Oenotourism is the other big subject Robert Joseph tackled. The presentation was similar to the one Vitisphere reported on in October. And it definitely falls in line with some of the wine tourism concepts I wrote about earlier this year. The gist of the presentation is that we have to change a lot of things in the wine tourism business. But really it’s a big sprawling topic so you might want to look through the slides embedded below:
Here are some random observations I’d like to make:
There are people who want to visit vineyards even though they’re not obsessed with wine. Wine tourism is supposed to be entertainment. I agree with all of this and talk about it a lot (most recently in the conclusion of my five minute story at the EWBC). Visiting a winery should not be a task. It should be fun and entertaining. It can also be educational and informative, but those are all secondary to the entertainment. And then he does a semantic analysis of trip advisor reviews (again, I’m getting deja vu here as I just did this type of analysis with the O’Vineyards tripadvisor reviews this year)
Although he also argues that wineries should have pools and movie theaters and daycares and all kinds of peripheral activities. I think this is smart, but it’s also important to note that not every winery will do all of this. It’s up to each winemaker to figure out how to intelligently expand their tourism offer without overstretching themselves or falling into a job they don’t actually want to do.
Slide 17 is hilarious/tragic… 99% of Napa wine producers find tourism to be financially viable while 60% of Florentines do not find it financially viable even though the average shopping cart size is actually smaller in Napa (according to this study). Is this because there are far more visitors at a time in Napa? Or are Italians/Europeans/Mediterraneans just predisposed to being unhappy about our tourism activity? ;D
The question of merchandise is also raised. Here too I wholeheartedly agree with Robert. My parents and I really make a lot of sacrifices to create delicious, unique, life-altering wines and we sometimes make pennies per bottle. On the other hand, I can buy glassware, corkscrews and hoodies with our logo or Carcassonne written on them and sell those at 400% markup. It’s absurd, but I make more money selling a bar of soap with my logo (ordered online) than on the bottle of wine that I spent three years on. And this is a point of contention. Some people say that a winemaker exists to sell wine, not to sell soap. I’m not sure, but I think a winemaker exists to make wine. If I have to sell soap to subsidize my wine sales, then I will sell soap. It’s what I have to do to make wine. And I don’t want to imagine a world where I’m not making wine. So sell soap.
I don’t really have a well organized mailing list (which is terrible of me. it’s one of the things I need to change in 2012) or any wine club (something I might change). This was a big topic and I am ashamed at the end of it. :-/
Then he also talked about the R&D potential of visitors at the vineyard. Why not ask your visitors to try new blends and see if they like it. Test out ideas on your tourists because they are your final market. This sparked some controversy in the talks afterwards as many winemakers find it unthinkable that you would make a wine to cater to the public (essentially to the lowest common denominator the way record labels pick singles to go on the radio). At this extreme, you end up with bland, inoffensive wines that nobody hates (and nobody loves) that can appeal to all markets. But that is an extreme. If you actually have a steady flow of tourists, you can draw information from them and choose to use it or ignore it the same way you would use an oenologist or winemaking consultant. Furthermore, I’d argue that my tourists are not the same as a random sample from the global population. People who visit my vineyard tend to be a little like me, weird sense of humor, interested in learning, like a large range of different wine styles, and so on. Taking their opinions into count is not the same as trying to cater to everybody.
Robert Joseph started with a 2 minute biography of himself and then made a funny point. So far, 2 minutes about him and 0 minutes about wine drinkers. How typical of the wine industry! The rest of his presentation focused on consumers, their habits, and what they want in wine.
A large point he made was that we need to treat like wine like every other beverage. It’s a tough pill to swallow because everybody in the audience loved wine. But his point is that the majority of consumers don’t revere wine the way we do. There are split second decisions that people make to have a glass of wine or a beer or a coke or some water. The majority of consumers are simply pleasure-seekers and wine should try to deliver that pleasure.
The good news is that wine tastes great! So all we have to do is market its wonderful tastes. The bad news is that we are awful at conveying how good wine is. Instead of reassuring our potential customers that the wine they are thinking of purchasing is delicious, we plague them with esoteric region names, unpronounceable words, and intimidating etchings of our estates. Instead of promising a good time, many wines fill their potential clients with anxiety and dread.
As a result, many people would rather avoid wine entirely (which Joseph uses to explain the dwindling wine consumption numbers in France). Other people will simply seek different wines that are marketed more simply. He picks the example of Cupcake Wines who are inanely simple in their marketing. Everything is Cupcake Merlot or Cupcake Chardonnay or Cupcake Vodka (because once you launch a successful brand, you might as well run with it!)
