November 10th, 2011 is Languedoc Day. Show that you’re participating with a free registration on the LanguedocDay event page.
What is Languedoc Day?
Languedoc Day is an opportunity for lots of people to discover or learn about one of the largest winemaking regions on the planet. This beautiful stretch of land on the Mediterranean coast of the south of France produces more wine than the entire United States. We produce more wine than all of Australia too! Just in this one region!
While a lot of that wine has historically been bottled in bulk under vin de pays names that aren’t always recognizable (big brands like Fat Bastard, Red Bicyclette, and Arrogant Frog all come from here), more and more of our wines are being bottled under the controlled standards of the French Appellation system. And LanguedocDay is an opportunity for consumers to familiarize themselves with these Languedoc appellations.
What do you do on Languedoc Day?
Think Languedoc. Talk Languedoc. Drink Languedoc. And not necessarily in that order.
If you drink some Languedoc wine, you’re already doing your part!
Then think about telling your friends. Invite some people over to share the wine with. Or throw a picture of the bottle on facebook, twitter, youtube, or whatever websites you like. Let people know that you’re drinking Languedoc. And if you add “#languedocday” without the quotes, it will be easy for us to see your participation!
Which brings us to the last way to participate: reading about who else is enjoying Languedoc Day. Follow the conversation on Twitter to see who else is talking up my favorite wine region. Just follow this link: #LanguedocDay
Personally, I’ll be attending the Université du Vin in Corbieres, a beautiful mountainous region in the Languedoc. A lot of French winos will be meeting up to talk about different contemporary wine topics around the subject of notoriety. I think Languedoc Day is a perfect example of how we can try to build notoriety for the region!
Can I drink O’Vineyards on Languedoc Day?
You can drink O’Vineyards any day that ends in Y. 🙂
Unfortunately, my wines aren’t present in the US for the 2011 Languedoc Day celebration. But there are lots of delicious Languedoc wines you can get your hands on instead so cheer up and bottoms up!
Languedoc Day appellations
Here are some wine appellations from the Languedoc that you might be able to find at a wine shop or Whole Foods near you.
Coteaux du Languedoc
Who decides it’s Languedoc Day?
The CIVL (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc) is a interprofessional group that represents the AOC/AOPs of the Languedoc. That means that everybody who produces appellation wines pays some dues to the CIVL, and the CIVL then uses that money to promote the entire region’s appellations.
In an attempt to increase the renown of our appellations in the US, the CIVL hire an American marketing group called the Benson Marketing Group to represent our products. This group has teamed up with Rick Bakas, who successfully nurtured Cabernet Day, to create a Languedoc Day. In short, this is a unilateral marketing effort. A lot of people gripe about this saying you can’t just decide it’s Languedoc Day without some consensus. My view is that you absolutely can. If you have energy and resources to spend on promoting the Languedoc, then promote the Languedoc already! No need to sit around making sure the date is okay with everybody. Just steam forward! Full speed ahead!
I just saw off the last of my Cabernet Day friends. It’s been a real blast.
Seeing Local Winemakers
2010 was a really heartwarming Cabernet Day because it was one of the first events I organized to really get a great deal of support from local grape growers and winemakers. I was worried about 2011 because the slightly early harvest means a lot of winemakers are too busy to celebrate with us.
Some winemakers managed to send samples to be tasted in their absence. Notably, Gerard Bertrand sent a few bottles of his Cabernet Franc from Cigalus. That’s a big name in the region and I’m so excited that he decided to participate. And everybody enjoyed tasting the wine while watching high def video footage of the Corbieres vineyard from a helicopter! Bling bling. We’ve come a long way from #Cabernetday’s humble beginnings. ;D
I was also really pleased to see some winemakers tore themselves away from harvest to come in person. And they brought wines! Which is also very exciting because a lot of the growers around here are very shy and don’t like promoting their own wine. I’m very proud of them for coming out and braving a mostly anglophone audience to help share some of the Cabernet love.
Sharing with Anglophones
And it should be noted that this year was VERY English-speaking. Many English families retire to this region around Carcassonne, and I feel like they make up a really strong community that will enjoy a lot of local wines. Probably 90% of the attendees were speaking in English.
And I’ll add that almost everybody tonight was a wine novice, which is great. I was happy to have a very professional/wine trade crowd in 2010. But I’m even happier to share the joys of Cabernet with an amateur/novice crowd. People who just love life in the south of France and want to drink some good local wine.
We got to spend a lot of time sharing simple winemaker pleasures like “how to taste grapes for ripeness“. We all went out to the rows of Cabernet Sauvignon and tasted how the fruit was coming along. Chewed the skins and seeds separately. Talked about the importance of sugar and phenolics.
