I’ve played a lot with graffiti in the past few months and it’s always been pretty popular. So I should probably post it here on the blog which is a tad more permanent than facebook status updates and tweets.
Sud de France launched an ad campaign with these posters that feature a model who might be eating a picnic on a dock… a picnic consisting of like 300 different products from the south of France including but not limited to an entire leg of ham. It looks like quite a picnic and she is pretty so you worry that she is eating all that alone (although it’s good to know she’s not annorexic).
Here’s the ad as it appears on the Sud de France website:
I floated a different version of the ad with a thought bubble explaining the concerned look on her face.
Then the other day I saw this TER train:
Normally the trains in the region say “Vivre en Languedoc-Roussillon” but you can’t spell vivre without ivre. So with one letter removed, the slogan goes from “To Live in Languedoc Roussillon” to “Drunk in the Languedoc Roussillon”. You have to love French and the efforts of this very inspired graffiti artist. I swear it wasn’t me.
And now the Outsiders are playing around with a new logo for our event at Vinisud.
This post is part of a series of posts about le Vin 2.0 2011 where I presented on the topic of mobile technology opportunities for winemakers. Here’s a video of the presentation (in French) and a summary in English.
When a company decides to develop a mobile strategy, their first instinct is often to make a smartphone application. But applications are actually one of the heaviest investments you can make with some of the most limited returns. Apps seem really cool and they seem like the most *mobile* thing you can do because that’s what you always hear about on the news, but you can make an application and then wake up the morning after next to that 10,000€ app and realize you don’t really have the same ambitions in life. This metaphor got weird.
All I’m trying to say is that most winemakers shouldn’t even think about making an application.
Here are several reasons why:
Application development is expensive. The lowest dev cost I’ve ever seen for even a simple application that was basically just a PDF that you could flip through was 6,000€.
Application development is restricted to specific platforms. If you make an iPhone app, it only works on iPhones. And then you need a different app for Android phones. And you need to constantly maintain the app as the technology changes. I use a Samsung Wave which has the Bada platform and basically nobody makes apps for me. I feel left out and end up resenting everybody who is ignoring my phone platform.
The most successful applications are Universal in scope, and most winemakers don’t have the resources to maintain this kind of app. Almost nobody wants an O’Vineyards app that just tells them about O’Vineyards. They will open that once and then forget it’s on their phone. On the other hand, a Love That Languedoc app that tells them about all the Languedoc wines .. that’s a little more interesting, but still not ideal. Then if you think of a Guide Hachette app that has all French wines. That’s getting interesting. Or something like Wine Demon that does all wines available in the UK. Now you’re providing something useful for your app user and they will come back to it repeatedly and regularly. But most winemakers don’t have the resources (or motivation) to do that kind of big picture app.
Instead, optimize your website
It makes more sense to make a mobile friendly website. A good web site can be optimized for all mobile phone users. It can be done pretty inexpensively. I have some minor technical skills so I made a separate CSS for this website (heavily based on iPhonsta, a free wordpress theme). But even if you know nothing about computers, you can hire somebody to make a mobile version of your site for less than 1000€. The mobile site will also be a good testing ground where you can learn about your mobile users’ habits by watching your site analytics.
In the near future, I imagine mobile commerce will become a realistic option for wineries (Although we’ll face the same issue of universal scope… most consumers would rather be regular shoppers at amazon.com than shop at 28 separate publisher websites). You can also imagine microlocation once HTML 5 kicks in. Today, my website detects you’re using a cell phone and I show you my mobile site. In the near future, I will see you’re using a cell phone and you’re within 20 kilometers of the vineyard so I’ll prominently display a map with directions on arriving at my vineyard. Or I’ll see you’re on my vineyard and I’ll show you information about the parcel where you’re standing. Or I’ll see you’re in the UK and I’ll prominently display links to Naked Wines where you can buy my wine online and have it delivered to your home.
The counterargument: Apps are awesome
Several people at Vin 2.0 pointed out that they have very successful applications. Notably, le Guide Hachette, mentioned above, Intermarché, and idealwine. While I make apps sound pretty terrible, they pointed out that the app store is a very well-viewed platform. With the right kind of app and the right kind of PR/marketing, you can get your app featured in one of the app stores’ Top Lists. And that’s a lot of exposure. Again, I think this is an unrealistic endeavor for most winemakers. It’s more appropriate for a universally-scoped guidebook or retailer (with a bit more budget than O’Vineyards). But I do appreciate that there is this great opportunity to be seen by lots of eyeballs if you play the app game right so I should mention the argument here.