On the bright side, it doesn’t have to be quite as simple as Cupcake. We can still try to deliver actual information to the consumer, but we have to be smart about it. Joseph cites a study he conducted where they put a QR code on a wine bottleneck. The QR code could send the shopper to a variety of different presentations. And then people were asked if that information made them want to get the wine or not. Here are the different presentations starting with the most popular (the number in parentheses is the percentage of people who said it was good information):
how it tastes (47%)
grape varieties (44%)
food & wine pairings (41%)
how can you save money on it (39%)
where to buy it (38%)
how to serve it (38%)
information about where it was made (38%)
information about how it was made (28%)
information about the producer (18%)
video of the winemaker (12%)
video of the winery (9%)
People almost don’t care about where the wine is from, who made it, what drives us. Really, most consumers in this study wanted to know what the wine tasted like.
And the next step is a big ongoing research project called doilikeit that studies the relationship between wine preferences and other food/beverage preferences. And with that data, one day, we’ll be able to recommend wines based on what sort of food you like or what kind of soda you drink. Oh you like ginger ale? Try a riesling. Part of this terrifies me but part of it is also really cool. Like a last.fm for food. Oh and why stop there? Why not combine the last.fm data with doilikeit data! People who like Tom Waits Bone Machine era looovve O’Vineyards. Oh you like Tom Waits? Try some O’Vineyards O’Syrah.
And then combine rottentomatoes data and all the data on your TESCO shopping card. And suddenly you can tell potential drinkers that if you like Tom Waits AND bought The Muppet Movie there is an 86% chance you’ll enjoy O’Syrah 2009. Brave new world.
I attended the second edition of a conference/seminar in Paris called Le Vin 2.0 This post will link to the various pieces written about Le Vin 2.0 2011.
One of the coolest things about the Université de la Vigne et du Vin was a series of videos they presented throughout the day called “Volem dire al pais”. The occitan title is a nice nod to the fact that this conference is about local farmers. Occitan dominated these vines for a long time, much longer than French or Anglicized slang, a constant theme for the conference.
Sometimes, conferences like this get a little high brow and far-removed from the winemakers. These videos served as a healthy dose of local wisdom injected into the conference between every set of speakers. A really clever way to help give a well-paced message from lots of locals in between the more academic presentations.
Jacques Berthomeau spoke at the Université de la Vigne et du Vin in 2011 in Ferrals les Corbieres. This is a synopsis of his talk and my reaction to what he’s saying. This is one post in an ongoing series about the Universite de la Vigne et du Vin.
In his typical way, Berthomeau presents a rambling but cohesive message about the opportunities the Internet provides to winemakers and wine drinkers alike. It’s hard to take notes or outline this speaking style so just consult the video above if you want the most accurate portrayal of his talk.
If you’re short on time, here are some notes:
Starting with a joke about not being a tribun (somebody who gets on their soapbox frequently) like everybody from the Languedoc, Berthomeau sets the stage for a talk about identity. Where is Berthomeau from? And who is he? For many people in the wine business, he’s the author of a famous report on French wine that was published about 10 years ago. Often times, people talk about “le Rapport Berthomeau” which drives the man to say “My first name isn’t Rapport”. So for many people, he’s just this old report commissioned by the ministry of agriculutre. This report made him pretty unpopular because he and his colleagues made crazy claims like “women will drink wine too” and “we should adapt our communication and branding to new export markets”.
The Ministry pulled him off of all wine related projects, stuck him in a closet and put his report on a back catalog of some obsucre website on this thing called Internet. Jacques started a blog and discovered that the closet he’d been placed in actually had a pretty far reach.
He goes on in his talk to explain that his blog works because he doesn’t cater to the wine elite. He just tells fun stories peripherally related to wine, and lots of people want that. People who aren’t obsessed with wine and who have no idea what mineralité means.
Berthomeau then agrees with a point in Juarez’s talk about how some winemakers will have to be at the head of the charge to bring notoriety to the Languedoc. Previously in his presentation, he speaks about Embres & Castelmaure. Toward the end, he mentions me and my little camera (very flattering). And I would like to think I’m one of the lucky ones who carries the burden of representing this region to uninitiated (read: normal) wine drinkers.
