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Going Pro | 1 Wine Dude - Page 19

Posts Filed Under going pro

The Stunning Views, Intestinal Flora And Strange Consultation Of South America’s Wine Lands

Vinted on April 6, 2011 under going pro, on the road

Contracting a vicious intestinal bug (the kind that requires antibiotics… the kind that makes taking Imodium akin to bringing a knife to a gun fight) isn’t usually taken as a positive omen when it comes to starting a new career. So it’s with mixed emotions of relief and ominous portent that tell you I faced exactly that in the early part of my recent (sponsored) sojourn to South America. I took it as a good sign, actually, since it “cleansed” my system just prior to hoping over the Andes from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina – where the beef is barbequed perfectly and there is plenty of it being offered to you. So the cleansing was more than just symbolic.

Despite the less-than-auspicious start, my trip yielded a ton of potential material for these virtual pages, some of which you will start seeing as soon as… tomorrow (where I will feature what I considered the best wine of the trip – why not get right to the good stuff, eh?…  did I just type “eh?”… what did I turn Canadian al of a sudden…?)!  I thought I’d offer one more “teaser” piece, which is a set of some of the more stunning scenes I was able to capture from those southern hemisphere wine lands, where the vineyard terrain is varied but more-often-than-not finds you smack dab up against an enormous mountain – there’s nothing else quite like it in all the world.  Words do little justice to the images, so – despite the fact that I am a far cry from being professional photographer – I’ll let the pictures do the talking after the jump.

In terms of offering this up in the Going Pro series: part of my “job” during the South American stint was to taste wines and offer what the organizers called “expert” feedback to the winemakers on the quality of the wines and their possible reception in the U.S. market (in my case, mostly concentrating on the East Coast market).  It was… well… it was simultaneously odd and surprisingly easy.

What I mean is, it was easy to talk about the wines – I love doing that (duh) and it comes naturally to me, especially now that I’ve got thousands of wines under my palate’s belt.  BUT…Having winemakers and PR folk hanging on some of my words was a very, very strange experience for me.  I hope it helped them – I can’t tell you if they thought it was entirely valuable input, but I can tell you that those meetings didn’t impact how I plan to cover the wines here on 1WD; as always, some of those producers will come out looking great and others… not-so-great (hey, when you invite me you gotta know what your in for).

More to come, of course – for now, enjoy the images and I invite you to share your impressions of Chilean and Argentine wine (and your peanut-gallery comments on my unprofessionl photos) before the deeper coverage starts!…

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The (Worst-Kept) Secret: How I’m Able To Try Going Pro In The Wine Biz

Vinted on March 30, 2011 under going pro

Here’s a snippet of a fictional conversation between me and a wine writer. I use the term “fictional” because it’s not a word-for-word retelling, but (somewhat shockingly) it’s more-or-less a conversation I’ve had with several people in the wine biz in the past few months.

Me: Hey, good to see you again! How are things?

Wine Writer: Goodgoodgood.  Aren’t you quitting your day job? And your wife is okay with that? Really??

Me: Yeah, sort of; I’m leaving my IT career late Spring. My wife is great; in fact, she’s kind of my loudest cheerleader for chasing my dreams and–

WW (cutting me off): How are you making money, exactly?

I’m actually getting sick of these “conversations” (is it really a conversation if the other person only asks you about things that concern them?) – in fact, I might pre-record answers to play back the next time I find myself in one of those; better yet, I’ll get one of those Mr. T talking key-chains and randomly hit the buttons in response to those questions.  That would rock; I imagine it would go something like this:

Wine Writer: Aren’t you quitting your day job? Is your wife okay with that?

Me (holding up Mr. T key-chain): Please pose that question to my spokesperson [ presses button on key-chain ].

Mr. T key-chain: QUIT YOUR JIBBA-JABBA, FOOL!

If someone is going to pry into my life’s intimate details, I prefer that they at least ask about me or my family first and pretend to care about me on some personal level (lesson one about the new world of social media: you should actually try to be social).  As most any 1WD reader can tell you, I don’t know exactly how I’m going to be making a living yet – that’s basically what this series of blog posts is chronicling, so everyone will know those details very shortly after I do – but the truth is that I already have the single most important thing needed for chasing dreams (like switching careers or traveling the world):

It’s called Time.

And to get time, I needed to have money. Already

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1WineDude TV Episode 30: Making Your Wine Writing Search-Friendly (SEO Panel And Presentation from WWS11)

Vinted on March 23, 2011 under 1WineDude TV, going pro

Speaking of Doug Cook (mentioned in yesterday’s post), I was lucky enough to be included on a panel with Doug and Alder Yarrow at the 2011 Pro Wine Writers Symposium discussing the importance of search and how to maximize the chances of having your wine writing noticed on-line.  Alder founded the first wine blog on the Internet and deals extensively with SEO in his day job, Doug was former director of search at twitter (maybe you’ve heard of them?) and I … well, I was the guy lucky enough to be sitting next to them, adding commentary about how this stuff applies in the real world of wine writing on-line.

We based our discussion on a fantastic slide deck that Doug produced for a similar series of talks that he’s been giving, whch you can find below after the jump, as well as some video from the panel discussion.  Anyone who is trying to get their wine writing found on-line needs to take this stuff seriously (within reason of course).  The vid is long, it doesn’t include the full session, and the sound quality isn’t awesome… BUT… I think you’ll get some good info. out of it so, screw it, I’m including it anyway (just bear in mind this panel wasn’t designed to be filmed, ok?). Also, YouTube can totally go suck donkey bong for how painful it was to (unsuccessfully) upload the vid, which explains why it’s hosted on my own server instead…

Anyway… some highlights for the impatient:

  • The best way to get your content noticed is to produce kick-ass content. This is uber-important and personally I break almost all of the rules in Doug’s presentation from time to time in pursuit of making content that hopefully humans (not search engines) actually want to read.
  • Everybody finds everything on the Internet via search, and usually they’re searching for something very specific.  Your website needs to be search-friendly and making it easy to find related content is important.
  • How and to what content you link is important to how search engines view your website – probably way more important than you think.
  • Thinking of trying to fool the search engines into giving your website prime search results real-estate? The Googles, Yahoos and Bings of the world have teams of MENSA-candidate eggheads whose jobs are to ensure that your tricks will fail. If that’s your strategy… good luck with that.
  • If you use a blogging platform, most of the nitty-gritty stuff is handled for you, and the stuff that isn’t done automatically can be handled by (usually free) plug-ins.  Don’t go too crazy with this stuff – like anything else, baby-stepping into the guts of how search engine optimization works is the best approach, and it should never supersede your real focus (producing the best content that you can so that people want to stick around when they do find you).

Enjoy!…

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1WineDude TV Episode 29: Certifiable (or “How–and Which–Wine Certifications Really Matter”)

Vinted on March 16, 2011 under 1WineDude TV, best of, going pro

Do wine certifications really matter?  And which ones give you the most bang for the buck?  Watch to find out (well, to find out my views on it, anyway).  The moral of the story: experience trumps all, but certs. are a great way to enhance experience, gain knowledge, and help build that all-important network.

Mentioned in this episode:

Cheers!

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