t have that kind of project brewing in my region. And the guys they were working with said they saw tripled sales and tens of thousands of downloads of the app since it went public. Pretty cool.

Grégoire Japiot and Miss Vicky talked about the VinoCamps. More on that soon.

And Philippe did a wrap up of the whole day, citing tons of different tools like Adegga, Cellartracker, tweetawine, everybody who was present, etc. It was pretty solid. I liked his slides.

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Excuse the lack of videos. I left my computer’s power cord in Paris and cannot access the videos until that gets sent to me or somebody bails me out. :-ç

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards is just a few kilometres north of Carcassonne. GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

Domaine O’Vineyards
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou until the D118 (the last straight road) and the Dyneff gas station on the roundabout.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which goes up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire.
  4. At the last juction, bear left at the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.