Piggybacking instead of developing your own app
Personally, I’d rather piggyback on already existing applications. Take Wine Demon for instance. It’s a customer review database for all wines available in the UK. Anybody can leave a review and it should be like a tripadvisor for wine that also shows availability. That’s a great tool that can drive my UK sales if I get good reviews. Instead of developing my own application to do this (which will cost tons of time and money), I can just spend a tiny bit of time optimizing my presence on Wine Demon. Encourage people who like my wines to use the app and it will effectively bring my average scores up. I can make sure there are nice photos of my bottles on the site and all the information is correct and up to date. This takes little time and I’ll probably reap more from this small expenditure than if I launched my own application that does basically the same thing.
Same with tripadvisor strategy. Tripadvisor has become really important for hotels, lodging and tourism. Now how do I react to that? I don’t try to launch a competing website. I just try to optimize my presence on the already existing site. 🙂
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
After the recent france.fr fiasco, a lot of my winemaking peers have been teasing me for France’s total inability to get on with the 21st century. To summarize, France FINALLY got itself a national website (france.fr) and did a big launch party on Bastille Day. Maybe they should have picked a less volatile holiday that isn’t about shaking the foundations of well-structured hierarchies, because their servers immediately crashed.
While they initially claimed that the servers had just been overwhelmed by the huge numbers drawn in on the successful launch day, the site stayed down far longer than acceptable. And the message eventually changed to something like, “uh, sorry we’re experiencing technical difficulties and we have to like check a bunch of stuff…and stuff.” Their facebook page hasn’t been updated since July 14th when they assured us that the site would be back up in a couple of hours. And the site is still down as I write this post 2 weeks later.
So of course this feeds all my friends’ relentless teasing. Yes, France is SO behind on the Internet.
Well let me tell you, that French wine is NOT very far behind. We certainly started late. I remember that when Americans were switching from dialup to cable modems, France was just weening itself off the MiniTel and AOL had just launched in France. So it’s undeniable that France was very late to the game.
Also, I thought I’d do a directory of some of the people I met at VinoCamp Paris. This wine-tech unconference afforded me the opportunity to see a lot of people doing interesting things with wine online. And so here’s a chance to do some call outs while simultaneously proving that the French know how to use the Internet sometimes.
Starting with the sponsors, media partners and winemakers:
Regioneo – Delicious regional food merchants online, lots of gift baskets. Had a big array of riettes from different parts. Very yummy.
WineEverybody – Free wine 2.0 aggregator, incorporating twitters, hand-picked blogs, message boards, etc. into a unified and simple interface. I reviewed an earlier version of the beta a while back. I also made a query for Languedoc on WineEverybody my homepage so that my dad accidentally reads about the region on his way to espn.com and he really loves it. I think it’s a simple alternative to RSS feeds or an enormous influx of emails and it’s simple enough for my tech-illiterate dad to use it.
vinobest – Web merchant that uses team buying to get group discounts, snazzy video explaining that concept:
iDealwine – Site that links online wine sales and real-life wine auctions where you can buy, sell or estimate value of wines. I think they authenticate and stuff too. Lots of different services. An idealwine video that explains all the varied stuff they do.
Vins de Bordeaux – I was going to leave them off the list because I didn’t meet anybody from this group. I think they sponsored the event and sent wines, but they weren’t necessarily there in person. But I didn’t want people thinking that I have some axe to grind. So, in the spirit of wine regions not beating each other up, here they are on the list. (EDIT:) Benjamin Anseaume was there to talk up Bordeaux wines. He is their community manager. … I need to get sud de France to want one of these.
Vicky Wine – Vicky presented her remarkably robust gamay, a wine crafted at her family’s estate. But she’s not just a pretty blogger that pours her daddy’s wine. She is an epic event planner and the driving force in making get togethers like VinoCamp Paris a success.
Champagne Tarlant – While I had already met Benoit Tarlant on the wine circuit, it was a great pleasure to meet the other Tarlant, Melanie, as she poured a marvelous dry Champagne. Really up my alley. It made my dad jealous that he couldn’t be there to try it. Very strong web presence. Probably showcases the need for small Champagne producers to differentiate themselves. While Champagne is a huge share of the French wine business, almost all of that money goes to a few prestigious mass marketed houses. The rest of the indie producers have to work very hard to promote their personal brand despite the fact that the “Champagne brand” is so strong.
