Archive for wine
The Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) in Sonoma has come and gone. I’ve been toiling around with so many things to write about that I hardly know where to start. So I’m going to have to write a series of posts about different things.
First, there will be no “wrap-up” post. The concept of the WBC was to take our online conversations and meet face to face, as a community, to get a better understanding of the issues and each other. Then we need to talk more about the issues back online again. So I have always viewed the WBC as another element like our comments, tweets, forum posts, etc. We need to keep this conversation going and evolve the medium as a community. Its exciting when you think about it. Like I mentioned, technology has once again taken an industry status quo and turned it upside-down. The game has changed and we can influence how things pan out in the future. Already, as noted by Alice Feiring in her keynote speech at dinner on Saturday, there has never been a community of wine writers and now, if you felt the energy in the room at the conference, clearly there is. Guess what – thats new.
As a co-producer with so many new friends let me say a thanks and an apology.
First the apology:
While its necessary to get sponsors to pull something like this together on this scale and make sure we’re not just gathering in a park drinking from the water fountains, we tried very hard to make this a re-imagining of a wine conference. All bloggers welcome and the community is there to interact with each other first and foremost. We attempted to dedicate an entire morning to the Unconference – a free-flowing session with ad-hoc topics, no sponsors, no pitches, only bloggers. I personally communicated to everyone that we would have at least that much time to do something completely unscripted because thats what we as bloggers are about really – going off-script, something completely different. I took my time getting to the Unconference and when I arrived there was already a session about Wine2.0 and getting bloggers involved. So after all my talk of unscripted, unsponsored, hippy-blogger-love day, a brand ran a session anyway which changed the tenor of the Unconference. I didn’t take that lightly and I do apologize to the community for it. We hadn’t intended for there to be any corporate presence in that session and I should’ve paid a little closer attention to what was going on. I wanted to get that out because its been toiling in my head for days.
Now the thanks.
I’ve been getting alot of kudos, which I do appreciate and I do my best to say so even though I’m not the best at taking compliments, but really Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures turned out to be the perfect partner to pull this off. I know a few of us had been kicking around the idea of a conference for a while but knowing what it takes to pull off a conference, my hesitation was basically I knew what I didn’t know and that was very daunting. Allan approached me in April and after talking over what he thought he could do for a conference like this it was pretty clear he had alot of experience and skills in areas I didn’t and THAT is what makes teams, companies, ideas, etc. work! The success we had was not only fast (April to October – 6 months) but we were able to take care of what we needed efficiently as if we worked together for a long time when in reality we were going basically “site unseen”. So MANY thanks to Allan, the perfect partner to making this come to fruition.
Next post…the anatomy of a conference – the snafus you DIDN’T see even if you thought it went smoothly!
Related articles by Zemanta
Image via Wikipedia
OK, so there’s alot of hub-bub about that the Wine Spectator expose that happened by blogger Robin Goldstein. And first let me say a couple things. Bloggers are extraordinarily important to the world and this is just the latest example of some good citizen journalism. Bravo to Robin for the work on setting up this sting. Nice, ethical, and well executed.
As a marketing professional for a decade and a half I’ll say this though – what did you think the award was? Wine Spectator is a “for profit” private entity that has what, 100 employees? I’ve dealt with many many awards for the rediculous number of products and companies I’ve launched and I’ll tell you this, whenever there is a for-profit entity involved then you’re going to pay-to-play. And if you pay-to-play then you’re probably getting an award! There are several technology related firms that have pay for entry, then I win the award, then they call me back and pitch me Ad space, and then tell me to be involved in the award ceremony I have the great opportunity to present my product/company at a high profile industry show…for yet another fee.
update: On side note for the history books. In the late 1990s, what I call “Bubble Days” of tech, pay-to-play got ridiculous. There were analyst firms that would take EQUITY in a startup and then write a positive report. Subsequently, these firms would go public and thanks to the Tech Bubble some people got very rich for their “award” or “positive outlook”…nuts…
This Wine Spectator debacle is nothing new or unexpected. They’re leveraging their brand, which has the power today to make a $20 wine into a $100 wine overnight, to make more money. What is unexpected is the fact that they were complete IDIOTS about it and obviously do zero vetting not a very thorough job vetting applicants. Dumb dumb dumb. But I’m not surprised the award is the way it is. Not at all actually. Maybe thats part of the marketer’s secret code or something but thats how these things go. If this didn’t happen (the dumb non-vetting move being exposed), who wouldn’t pay $250 for this “Excellence” award, hence “profit” opportunity. Look, even now, if you have a real restaurant whats to stop you from fudging the wine list? The sting was a totally fake place, but what stops you from doing this again? Pay-to-play, thats how it works. Its a revenue generator for the company, thats all.
