Posts Filed Under best of

1WineDude TV Episode 3: My Bestest Buddies at Matthiasson (Sort of)

Vinted on July 27, 2009 binned in 1WineDude TV, best of, interviews

Joe visits Matthiasson in Napa, tastes some groovy wines, and makes some new bestest friends!  Sort of…

 

9

Postcard from Germany: Death and Rebirth in the Rheinhessen

Vinted on June 4, 2009 binned in best of, german wine

A group of young, talented winemakers are on a mission to change the perception of wines from the Rheinhessen; a look at one of those winemakers reveals just how dramatic – and successful – that change might be…

The first thing one notices about Alexander Gysler… is that he’s tall.

Even for Germans this guy is tall.  Even to a traveling writer of Mediterranean decent who is 5’5”, and to whom everyone seems tall, he’s tall.  Alexander towers a good head height over everyone in our traveling party.

We’re in Weinheim, having arrived at noon after a wine-related guided city tour of Mainz.  The previous evening, I’d been given an introduction to quality Rheinhessen wines over dinner in nearby Oppenheim, our hosts being a trio of winemakers that belong to the group Message in a Bottlean organization of young winemakers who are trying to undo the sins of the Rheinhessen’s past, at least in terms of wine.  Judging by their output – especially the bone-dry but somehow still very well-balanced Riesling Auslese from Pfannebecker, they’re starting to succeed.

Which brings us back to the big guy, Alex.

To hear Alexander’s story is to get a glimpse into the history of Rheinhessen wine.  Despite his formidable size, Alexander is soft-spoken, almost quiet, but quick with a smile or short laugh.  He’s also understated.  Case in point: His 2008 Huxelrebe Beerenauslese was recently chosen as a showcase German wine on offer in Lufthansa’s first class service.  And it might be the best Huxelrebe you’ve never tasted, with honeysuckle, lemon, and grapefruit aromas, balanced with vegetal and citrus notes and a honeyed finish that clocked in at 20+ seconds.  When I asked Alexander how he managed to score the Lufthansa gig, his answer was short and almost as sweet as the wine itself: “We were very lucky.  In Germany, it’s impossible to sell sweet wine.”

Which brings us back to the story of Rheinhessen wine…

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7

Postcard from Germany: A House Divided

Vinted on May 27, 2009 binned in best of, commentary, german wine, on the road

High-end Mosel wine producers are (slowly) battling for the identity – and the future – of German Riesling.

“We don’t aim to produce perfection,” Annegret Reh-Gartner told me over lunch at Schloss Marienlay, a beautiful estate on the Ruwer in Germany’s famed Mosel region.

Annegret is the driving force behind Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, a Mosel wine icon with roots dating back to 1349, and now one of only a handful of producers with vineyard holdings on the Mosel as well as its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer.  She is welcoming and open, the only things that hint at her family’s wealth (her father is probably one of the richest people in all of Germany, and their family holds several expensive vineyard areas in the region) are her keen sense of style and the impressive stone building housing our lunch table.

We aim to produce personalities.  You need soul.”

She states her views on Mosel wine matter-of-factly, with a surety that comes from clearly having considered the matter deeply.  Despite being affable, warm, and small, she cuts an imposing figure when talking about the state of Mosel Riesling, even when seated.  When she mentions the future of Mosel wine, her voice never raises but it does quicken.

“We can’t limit ourselves to super, well-balanced wines with residual sugar.  We have to catch mice with bacon.”  By mice, Annegret means the modern German wine consumer – Wine drinkers in Germany have rebelled against the explosion of cheap, bad, cloyingly sweet wines that plagued the reputation of German wines for decades.  But instead of seeking out good, well-balanced wines from quality estates, those consumers have nearly abandoned sweet wines from Germany altogether, and are voting with their wallets in favor of bone-dry Rieslings…
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Of Millennial Mistakes and Wine Blogging Blunders

Vinted on May 12, 2009 binned in best of, commentary

The latest issue of Wine Enthusiast has some advice for wineries and wine wine marketers on how to handle the next generation of wine consumers – and it’s probably wrong.

Well, it’s at least incomplete.

In the May 2009 issue of Wine Enthusiast, which I received as a sample from the recent TasteCamp East in Long Island, has an interesting article by Kathleen Buckley titled “The Millennial Effect.”  I’m not a Millennial myself, but I can appreciate the challenge that PR in general will have to overcome to engage that target market.  After all, they don’t respond to the mindless, unidirectional marketing tactics that have been the staple of the “traditional” marketing machine.

Apparently, according to the WE article, Millennials think about wine first and foremost as fun, don’t drink to get drunk, want a story and a compelling value proposition if they are to be a marketing target, and they love sparkling wine.

In my book, all of that simply means that the Millennials aren’t morons.

The advice from WE?

“Get into Social Networking.  Think Facebook… Flikr a label or Twitter a wine recommendation… If your phone does tricks, use them.”

In my book, that simply sounds like a recipe for disaster.

At least, it’s not a complete recipe for engaging Millennials about wine.

In fact, it doesn’t say anything about actually engaging wine consumers.  Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, even blogs… last time I checked, these are just tools.  If you want to engage Millennials – hell, any wine consumers for that matter – here’s some advice that you can take to the bank: actually engage us about your wine / clients / products / etc.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

In fact, if you’re in the wine world and you were serious about how to get your message across to the Millennial generation, you’d already know how to do it, because Millennials regularly give this advice away for free nearly every day. Don’t believe me?  Check out millennier.wordpress.com.

Sure, use the tools that everyone is using to engage each other, but don’t use the tools without having the desire to engage in a two-way conversation.  Otherwise, that marketing-savvy next generation of wine consumers will eat you for lunch on Twitter.

The WE article doesn’t mention much about wine blogs, but there’s plenty to talk about on that front now that Vintank, the wine and technology think-tank firm headed by Inertia Beverage founder Paul Mabray, has released their new report, titled The state of Wine Industry Social Media.

The latest Vintank report is one of the few available that has any meaningful statistics on the influence of wine blogging, and it shows that if you’re in wine PR and you’re ignoring wine blogs, you’re probably making a big blunder.

Some highlights of the Vintank report findings:

    • Every blogger that has an audience over 20 people has influence that is relevant.
    • Wine bloggers in aggregate may be more powerful than traditional online outlets.
    • According to data from Compete, the top 20 wine bloggers in aggregate have a larger audience than the Wine Spectator online.

That last one is my personal fave.

Vintank has confirmed what many have suspected for a long time, and it’s something that sponsors of events like the Wine Bloggers Conference and TasteCamp “get,” which is that wine bloggers may have small reaches individually, but collectively have a potentially enormous reach.  Ignore us at your marketing peril.

Cheers!

(images: babble.com, winemag.com, vinfolio.com)

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