At Vinisud, I had the pleasure of introducing an alternative wine tasting for the Outsiders.
The Alternative Tasting
Basically, we just did a fun wine tasting where we encouraged people to describe our wines with images that Louise Hurren had picked out for our tasting booklet. Forcing people to think about a wine with images instead of words gets them to think outside the box instead of falling back on the oft repeated tasting note vocab like rich, balanced, and a laundry list of fruit.
Furthermore, it empowers novice drinkers to review wines without worrying that they’re using the wrong word. The experts can make us feel inadequate about language sometimes, but they pretty much have no dominion in the land of photo reviews.
Why was this tasting on the Pavillion 2.0 space?
This tasting was held at the Internet space of Vinisud and there’s a good reason for that! The reason for the prominence of the tasting note is largely grounded in the limitations of print media. Limited space means we talk in pure descriptors without any conjugation. But the Internet doesn’t pose the same challenge. We can have infinite words and infinite photos in full color. And heck we can even use moving pictures, music, and other media that were previously impossible to include in printed wine journalism. The Internet provides us with a path to escape the tyranny of the tasting note!
So I did a little presentation on this topic to get everybody thinking outside the box before we got to drinking outside the box:
All the slides are available on slideshare with relevant links to related articles in the penultimate slide.
I’d say everybody had a blast. Including a lot of wine journalists (showing once again that even they can be fed up with tasting note format). I originally wanted to do a tasting with music and video and all sorts of crazy stuff. Thankfully, our group’s organizer Louise had the good sense to rein it in and focus on photos.
We had less than an hour to run the event so it was good to keep it simple and focused. We got insanely good feedback about the event and it has already spawned several requests for similarly styled “alternative tastings”. We also got several good ideas from our tasters who offered up ways to evolve the program and make it even more interesting. Doing physical touchy feely tastings, doing musical tastings, tasting in darkness, drawings instead of photos, and so on.
In terms of tasting notes, I think we all received a wide range of notes. I got everything from Lego man to Dutch masters. I got several of the He/She picture that makes me wonder if I shouldn’t change my look. Some of the outsiders noted that certain age groups tended to pick certain pictures (the more daring ones) more frequently than other demographics. I’m sure we’ll compile more on this at our next meeting.
Everybody had fun tasting and I think this sort of event gets people to think and talk about wine in a new and stimulating way without feeling overly stuffy or pretentious. A success!
And this conference should be a lot of fun. Paris will be full of tech gurus for the ultra-famous “Le Web” conference, and it looks like Vin 2.0 managed to skim the best and brightest for their event. Illustrious and hilarious alike, conference attendees will hear from Gary Vaynerchuk, James de Roamy, Berthomeau, Rowan Gormley, and so on and so on.
The speaking panels and conference audience is limited to about 100 attendees will be aimed at wine professionals who already know a bit about the Internet. I think it costs like 600 Euros.
There will then be a big live wine tasting and also an episode of Wine Library TV. The “live studio audience” is invitation only, but Vinternet invites everybody to register for free at the eventbrite page and follow along online. There’s going to be some sort of interface where you’ll be able to interact with the people on the ground in Paris and it should be neat. I for one am exceptionally curious to see how this agency runs an online tasting. To register, scroll down to the bottom of the registration page. It’s free.
I will be on the panel discussing…“Développer ses ventes avec les réseaux sociaux – le e-commerce de proximité” or “Developing sales through social networks – Making e-commerce feel personal” and they’ve encouraged a special focus on … “les opportunités business du web 2.0 notamment avec l’oenotourisme, les nouveaux modes de commercialisation dans un contexte communautaire etc.” I’m putting together some of my slightly unconventional slides and I will share this with you all once its done.
Oh and Vinternet gets a +2 common sense bonus for scheduling the conference in a period when winemakers can comfortably attend. I’m definitely cutting back on the number of events we do around harvest/vinification next year.
I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at Paris Web 2010 in mid-October. We’ll be talking about my experiences with coming to the south of France as an outsider and how I simultaneously used the Internet to highlight that difference (separate myself intentionally from other winemakers) and also to integrate myself (truly becoming part of the winemaking community in the Languedoc).
On a related note, this presentation will also discuss the huge differences between how Parisians use the Internet and how country bumpkins like me use the Internet. This is related to a Palate Press article that will be published soon on how wineries have had trouble incorporating a lot of web 2.0 technology because of our rural settings.
So I set up Wine Everybody as my home page for a week. Wine Everybody is a feed aggregator and social media platform specifically oriented toward wine. It takes all the feeds from good wine blogs, tweets related to wine, message boards, etc. and puts them in one place. It is currently in beta.
The Short version:
responsive design team
flexible search parameters
winnows out affiliate marketers and spam
does everything you expect (e.g. link to facebook and twitter accounts, one click publishing)
doesn’t track what I’ve already read
I personally dislike some of the CSS (buttons pop up when you point your cursor at a block of text. it moves everything in the column downward and disorients me)
goofy name (I’m one to talk, right?)
Add a “follow this person on twitter” button
Add a “rss url” field so that I can add good feeds to other aggregators I use
Find out if I’m the only person who hates the popup buttons
The Long Version:
I wanted to give it an honest try to see if it would become a permanent part of my life or not. My impression is that it’s an overall worthwhile website that works remarkably well considering it’s only in beta.
Now, technically, I set up a specific search query as my homepage. Rather than loading the generic “Tons of articles about wine” page, I load specifically to a narrowed down search for the term “Languedoc” or “Roussillon”. This is more pertinent to my work so I said to myself it would be more useful. And it’s a better point of comparison to the tools I already use (like google alerts for the phrases “Languedoc vin” “Languedoc wine” “Roussillon vin” and “Roussillon wine”).
Immediately, I have to say it’s pretty cool that I don’t need FOUR separate search queries on Wine Everybody. They have a really simple interface that lets me search for articles with Languedoc or Roussillon and then the entire website only reads stuff about wine and vin, so I get all four of my usual feeds in one little bundle.
Also, it’s pretty admirable that most of the content from my google alerts also pops up in the Wine Everybody interface. I was worried that some news feeds like local Languedoc papers might not be included in their feed, but I generally saw the same stories published in both Wine Everybody and my google alerts. Wine Everybody runs a lot faster than Google Reader too.
The only real downside is that Wine Everybody doesn’t track which articles I’ve read quite as clearly as Reader does. . . but that might just be because I haven’t explored the site enough. Plus the site designers at Vinternet are pretty savvy, so there is still time for them to add features like this one.
While I haven’t fully explored it, I also enjoy Wine Everybody’s level of interaction with message boards. Internet forums often get overlooked by the feeds I currently have aggregated. I think a lot of the time new posts don’t have all the same keywords in them and that’s how they get ignored.
Anyway, I’m kind of rambling. But I wanted to write up a little review of my first experiences with Wine Everybody. I think the name is sort of goofy. But I like what the website does. Will it stay as my homepage? For now, yes. On one of my computers. Although I feel bad because this experiment is adding like ten minutes to my dad’s computer time each morning as he struggles to type G-O-O-G-L-E-.-C-O-M every time he opens a new window. Bless him.
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.