A winemaker at Paris Web - Un Americain à Paris

note: this conference has occurred now and you can watch a video of my presentation
note: This post has been severely edited as I receive updates about the conference schedule

Vinternet just announced Vin 2.0, it’s big Web 2.0 conference in December.  Last I heard, I’m on a panel with Rowan Gormley, founder of Naked Wines, and Philippe Hugon, director at Vinternet.  Pretty fancy for a mere “vigneron junior“, title I was awarded at Paris Web.

And this conference should be a lot of fun.  Paris will be full of tech gurus for the ultra-famous “Le Web” conference, and it looks like Vin 2.0 managed to skim the best and brightest for their event.  Illustrious and hilarious alike, conference attendees will hear from Gary Vaynerchuk, James de Roamy, Berthomeau, Rowan Gormley, and so on and so on.

The speaking panels and conference audience is limited to about 100 attendees will be aimed at wine professionals who already know a bit about the Internet.  I think it costs like 600 Euros.

There will then be a big live wine tasting and also an episode of Wine Library TV.   The “live studio audience” is invitation only, but Vinternet invites everybody to register for free at the eventbrite page and follow along online.  There’s going to be some sort of interface where you’ll be able to interact with the people on the ground in Paris and it should be neat.  I for one am exceptionally curious to see how this agency runs an online tasting.  To register, scroll down to the bottom of the registration page.  It’s free.

I will be on the panel discussing…“Développer ses ventes avec les réseaux sociaux – le e-commerce de proximité” or “Developing sales through social networks – Making e-commerce feel personal” and they’ve encouraged a special focus on … “les opportunités business du web 2.0 notamment avec l’oenotourisme, les nouveaux modes de commercialisation dans un contexte communautaire etc.”   I’m putting together some of my slightly unconventional slides and I will share this with you all once its done. 

Oh and Vinternet gets a +2 common sense bonus for scheduling the conference in a period when winemakers can comfortably attend.  I’m definitely cutting back on the number of events we do around harvest/vinification next year.

So I went to ParisWeb, an amazing technology conference where some of the most gifted coders and technicians in France and from around the world came together to share massive amounts of information. I was given the fantastic opportunity to share some of my web insights and I thank everybody at the conference who sat through my presentation and laughed at my dumb jokes. And my gift to you and the world is that I have more dumb jokes.

Everybody’s starting to publish their thoughts on the various conferences and workshops. I wanted to do this as a video, but my internet connection is just too slow on the road. So imagine I’m reading this in a very excited way.

When I hear a presentation, there is a voice in my head that imitates the person presenting. This is direct access to that voice in my head. If it sounds like I’m belittling an orator, remember that it is just the limit of the voice in my head. All the presentations were actually super top notch. The troll is an annoying voice that is sometimes in my head and sometimes in somebody else’s head or sometimes on twitter.  And if any of this seems mean in any way, I will gladly take parts down so just let me know. I really thought the world of all these presentations. I just don’t know how to begin repeating most of the brilliant stuff that was said.

Matt May

Is universal conception still a possibility? Here’s some brief history of web development. In the 90s the web was hideous. We cleaned it up, but now there are a lot of tools and new restrictions. Don’t think that you can just make a version for each piece of hardware. Try to make shit that looks good on everything. Building for ie is like building on a foundation of mud. But sometimes you have to build on mud. So uhh ya, Universality is still possible. Also, Flash is still relevant.

Troll: So I’m not the only American who got browbeat into speaking in French

Amelie Boucher

I tape people’s eyes open and force them to look at websites while I track their iris movements. It’s hilarious because they suck at using the websites we build. THEY REALLY SUCK AT IT A LOT. But it’s not their fault. It’s actually really obviously our job to make it way easier for people.

Troll: glad she isn’t tracking my eye movements

Christian Heilmann

[the voice in my head adopts a terrible impersonation of a German accent]

Ya, apps are so cool, but reading api documentation is like rolling around on a bed of rusty roofing nails so I just take the api and I make it do something awesome and then everybody knows that it’s awesome and wants to use it. Maybe you can be an evangelist too! We get lots of girls.

Troll: maybe I can be an evangelist too!

Jean Marc Hardy

With the omnipresence of video, it seems like people are pretty down on text. But note that text is actually pretty cool. It’s still like… pretty much everything. Even images are referenced through text. There’s some stuff coming out with color filters now or Google Goggles, but that’s still totally irrelevant compared to the power of text. Even ads tend to work better when they’re textual instead of more complicated banners. A picture is worth 1000 words but we still measure it in words. DEEP THOUGHTS, RIGHT?

Troll: You have reached your character limit

W3C guys

[I don’t remember the names of the guys who present next but they are awesome.]

In the future, dudes are as hilarious as us. In the future, Terminator bots use various elements of HTML5 to target and destroy you. In an alternate future, there is only one font: comic sans ms. In the future, we can use CSS without rhythm and we won’t attract the worm.

Troll: In the future, there are actually some things we will do with HTML5 that we can’t explain with kitschy 1980s film references.

Jake Archibald

Look, you might be thinking that clean, readable, and consistent reusable code is only sort of important. But the fact is that if you fuck this shit up, Patrick Stewart will hate you and little kids will watch documentaries about cocks with their mums. Also, I’m batman. Together, we are Captain Planet. And For the love of god, clean up your cock. Err. code. See how easy that was?