Champagne Dehu – Benoit Déhu (are all small Champagne dudes with online presences named Benoit?) poured a totally different style of Champagne with a light dosage and maybe a bit more approachable by the uninitiated. Lots of fun. This guy is still building his online presence and he’s going to events like this to study how exactly he should go about it. Not everybody should start a video blog and not everybody really has the mentality required to maintain a successful twitter profile. So Benoit Déhu is weighing his options and seeing how exactly to embark online.
O’Vineyards – This guy is a creep. ;D
La Cantine – While this isn’t strictly an example of French wine online, La Cantine is a business that clearly understands the importance of technology and they do a great job of bridging the gap between the eworld and the real world. It’s a joint workspace tucked away in a beautiful ruelle in the 9eme arrondissement de Paris. This has become a real hot spot for reunions, conferences, training camps, etc. And the place is full of high speed Internet, bean bag chairs, conference rooms, mixing boards, avi cables, and overhead projectors (it’s even got a bar). It’s like I designed the place. But I didn’t. Here is an interview of the man who I think is in charge of stuff over there. And there’s also some sort of relationship with Silicon Sentier.
European Wine Bloggers Conference – Coming up in Vienna, Austria this year on October 22nd-24th. Should be a blast. Totally different atmosphere than the American counterpart.
Bourgogne Live – Amazing duo who maintain a lively, fabulous blog focused on Bourgogne. I’d like to flatter myself by saying that what I do at Love That Languedoc, they do at Bourgogne Live. And there might be a short dissertation in the works about how the differences between our blogs sort of fit the character of our respective regions. Post pending.
I left one sponsor off the list and I don’t want them to be mad. But I honestly think that posting a link to their website would be sort of embarassing to them. But once the site is more complete, I will happily link to it. And I hope they don’t get upset with me.
The rest of the gang:
Grégoire Japiot – community manager and all around moving force. How awesome is it that his twitter handle is just like one of the most common names in France?
MySocialWinery – Pierrick is a savvy business kid who wants to help get more French winemakers online. He’s focusing on winemakers who are present in the US, where he has some work experience. He just visited O’Vineyards the other day and I can’t wait to see his various projects around France.
Emmanuel Delmas [link edited]- Sommelier and blogger are two titles that often carry a lot of pejorative baggage, but Emmanuel is downright awesome. A nice, charming guy who is approachable and easy to talk to despite the intimidating amount of wine knowledge he has.
Vineolia – Benoit and Marc’s new wine tasting notes site.
Monogramme Marketing – This guy was nice and I had no idea that he was heading up some projects in Beaune until I came back home and checked out the site.
Christophe Ducamp – I have no idea what xtof means. Might be an xkcd joke. ;D No but I think I recognize this guy. He spoke up in panels if I recall correctly.
MarcWines – I’m not sure what Marc does but we were in all the same sessions so I remember him! 😀 Based out of Geneva, he seems to be a swiss army knife of wine websites offering tours, wine clubs, retail(?), and anything else you might need.
Mandarine – Translates between French and Mandarin, specifically focused on wine marketing.
Augmented Reality blog – Olivier and Gregory were around to share insight about how augmented reality and other stuff can be applied to wine.
So this list shows that there are lots of interesting wine-related tech start ups. And stop telling me that France is allergic to the Internet. There is a generation of people bringing French wine online. And once there’s wine, the rest of France will follow.
Oh and maybe a small post script. Please don’t get upset, but this needs to be said. Vinogusto, vinblog, vindicateur, vineolia, vinternet, vinobest, vindiesel and vinanybodyelse: it is super hard to remember which of you is which. Actually, vinternet and vindicateur make a lot of sense to me thematically, and they’re both puns. So I remember them. But the rest of you and anybody out there thinking about starting a French wine site… consider that there are a lot of vinsuffixes out there already.
VinoCamp Paris:séance sur l’oenotourisme. Je reviendrai d’une manière un peu plus éditoriale avec mes opinions sur ce qui a été dit. Mais pour l’instant, je voulais au moins télécharger l’enregistrement inédit de la discussion qui a eu lieu à VinoCamp Paris sur l’oenotourisme et le tourisme à distance / la réalité augmentée.
Partie 1 de “Oenotourisme, l’Internet et la réalite augmentée”:
Partie 2 de “Oenotourisme, l’Internet et la réalite augmentée”:
Merci à tous les participants, et spécialement à ceux qui m’ont aidé à déplacer la camera pendant toute la séance.
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.