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We Now Interrupt This Wine Broadcast To Finally Answer The Big “Going Pro” Question…

Vinted on March 13, 2014 under about 1winedude blog, going pro

Picture this: It’s a gorgeous and sunny day in South Africa, and I’ve just finished giving the keynote address at the 2013 Nederburg Wine Auction. I’m drinking Cape bubbly and grazing for food, and mingling with interesting people from all over the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, I’m exchanging business cards with all of these folks – winemakers, media, buyers. Then the inevitable question comes (after the equally inevitable oohing and ahhing over my way-cool tiny moo.com business cards, I mean):

Them: “So… what do you do? In ‘real life,’ I mean?

Me: “You’re looking at it!”

I have to accept this as inevitable and totally understandable, since so few people can actually make any money whatsoever independently in the wine biz. How are you able to ditch your IT career? Is your wife insane for letting you do this kind of stuff?

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Do Wine Blogs Matter For Selling Wine? (The 1WineDude Conversion Rate)

Vinted on February 11, 2014 under about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine blogging, wine buying

One of the criticisms most often levied against wine blogs is that they don’t “move the needle” in terms of wine sales.

Let’s forget for a moment that where I come from, coverage that costs me next to nothing for a product that results in even a handful of additional sales (and additional exposure) – that I otherwise would never have seen – counts for something.

The crux of this criticism is that coverage of wines on the virtual pages of wine blogs does not result in materially meaningful and/or measurable differences in the purchase volumes of those wines. Presumably, this is in comparison to similar mentions in print media (however, it’s worth noting that I’ve yet to see any hard evidence in the form of real data to support print media coverage having a sales bump effect, but I have anecdotal evidence from some California winemakers showing that it does not, as well as some from small producers indicating that some wine blog mentions have in fact increased DTC sales… which I can relay to you privately some day if we ever meet and you buy me a beer…).

The counter argument is usually a combination of two things: 1) that it’s extremely difficult to measure the impact of any media coverage on wine sales, regardless of the type of media, and 2) it’s the aggregate of blog and social media mentions (outside of concentrated special events, promotions, and the like) that amount to an increase in mindshare and small, one-consumer-at-a-time sales that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise have happened. In other words, wine blogging and social media mentions result in a stream of sales that are aggregated from tiny, rivulet-like trickles in combination, and so wouldn’t generally amount to a perceivable spike but do, in combination, make a difference. [ For an example of these arguments, see the mini-debate generated on this topic generated in the comments section of one of my recent posts here ].

I can now supply some data in support of that counter argument, by way of one example: namely, 1WineDude.com.

While I will not supply exact numbers (only because don’t have permission from all of the parties involved to do so), I can give you approximations that I think lend some credence and strength to the counter argument, though I strongly suspect it will be ignored by the wine cognoscenti, who have in my experience demonstrated a severe allergic reaction (sulfites got nothin’ on this!) to facts, data, and evidence if those things do not already support their own already-entrenched beliefs…

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Anyone Else Notice That Bay Area Wine & Food Trendsetting Is Up For Grabs?

Vinted on February 4, 2014 under about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine publications

I was recently (ok, more like a month ago) Quick-Sipped (Supped?) by Jessica Yadegaran, in a profile/interview that ran online and in bay Area papers such as The San Jose Mercury News. It (very) briefly tells my wine backstory, and gave me an opportunity to implore people to drink more Vermentino (with fish tacos). So I didn’t squander the opportunity, Vermentines!

Interestingly, Mercury’s parent company, Media News Group, is expanding its food and wine scene coverage, at a time when most others are contracting theirs. MNG seems to be making a play for what will almost certainly be a media gap in the San Francisco region: trendsetting the wine and food scene, now that the #1 seed, the SF Chronicle, is planning to radially change its food and beverage coverage.

I’m not sure how else to take the comments from SF Chron managing editor Audrey Cooper, in her response to the NY Times breaking the news late last year on the SF Chron’s planned Wine/Food section shakeup:

“We are undergoing a newspaperwide section-by-section review with the idea that we need to reimagine sections to more intuitive cultural topics that are more aligned with how Northern Californians think and live.”

My translation: we’re not going to spend the money and effort to set regional dining and wine trends anymore, because it’s not working out; we’re going to react to the trends already being set by others, instead.

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What We Drank With My Wine Searcher Signature Dish (Monteverro And Kracher Recent Releases)

Vinted on January 30, 2014 under about 1winedude blog, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

A few weeks ago, Wine Searcher asked to interview me for their “Signature Dish” series, in which wine personality type folks share a favorite meal along with potential wine pairings.

Now, I’m not the cook at 1WD HQ, at least not much past heating up dino nuggets for the little Dudelette. That role falls to the lovely Mrs. Dudette, who I described in the W-S interview as “a talented amateur chef” (which is basically the same thing as saying that she’s a very, very good cook, but isn’t trained or employed as a chef, but sounds much cooler; among her 700 or so cookbooks, she has one in which the author is described as “a Paris-based food creative,” which I guess sounds better than “unemployed author writing about food while living in France”).

Around here, I just pair things up on the wine front. So we have the dual blessings of often eating and drinking very, very well, to the point where it’s getting difficult for us to eat out and find food that Mrs. Dudette can’t rival on her own in our kitchen (yes, this is a great First World style problem to have, alright?).

You can read the recipe for her roast chicken – which I call “The Poor Man’s Feast” because, aside from the baguette and the whole chicken, you can grow almost all of the rest of the ingredients yourself in your garden – over at Wine-Searcher.com. I should note that W-S, at one point, gave my old Playboy.com gig a run for its money in the number of near-naked bodies they had on display next to or near photos of my ugly mug (see inset pic).

With a precocious and ludicrously active five year old around the house, we rarely have time for the slow-roasted version of that Poor Man’s Feast recipe, so I usually break out one of three options for that meal: a rich Chardonnay that also has acidic verve (though sometimes these don’t come cheap!); a cool-climate Syrah (such as…); or, most commonly, Cru Beaujolais (I really, really need more Cru Beauj. in my life, generally).

But with Snow-mageddon Janus bearing down on us when we (meaning, she) next cooked up our PMF, I decided to go big, just to see if the dish could hold up to something a bit more… powerful from the sample pool…

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