Day 1 of VinoCamp Languedoc is the day where we actually do the round tables that define the barcamp format. Everything went splendidly. We had three rooms at the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Carcassonne and it was really amazing. The CCI were incredibly supportive hosts. From 8 in the morning until 8 at night, a director or representative of the chamber was by our sides helping us with all the little things that need to get done on D-Day. And we’re already seeing optimistic press coverage of VinoCamp Languedoc roll in.
Lots of winemakers
As people started filing in, we quickly realized that we were going to have a great number of winemakers. One of the biggest complaints from previous vinocamps is a lack of winemakers. So we’re very pleased with the turnout. This producer presence creates a diversity of backgrounds and allows a broader exchange to happen in certain sessions.
Lots of techies
As always, we also had a great number of tech people and web people, a crucial factor in informing the conversations we have in each workshop. These people do lots of different things from ecommerce to tourism to blogging. But they all stay really up to date on the new advancements that are shaping the fast-changing world of web communication.
Lots of topics
A wealth of topics were discussed over the course of 9 workshops.
- Engaging consumers as an AOC or region
- Uniting villages – An EU plan
- Online presence on third party sites (vinogusto, adegga, etc.)
- Success stories and Fail stories
- L’importance de l’identité visuelle sur Internet
- Bloggers v. journalists, what’s the difference?
- Community Managing
I was pretty worried that a few of these workshops had predetermined topics (chosen by sponsors). This is a significant deviation from BarCamp format and ruffles our geeky feathers. But these turned out to be some of the most interesting workshops (for me). So things went well!
Some topics are a little more tech-centric, and people sorted themselves out effectively independently. On a topic like “What is the difference between bloggers and journalists?” you’re not gonna get many winemakers. On topics like “Success stories and fail stories of winemakers on the web” you have a lot of producers present to hear what works and what doesn’t work.
Lots of wine
After the workshops, we had a great tasting of wines from the sponsors and the winemakers who participated during the day. We were also received by the Mairie to have a wonderful tasting of high end wine from the Toques et Clochers barrel auction. And then we finally went out for dinner in the Cité and an after hours drink at l’Hotel de la Cité. Good times to be had by all.
March 19th and 20th
à la CCI
A detailed schedule will come soon. But the important thing is to book your tickets and hotels for this lovely weekend in March. A hundred wine professionals and Internet people will come together at the Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie in Carcassonne. There will be a series of round table discussions on Saturday on subjects that will be decided the day of the VinoCamp. Sunday will consist of a visit to the Cité de Carcassonne and at least one vineyard.
Registration and Wiki
VinoCamp registration is free but mandatory as there are a few questions that will help me organize buses, food, etc.
I strongly encourage you to edit the VinoCamp wiki. This will allow you to add your name, email address, and website to the common list that we will all use for reference when writing about the event. Participants in the conference will be able to familiarize themselves with your website before they come to the conference.
What is a VinoCamp? What is a BarCamp?
I’ve written about the nature of barcamps before, but to summarize: VinoCamp is an open conference devoted to wine and the Internet. There is no literal camping involved. Here is a post with some video of a small round table discussion about Oenotourism from VinoCamp Paris
Who comes to a VinoCamp?
Winemakers, wine retailers, wine journalists, and anybody who makes a living online with wine. VinoCamp is a place where wine professionals and techies come together to share ideas about the future of wine online. You’ll get to meet a few Z list local celebrities like me. ;D
Here is my list of the people I met at VinoCamp Paris. The open nature of the VinoCamp allows you to really meet a lot of new people. And since everybody has a chance to talk, you can tell very quickly whether a person is awesome or not.
Folks watching my facebook updates and tweets of late have been wondering “What is a BarCamp? And what does it have to do with wine?”
What is BarCamp?
A couple people have assumed that it’s like an intensive training camp for barristas or bar patrons. While I love that assumption, it is slightly off the mark. BarCamps are a type of conference or symposium. They are sort of an anarchic un-Conference, organized by all the attendees at the very last minute. I mean they’re not totally anarchic. There are rules of BarCamp. But the rules are written on a wiki that anybody can change. The whole thing has the spirit of a temporary autonomous zone, and it’s a far cry from traditionally organized, opaque, pre-scheduled industry gabfests that used to dominate the tech space.
An Inaccurate History of BarCamps Based on Conjecture and Speculation
Everything I know about BarCamp I learned by skimming wikipedia and a few articles online. So take this with a grain of salt. But my general understanding is that some time way back when (2005), O’Reilly launched an impromptu user-generated conference called FooCamp (a play on the computer term Foobar). After the success of this event, a bunch of people started running similarly anarchic BarCamps (a play on the second syllable of Foobar).
BarCamps are a backlash against all the super-strict industry events that can dominate technology conferences (and wine conferences for that matter).
Anybody can start a BarCamp by getting a space and posting a wikipedia page on the BarCamp wiki. And then anybody with the Internet can modify the wiki. And miraculously, it works. You get a big group of people who are leading the charge in their industry to convene and exchange ideas. And it’s very participatory. No visitors. You are highly encouraged to talk.
And what is VinoCamp Paris?
VinoCamp is a BarCamp devoted to wine. Normally, BarCamps are about technology. VinoCamp will be about wine and technology. There is a lot of energy being put into bringing wine online. There are several large-scale social networks devoted to wine. There are thousands of blogs devoted to everything from tasting notes to wine news to estate visits. There are thousands of online stores and other web-based wine businesses. So there’s a lot going on in this space and it makes sense that all of us get together and exchange ideas.
This is not the first VinoCamp. There were VinoCamps in 2008 and 2009 in Canada. But this one definitely has a different feel. I’ll report on this less ambiguously during and after the actual camp. Right here and a bit on Love That Languedoc too, probably.
But what is VinoCamp ACTUALLY
Well it’s hard to answer because the entire event can change at the last minute. The only thing set in stone is that we’re all meeting at La Cantine in Paris on Saturday, July 10, 2010. I’ll be there around 10 AM. And after that the sky is the limit. Topics and presentations will be discussed as we go along.
Obviously, there are some topics that cannot be avoided. We will obviously address the European Wine Bloggers Conference coming up in October, for example. With this particular group of people, it would be silly to ignore the Conference.
People keep suggesting that I am exaggerating and that I have a basic idea of what will go on because lots of preliminary ideas have been posted on the VinoCamp Paris wiki. This is untrue. While many ideas have been posted on the wiki and several discussions have taken place online and in the real world, nothing is predetermined.
For example, I am actually in a minority of people that believes we should be able to consume wine during the presentations throughout the day. In the pre-discussions, it generally seems people are against this because it could let the whole event fall into a sort of debaucherous boozefest rather than an important marketplace of ideas. To that I say, “Too bad.” This boy is drinking. And if you want to hear what I have to say, you’re going to have to shut your eyes or see me holding a glass of wine! And the awesome thing about a BarCamp is that it is totally up for discussion.
Although I do have to agree with the general point that we shouldn’t open up the BarCamp Bar until much later in the day. If you are uninterested in the forum and just want to drink, go to a bar. No Camp required.