Jacques Berthomeau, Ferrals Les Corbieres 2011
There’s a digression about how wine drinking habits are shifting. Even if French people drink less wine than they used to, there are different drinkers now that provide new opportunities. Women. People getting off of work and having a glass at a cafe to relax. These ideas weren’t that common twenty years ago. Wine has new ways of infiltrating our daily routines and it’s presumably up to the aforementioned leading voices to make sure that people think of our region when they’re looking for wine.
Berthomeau takes a moment to address the previous talks during the day. Namely, noting that the new world didn’t invent industrialized or branded wine. The French have been doing it for a while. He talks about how young drinkers or new drinkers often start with simpler wines. But he also mentions that even children are intelligent. You often see kids playing incredibly complicated games or memorizing entire pantheons of pokemon or superpowers, so complexity in and of itself isn’t intimidating to people. But wine has to capture the imagination before people are willing to learn all the complexities.
The Internet, to Berthomeau, is a cheap way to communicate with the grand publique and capture their imagination in a way that a Paris Metro billboard can never replace. His advice quoted from Michel-Édouard Leclerc, “Durez, durez, durez”. Tell your stories, create original content, be happy, be colorful, and little by little you’ll leave the closed community of wine professionals to reach real drinkers!
So don’t just listen. Speak up! If you’ve got an issue and you don’t want to start your own website, ask Berthomeau to publish your thoughts on his website, an espace libre!
There was an interesting panel at VinoCamp Lisbon where participants discussed the language barriers between different wine blogging communities.
Overall, the round table discussion was very interesting. I particularly liked Vicky’s idea at the end about designated cultural leaders (which I’ll address in detail below).
Here’s a video of the roundtable:
Language Barriers at Conferences and on the Web
The discussion was divided between how language barriers play out in conference settings and how they affect web communication. This isn’t really surprising since Gabriella Opaz (who I believe proposed this session) is one of the organizers of the EWBC, and the VinoCamp itself is a very Francophone conference (Lisbon was the first VinoCamp that Gregoire and Vicky organized in English).
In case you don’t think language barriers are relevant, the participants in the discussion bring up a lot of evidence on how divisive language can be. For example, Gab alludes to the friction between the EWBC and Portuguese wine bloggers in 2009. Perhaps of greater interest, some of the Portuguese attendees speak up on their comfort level in attending English-language or French-language conferences. It certainly seems everybody has a lot of hangups when it comes to language.
Most people seemed to find the language barrier equally troubling online. Do I tweet in English or French or Spanish? While I understand the frustrations in a conference setting, I think the virtual world is much more liberating. I realize it’s easy for me to say that since I can write in English and French (which covers most of the wine producing world in one fell swoop)…But I really think that people can get away with any language online. On the Internet, your audience is not limited to the physical time and place of a conference. Your words live on in perpetuity and become indexed and searchable to other native speakers of the language you communicate in. A Catalan-language wine blog does not have the same potential audience as an English-language blog, but it still has an audience. And even if that niche is only in the thousands, it’s an important audience. Consider the size of conferences like VinoCamp and the EWBC. They are awesome gatherings and they generate great ideas and partnerships, but they’re actually sort of tiny. VinoCamp Carcassonne had like 150ish people. EWBC Vienna had about 300 people. Even an obscure language blog can get that traffic in a week.
Getting Wine Producers to Participate
One of the toughest parts of my “job” is getting winemakers to take the plunge and start talking online. Start showing up at conferences. Start speaking up and sharing their experiences. This is probably why I don’t make a big deal about language. I’d rather see wine producers talking regularly in their native languages than haltingly or not at all in a more popular language.
Again, the Internet allows your words to be archived and searchable for generations. So there’s really no language too small.
Conferences are a different issue. It’s true that if you make delicious wines in Croatia and speak absolutely no English, French or Spanish, you’re going to have some trouble attending an International conference. But if that is the case, you are not reading this blog post. 😀
No I can’t just skirt the issue so easily. This is a real problem. Because ultimately, the real life interactions are just as important as the virtual content. I know for a fact that very few French wine bloggers follow my blog closely. But they all know who I am, what I do, and my communication style because we’ve met in person. And even though I tend to write in English these days, they all know I’ll talk to them in French when we meet up. So it’s tough for the kids who don’t speak one of the big languages.
Although I would also take a moment to say it’s not as bad as it seems. Even though the conversation at vinocamp really focused on how hard it is to get everybody speaking the same language, the fact is that a huge percentage of winemakers speak some French, English, or Spanish. Italian is a close fourth. It feels like I’m snubbing Portugal, but most of the wine producers I’ve met from there can understand Spanish very easily. Germany and Austria are sort of getting snubbed too, but almost everybody I meet out there has a bit of English or French in their vocab. And obviously, South American wine producers speak Spanish. North Americans, Australians, and South Africans that produce wine tend to be native English speakers.