It was a lot of fun because we had a huge deal of neighborhood support. I’m getting too mushy, but it felt wonderful to have such a big block party here at O’Vineyards all around some Cabernet.
Lots of good friends!
2011″s Cab Day turned out very different from 2010 here in the Languedoc, so I’m anxious to hear everybody’s reports. I hope everybody has a piece of the magic we had here in the Languedoc Roussillon! Thanks again to Rick Bakas for organizing a wonderful Cab Day.
Cabernet Day is coming up on September 1, 2011 and O’Vineyards is going to be a French HQ for this International celebration of Cabernet grapes.
885 Ave de la Montagne Noire
De 18h-24h (pour synchroniser avec les États Unis)
Grignotage, Beaucoup de Vin. 😉
What is Cabernet Day?
It’s an International event that gets people around the world to talk about and taste Cabernet wines. People will be buzzing on all sorts of Internet forums and in the real world too. The whole thing is organized by Rick Bakas, an American wine promoter and social media guy.
At O’Vineyards, we’ll be having a big tasting at night. Hopefully lots of winemakers will show up with their own wines. And it’ll be just as much fun as last year’s event. We’ll be trying to put as much of the event as possible online. And we’ll be staying up late to synchronize with the Californians who can’t start drinking until our usual bedtimes here in France.
Why is Cabernet great?
I talked about this last year too. A lot of people criticize Cabernet, especially in the Languedoc. After all, it’s not a varietal that’s really from here. But I stick to my guns! Particularly in areas like the Cabardes and Malepere where we have a distinctly Atlantic influence on our climates. We get winter water reserves deep down in our clay soils and we get more surface area of leaves and we have fresher nights during the late summer. And all that means we can play with Cabernet to make some very interesting wines. They’re not mere imitations of Bordeaux or California. They’re unique and delicious expressions of a great grape varietal.
Furthermore, Cabernet has an important part in the contemporary Languedoc scene. In the 1970s, when nobody believed in the region’s wines, Aimé Guibert came and planted Cabernet in the Terrasses du Larzac. And since then, many have followed his example in the higher altitude terroirs of the Languedoc.
But do we need a Cabernet Day?
It’s not about needing a Cabernet Day. Cabernet Day is coming whether you like it or not. So my choice is to be a part of this fun excuse to party or to stand aside and “save my energy” for another cause.
Well, I’ve got lots of energy! And I love an excuse to party. 🙂
A lot of people are going to be thinking about Cabernet on September 1st. It’s my job to make them also think about the Languedoc. 🙂 Let’s not leave this beautiful opportunity to other more ambitious wine regions. Let’s show the world how much we love Cabernet.
Well it’s past midnight so I can start reminiscing about Cabernet Day. In part, that means sniffing empty bottles and thinking about opening more. But the part of me that’s still sober is neurotically over-analyzing the event, and maybe I can bring you some fun conclusions about Cabernet Day and the Languedoc.
If you know me, you know I’m a fan of the Languedoc so I was really happy to use Cabernet Day as an opportunity to communicate on some of the wonderful Cabernet made in this region. A lot of the time, we’re more known for our mass produced lowland Cab, which is a shame, because we have some stellar examples of Super Cabs.
I thought tonight would be a chance to get a few friends together to drink Cab and Internet-users would be able to tune in and see that folks in the Languedoc are drinking Cabernet and loving it.
I was overwhelmed by the support I got. My neighbors from Chateau Jouclary and Pennautier and Auzias and Rivals and la Cave de Cavanac. That’s a huge honor because these folks have been making wine longer than me. A couple of them were even crucial in forming the AOC Cabardes.
Anyway, it was really great to see them because it’s tough to get locals motivated sometimes. People often say “never a prophet in his own land” or something like that. I think it’s a biblical proverb. Anyway, I feel like sometimes my neighbors don’t want to accept that there is a huge opportunity on the Internet. Well tonight they proved me wrong by demonstrating an exemplary curiosity that can move this whole region forward.
Also, I think it should be noted somewhat humorously how far I missed the mark on planning this event. I set up a big TV with a feed of all the tweets about Cabernet Day. But this didn’t really mean anything to about 80% of the people who came because they had no idea what Twitter was. So we talked a fair amount about social networks and real time media. It made for fun conversations. I was blowing their minds.