Troll: Nothing’s more reusable than historical phalluses

Olivier Thereaux

You don’t have to quit your day job to innovate. You can just do crazy shit at work like encourage people to talk around the water cooler. CRAAAYYYZY Or make people work through lunch. They love that and it makes them innovate like crazy. But not too crazy. Sometimes, you have cool ideas that end up becoming useful down the road. Like this app that tracks public bicycles and … yes, they are all way down the road and down the hill. We also made a tv channel get a social network but they hated it so maybe don’t make your clients do things they hate. But encourage people to have ideas. And make mistakes. And then use those mistakes.

Troll: Step 1: innovate. Step 3: profit!

That night we drank a lot, but everybody showed up the next day ready at like 8 AM to talk about fonts! WOOOOOO !!! FONTS!

David Rault

I know so much shit about the history of fonts! It is crazy! I love it. I talk about fonts like most french people talk about wine. This one is strong, and reminds us of stones and minerality. If I can be so freaking passionate about fonts, maybe you can start to give a crap? Also, we’ve got some cool new ways to use fonts online, but do they really work? What about intellectual property rights? Haven’t I done a pretty good job of reminding you that most of these fonts were crafted by some master artisan in a small shack in the 1930s? What gives you the right to just give away their fonts online?

Troll: Giramond is a MAN. HE HAS MOUTHS TO FEED.

Anne Sophie Fradier

How much do I love grids? You know how that last guy loved fonts? Well I am that much into grids and Macrotypographie and grids. Seriously, they’re awesome. I mean you can do other awesome-looking things without using any grids. But if you’re not super good at coming up with great-looking ideas, might I offer… oh I don’t know … a grid. How hard is it to make your websites look good? It’s not hard. Line things up properly, like… like they’re on some sort of grid. Don’t trick your reader into thinking ads are photos that have to do with the text. Sometimes it’s better to think of websites as scrolls than as books. Also, serif feet are bourgeois.

Troll: I’m terrified that she’s going to hate my wine labels

Dave Shae

Stop asking me about CSS Zen Garden! I’m a man DAMMIT! A man with interests and I have done tons of cool shit with my life! Look at this other website I made: It is awesome. And it degrades gracefully all the way to ie 6 or dudes who access the internet by banging rocks together near a fax machine. It’s BEAUTIFUL! Stop whining about when shit will be implemented and fully integrated. Just start exploring and making cooler websites. Also, is anybody else depressed that ie 9 looks so good? Who will our children disparage?

Troll: Will there be a CSS3 Zen Garden?

Ryan O’Connell

Hey I make wine. If you all laugh a couple times during this presentation I will feed you wine later. I am Russell Crowe. HAHAHA. Yes, you want wine? YOU WILL LAUGH. That is the secret to integrating into a new community. Also, don’t use the Internet just to stalk your exes on facebook. Use it to build a community. Also, WTF racists? WTF, Glenn Beck? I’m so hungry, can we eat now?

You forgot to put your website or twitter handle in your powerpoint.

Then we ate and I poured some wine and I totally missed a presentation where they were like “Hey don’t be a dick; make websites accessible.” Sorry I missed it, IBM dudes.

Paul Rouget

I am going to try to do like six live demos and expect maybe one of them to work. Oh snap, they are all working. You can follow the power point presentation from the comfort of your own laptop. I can ask you poll questions over the wifi. How does the future feel? I hope it feels good. Now look at me go. Dragging and dropping shit all over the place. Editing photos. Rendering 3D images. Modifying audio. And wait for it: it’s all happening user side. Ya I’m blowing your freaking mind. Cloud computing blah blah. This is so cool it actually deserves a buzzword like web 2.0

Troll: [somebody in the audience actually tried to crash the server by looping 800 join requests or something]

Stephanie Troeth

Would you give it a break with deliverables? Designing is just the product of design. Production is the produce of … … productivity … designers are the design of intelligent design… or something… Occasionally, consider the User Experience. Are you considering it yet? You should be. There are lots of ways to do it. You don’t have to attach lasers to your users’ retinae. Sometimes, it makes more sense to do paper prototyping or just drawing shit on blackboards.

Troll: Product is the excrement of design.

The End.

Everybody is so much smarter than me!!!

Better summaries available elsewhere:

Very detailed recaps of specific presentations:


I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at Paris Web 2010 in mid-October.  We’ll be talking about my experiences with coming to the south of France as an outsider and how I simultaneously used the Internet to highlight that difference (separate myself intentionally from other winemakers) and also to integrate myself (truly becoming part of the winemaking community in the Languedoc).

On a related note, this presentation will also discuss the huge differences between how Parisians use the Internet and how country bumpkins like me use the Internet.  This is related to a Palate Press article that will be published soon on how wineries have had trouble incorporating a lot of web 2.0 technology because of our rural settings.

The presentation will also allude to various bits of pop culture like Louise Hurren’s Outsider Tasting, the Survive France Network, Dave Sedaris, David Lebovitz, and Love That Languedoc (naturally).

I’m so excited. My biggest, most serious audience since my long lost courtroom days (I wasn’t on the stand, for those who think the worst of me. :D)

— also, adding the blog to AvenueEmpire EAVB_XCFFXPCMZV –

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.