Again, if you’re a rural Croatian wine producer, you might have more trouble. But for the most part, the wine community speaks three or four languages. Compare this to cereal producers or other agrarian professions, and you quickly find that our language barrier situation could be much worse off.
Designated Cultural Leaders at the EWBC
Even though there are just a few major languages, there’s still something to be done to ameliorate the conference situation mentioned above. In the VinoCamp roundtable, Vicky Wine had a cool idea. What if bigger conferences like the EWBC appointed cultural leaders for certain languages or countries? The cultural leader would ideally speak the language of their culture, the language of the conference, and a bit of the local language for that year’s location. This person wouldn’t necessarily have a lot of responsibilities, but they’d be a friendly face for other members of their culture and a go-between if people need help, translation, a friend, etc.
It’s very hard for conference organizers to get Italian wine producers to attend an English language conference. Even when their English is strong, many producers tend to shy away from the anxiety-ridden experience of a week of English-speaking. Having a designated Italian leader with a friendly face (Magdalene leaps to mind) might help locals to show up. Similarly, traveling from far away like Hungary can be pretty imposing and knowing there’s a Hungarian pointman might make it easier to attend. Same with French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc. Good idea, Vicky! VinoCamps generate good ideas!
There’s a slight risk that this sort of designation encourages segregation, but that segregation is already occurring to a great extent. So I’m mostly in favor. Then again, it doesn’t have to be super official. Maybe just a section of the EWBC site that lists the friendly faces / ambassadors / whatever you call them, to encourage people to attend despite the language barrier.
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?
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.
Looks like I’ll be doing my first Ignite talk this February in London. Ignite talks are five minute powerpoint presentations where the slides auto-advance every 15 seconds. It’s a terrifying speech format and I’m really looking forward to it.
Additionally, one of my all time favorite Ignite presenters, Tom Scott, is going to be there doing his own presentation. He has one of the most watched Ignite presentation of all time on YouTube in which he tells the compelling story of a flash mob that could be. The way the video is cut, it’s not totally clear that this is fiction.. it is. But it could be reality. That makes the presentation that much more powerful.
Anyway, I’ll be talking about expertise and how sometimes you have to admit to knowing nothing before people recognize you as an expert. I hope people like it!!
After reading Midi-Vin’s very good post (in French) about Le Vin 2.0, I have realized that my summary left a lot to be desired. The main shortcoming is that I focused entirely on the speeches and I totally ignored the most important part of every conference: ambiance and audience.
So let me take a short moment to say it was a blast.
The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is a grand old building with a huge subterranean portion that kept us warm while Paris was blanketed in snow. It’s also full of hilarious chandeliers and lustres made of various bones, antlers and minerals. Awesome place.
The food was delicious. Seriously good. Probably tied with the Grenache Symposium in that respect (although the GS lasted a few days so they probably still sit in first place). And the wines at the tasting that night were interesting too.
Vinternet got a good group of people together. It looked like there were a solid 60-70 people there from various parts of the wine business. A lot of producers, which I liked.
Tragically, the interprofession was not very present and I think that these big picture organizational types are the ones who could have profited the most from the conference. In other cases, you have folks like the Vignerons du Luberon, cooperateurs in that part of France. They loved the presentations but when you ask them how these ideas will be implemented at the cave, they smile knowingly. Their boss will shoot these web ideas down instantly. Sad that the boss couldn’t be there. We might have converted him or galvanized him but the point is there would have been an exchange.
But let’s not get all depressed. There were some folks there with more instrumental organizational roles. The national level of les Vignerons Indépendants were present and charming. I liked their style and they were much more receptive than some of the VI folks who I have met on the departmental level here in Aude.
The Languedoc was well-represented. At various points throughout the day I discovered I was sitting next to somebody from the region. I finally got to see Olivier Lebaron (from Terre de Vin / Vitisphere) IRL. And I met the directeur from Anne de Joyeuse who also had a wine involved in the live tasting that night. And of course, I’ve already mentioned Midi-Vin’s coverage of the conference.
Other posts that touch on vin 2.0:
Vindicateur – Is wine criticism turning into stand up comedy?
Musigny – I don’t know who this is (maybe Grégoire Japiot?) but it seems they streamed the whole conference on their iPhone!!
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.
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, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387
Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing
North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910
Best by GPS.
Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.