But probably the biggest mind blowing experience for me was encountering a journalist who told me he remembered the pre-war owners of this vineyard. PRE WAR? Which war you ask? The War of ’39. He actually called it that. This VERY interesting man told me all sorts of things about my vineyard. It warrants its own post on a later date. I thought the guy was going to interview me because he was a journalist. But in fact, he knew so much about this property, I ended up interviewing him. It was really great learning some of the back story on this very interesting piece of land.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Because I’m tired. And drunk. But the point is that there were some great exchanges. I’m really happy with the wonderful night we had around some glasses of Cabernet. A big thanks to Rick Bakas for organizing this whole thing. A big thanks to everybody who came. And the biggest thanks to all those brave souls out there who honestly make the best Cabernet they can.
When I first heard about Cabernet Day, my immediate reaction was to jump on board. And I kind of assumed that everybody would follow me unquestioningly… but there have been some questions, rightfully posed, as to why exactly I’m hosting a Cab Day event in the Languedoc. I want to take a moment to explain what Cabernet Day is and why I want lots of people to participate.
On September 2nd, a bunch of people around the world will drink Cabernet Sauvignon and talk about it online. A lot of the talking will happen in real life too at special events organized in wineries around the world. But a lot MORE of the talking will be happening online.
Some will blog, and even more will casually tweet with the hashtag #Cabernet. It’s called a tweetup (twitter meetup … I really hate web-related portmanteaus). And while I personally wanted to have a real-life party, the success of Cab Day will largely be measured by the participation on Twitter and the rest of the online chatter channels.
Cab Day is about celebrating the grape varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, a varietal that is so popular it seems like it doesn’t really need to have a party. So I guess that’s why some people are asking me “Do we need a Cab Day?” and “Why are we doing Cabernet?”
I’m gonna answer these questions in two parts. Part 1, since when do we have to attach moral imperatives to wine parties? Part 2, I need to communicate how awesome Languedoc Cabernet is.
Why people want crazy moral imperatives to party? – A lot of the people who are really into tweetups are also into promoting obscure varietals and communicating on more esoteric themes than Cabernet Sauvignon. I like talking about rare grape varietals too, which lets you communicate on themes like authenticity, local culture, history, etc. But I also realize that a mainstream subject can be just as interesting as an obscure one. And more mainstream topics can bring more people into the fold while very obsucre topics can sometimes alienate people who don’t feel “initiated”.
The interesting mainstream topic – The Languedoc is not known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. We’re a Mediterranean region and you can’t grow Cabernet just anywhere around here. So the few parts of the Languedoc that do make great Cabernet Sauvignon absolutely must communicate on that. So I’ll try to round up some Cabs from the Malpere, Cabardes, Aniane and so on. Cab Day is going to get a lot of people online who are interested in the grape varietal and we’ll be able to talk about how certain parts of the Languedoc make really great Cab. Sounds like a great opportunity!
And I hope other winemakers and Languedoc fans will take up the banner with me. Come visit on September 2nd or send your friends. We’re gonna drink great wine, have a blast, and it should be a lot of fun!
The presentation is a little dry if you’re not in the biz, but I think Rick has some very interesting experience and he shares some truly outstanding numbers. In a time when everybody in California was hurting, St. Supery saw some impressive numbers, retaining their wine club members and increasing direct sales despite the fact that the economy is hurting. And without pitching the wine directly!
There’s also an interesting moment where Rick talks about catering to a client who didn’t like the bottle (way beyond the call of duty) and then it turns out that she’s a writer for the New York Times. While the story sort of enforces the idea that a traditional journalist is way more important than a normal consumer and he lucked out, there’s also this theme that you should treat everybody like an important journalist. Customer is king. And sometimes, it turns out they are actually secret journalists or Zeus disguised as a swan.
But beside the risk that every client is Zeus disguised as a swan, you just have to be nice to wine drinkers because they are people and you should be nice to everybody.
There’s another moment of VinoCamp Paris where Vicky Wine said something very nice about my wines (or about me).
She said that it is very important for winemakers to connect with wine drinkers. Because when she drinks a wine, she makes judgements about the winemaker or the label or other things that float around outside the bottle. And one of the reasons she likes my wine is because she knows all the stuff I’m doing online, and all the tastings I do, and (as somebody in the group quips) because we are buddies. But there is no shame in being buddies!
And I don’t have video of it, but Emmanuel Delmas said something to the same effect. It’s unavoidable that once he meets me or sees my videos online, my wine will have a sort of exuberant, energetic feeling. It’s a happy wine! And then we’re left wondering if the wine truly resembles the winemaker or if it’s just that we’re influenced by our perceptions of the artist. . . . interesting questions! And all arguments for the winemaker to make themselves visible online (when time permits).
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.