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Wine With Food. Or (Increasingly) Not. (Should We Be Surprised That Millennials Don’t Drink & Chow?)

Vinted on April 20, 2011 binned in commentary, going pro, wine appreciation, wine news

Do you drink wine without eating food?  At the same time, I mean.  Of course you eat food. And of course you don’t actually drink wine at exactly the same time that you eat food, as that is physiologically impossible… ah, forget it, you know what I mean!

Anyway… Chances are, increasingly, that your answer to that question is “well…duh!” At least, that’s the story from a recent Wine Opinions market-research survey, which was the subject of a New York Times piece by my compadre Eric Asimov.

I was quoted in Eric’s write-up, mostly on the topic of whether or not this trend away from wine and food meal pairing consumption should surprise anyone, especially with the advent of the Millennial wine-buyers coming of age into the market for fine wine (to save you some reading time, my answer was basically “No, we shouldn’t be surprised”).

For some reason I seem to have been anointed as someone with a direct line into the Millennial wine-buying hive-brain, which seems strange to me because, while I’m very, very humbled and grateful that so many in the Millennial set seem to enjoy this blog, the first thing that anyone who knows Millennials will tell you is that you should ask them (the Millennials, that is) about their buying habits directly, because they are probably more willing to speak about them than any previous generation.  So if you’re in the wine marketing biz and you’re not talking directly with Millennial wine buyers, then you are not Charlie-Sheen-winning, my friends…

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1WineDude TV Episode 32: Things The Wine Industry Needs To Hear (The Gary Vaynerchuk Interview And Keynote Highlights From #NomWineConf 2011)

In today’s episode, you get highlights from wine personality and social media / business guru Gary Vaynerchuk‘s keynote speech at the synthetic cork producer Nomacorc-sponsored "Marketing to the Next Generation of Wine Consumers" conference that took place in Napa last week (at the beautiful Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena). They are things the wine industry probably doesn’t want to hear – but they desperately need to hear them. 

I was part of panel at the event, in which we riffed on the main themes espoused by Gary in his fantastic keynote speech (which delivered some much-needed stern messages to the Napa wine industry – for a distillation of some of those messages, check out my article later this week on the Wines.com blog).  If anyone who attended still thinks that Gary isn’t the real deal after his keynote, then they have their heads shoved into a part of their anatomy that requires a belly-button-window installation for them to see what’s really going on.  Most importantly, Gary also finally admits that I am a handsome man (though I refrained from asking him to sign my chest as one male attendee did – thankfully I did NOT get that on video).

In today’s vid (at the 10:10 mark) I interview Gary about his new book, The Thank You Economy (a book that, well, crushes his previous release Crush It! and is Seth-Godin-level good – and will certainly further brighten his already-nearly-blindingly-brilliant star in the social media space). I also get his take on how different wine regions of the world are performing in terms of engaging their customers (hint: not well).

Enjoy (and make sure to get Gary’s new app at DailyGrape.com while you’re at it)!

 
 
By the way… Nomacorc makes a synthetic wine bottle closure that you can actually extract pretty easily with a corkscrew, so if I were a natural cork producer I’d be worried right now(although in that case I’d already be worried, having lost gobs of market share in the last few years because my product has something like a 2% failure rate… whatever…).
 
Cheers!

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

Vinted on April 6, 2011 binned in 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 binned in 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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