Now, I do want to point out something in stark contrast. The “American Wine Blogger Awards“. Whenever they come around everyone gets in Tom Wark’s grill about “who are you to judge me” and “what makes you think this award is valid at all”, and so on. I mean he gets HEAVY criticism. Well guess what – its decided on by people submitting nominations, then the finalists are chosen by a panel and voted on by the people again. Oh yeah, and it FREE. In fact, when I offered to sponsor the AWBAs Tom turned that down. So even though its not perfect I view it kind of like how I view the American Democracy – its not perfect and sometimes its not fair (just look at my tax bill every f’in year), but its about the best you’re gonna get!
Related articles by Zemanta
- Fake restaurant wins wine award
- Fake restaurant invented by author wins prestigious award
- Red Faces at the Wine Spectator
- Enjoy a Nice Glass of Merlot At This Non-Existant Award-Winning Restaurant
- Wine Spectator Gives “Award Of Excellence” To Fake Restaurant
Image via Wikipedia
I thought it’d be important as I setup that organization to outlast my tenure as Executive Director. I’m taking it step by step. Its established now, even attracting sponsors and producing the events (like the Wine Blogger Conference in Sonoma in the Fall). Behind the scenes I am preparing to announce the board of directors, a new strategic partner that will help attract potentially thousands of members, and eventually closing on getting official non-profit status (because there isn’t a membership fee I really need to get some revenue to pay for the non-profit paperwork preparation – a non-trivial task).
In the meantime, its pretty cool to have the Wikipedia page, in a geeky sorta way.
- Wikipedia scores $3m donation
- Wikipedia Seeks Fresh Revenue Trails to Blaze
- Wikipedia receives $500,000 from another VC [Failanthropy]
- Who’s really running Wikipedia? [The Sum Of All Human Knowledge]
- Wikipedia Gets $3 Million Sloane Foundation Grant
Image by hannesseibt via Flickr
This week was the Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) and last week was Inertia Beverage Group’s DTC Symposium. At both venues I gave a talk about social media (the term that has been hijacked by Web2.0) and why the wine industry needs to pay attention.
My bottom line points are simple. I’ve written about and preached on the “Wine Life Value Chain” where I talk about how the strength of a relationship basically has direct correlation to influencing a wine buyer. The closer you are, sociallogically, to the source of a wine recommendation the faster and more likely you are to buy it. So with that theorum guiding my thoughts we look at social media.
Social Media is basically conversations online, but the nice thing for wine (or bad) is that “word-of-mouth” becomes lightning quick and globally scalable. So get on board and incorporate it into your business.
The reason for this post is we basically had a case study in the power of social media yesterday with Twitter and the wine crew (or it seemed like the wine “hit men/women” on Twitter yesterday!). Here’s what happened.
The scene starts with Jill finding a wine writer in Florida at Tallahassee.com using the pseudonym of one of our fellow wine bloggers (DrDebs). Jill tweets “Hey, someone is hijacking DrDeb’s good name” and to boot she was reviewing TERRIBLE wines and giving them good ratings – Yellow Tail, et al. A bunch of people immediately flocked overthere to check it out and left some choice comments for . DrDebs
Next, one of Jill’s “followers”, Brittany aka WineQT, is from Florida and notices that the reviews from Fake DrDebs is eerily similar to a newsletter written by Nat Maclean. Sure enough, it was plagarized! We quickly see WineQT tweet out that “Fack DrDebs ripped it off!”. Subsequently, Jeff Stai of Twisted Oak Winery sees this, logs a complaint with the website “Tallahassee.com”. Within an hour the post is removed from the site for copyright violation!
Within an hour, a small post about wine that was plagarized was noticed by someone in LA, recognized as a fake post by someone in Oakland, and taken down by someone in Florida! THAT, my friends, is Social Media. That is word-of-mouth to the 100th degree. And that is what wine companies can tap into if they just take the time to learn how!