Posts Filed Under wine 2.0
We’re all short on cash in these times of recess -er, I mean, economic challenge. So the Dude has compiled a list of his 10 favorite wine resources on the web. All of them FREE. Each one will cost you exactly $0.00 to use. Bumpkis. Nada. Goose-eggs.
You can thank me later, by clicking the “Make a Donation” button on the Left and sending me some cash. Oh… uhm… wait a second… never mind…
Anyway, chances are that even if you’re an experienced wine geek, you probably are not using some of these gems. I’ve found them to be extremely useful, or helpful in a pinch, and in some cases downright indispensable. Hopefully you’ll find them valuable as well (look at it this way – you’re almost guaranteed to at least get what you paid for `em!)…
- Wine Vocabulary: At a loss for words trying to find the right term to describe that wine you’re tasting? Not anymore. With this handy aroma/tasting card from Vinography, you’ll minimize the guessing and maximize the terminology in your tasting notes. And you are keeping tasting notes, right?
- Wine Terminology: Don’t understand a term on the back of that bottle? Not anymore. WineLoversPage.com contains a ridiculous amount of information, and their Wine Lexicon is especially handy, easy to navigate dictionary-style, and contains click-able pronunciations for those of us who have a hard time with French (i.e., everyone but the French).
- Wine Labels: Confounded by tricky wine labels on those Old World wines? Not anymore. Another gem on the WineLoversPage.com website can sort that one out for you – a Wine Label Decoder, which can help you unlock the “secret code” and interpret just what the hell those German, French, and Italian wine labels are trying to tell you.
- Wine & Cooking: Wondering why yeast is the primary contributor of flavor to wine? No? Crap you’re messing up my shtick for this article…! Anyway, maybe you will start to wonder about it after you check out GlobalGourmet.com’s awesome Wine & Cooking reference.
- Wine Vintages: Doesn’t it piss you off when you’re at the wine shop, and you’re trying to determine if that low sale price has anything to do with a nasty vintage? Not anymore. You can get a handy vintage chart to-go by pointing your mobile browser to Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Mobile Vintage Chart.
- Wine & Health: Wondering if putting back those wines is putting years on your life ahead of your time? Wonder no more – the Professional Friends of Wine have compiled a wealth of wine health information in their Wine Health 101 Section.
- Wine Nutrition: Wondering about the nutritional content of that wine you’re drinking? No? Well, these are health-conscious times, my friend, so you’d better get on the ball! CalorieKing.com can help you out with their nutritional-label-style details on popular wine types.
- Italian Wine: Confused by Italian Wines? You guessed it – not anymore. ItalianMade.com has an expansive and informative section on Italian wines, complete with regional maps, varietal information, and wine & food pairings.
- Grape Varieties: Getting tired of feeling like a dunce because you don’t know the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio? Alright, alright, it’s a trick question; but any budding wine geek who has even a passing interest in wine grapes should bookmark this great grape reference from CellarNotes.net.
- Best Bang for the No-Buck: Love ’em or hate ’em, the folks at Wine Spectator do know their stuff, and they have put together one of the handiest one-stop-shop areas on the Internet for wine knowledge. In the case of their Wine Spectator School Library, that shop charges $0.00 USD, and comes complete with a glossary, regional wine maps, tasting materials, wine tasting advice. It’s a fantastic place to start for the budding wine geek.
(images: freefoto.com, ox.ac.uk, thelanguagemenu.com)
(images: epicurious.blogs.com, i.ivillage.com, chungkiddo.blogspot.com)
In a recent post on her blog, the venerable Dr. Debs wrote about a recent survey commissioned by Constellation Wine Brands (a big, big conglomerate that own dozens of wineries, including Mondavi). The study concluded that more and more wine consumers are overly confused when it comes to what wine they should buy – enough so that Constellation cited increasing consumption by “Overwhelmed” wine consumers as their (Constellation’s, that is!) biggest opportunity.
This finding isn’t surprising. There are over 7,000 wine brands available to consumers in the U.S. That’s a sh*t-load of wine choices, and even the most over-educated wine geeks among us can get overwhelmed (especially if we’re trying to understand German wine labels). In fact, it’s one of the main reasons that I got “seriously” into wine in the first place – I sat the WSET Intermediate Certificate exam so I’d be better able to buy wine at my local store!
Dr. Debs (quite rightly) points out that there’s already an easily-accessible vehicle to help the Overwhelmed wine consumers out there:
So is there a way to help the Overwhelmed, send them armed and ready into Wine Warehouse to face the Sauvignon Blanc aisle, and point them in the direction of wine enthusiasm rather than wine frustration? Yes. It’s called the Internet…
It’s likely that companies like Constellation have uber-smart Marketing-types, but it’s unlikely that those Marketing-types are going to help clear up anything for us Overwhelmed wine consumers unless it has the added benefit of further lining their pockets with more of the shiny gold stuff. Sure, you can use points to help make buying decisions, but who the heck talks in points about, well, anything (other than cholesterol numbers, I mean)?
(Imagine this conversation: “Hey – did you see Rothlisberger pass all over the Bengals last night? He totally deserves a 111.4 QB passer rating.” “No way, man – he’s not a tenth of a point over 99.7. Puh-leeeeeze!” Not gonna happen. Plus, people can’t speak in hyperlinks – though that would be cool….).
While it’s true that the Internet is an amazing resource for Overwhelmed wine consumers, it can itself be a bit, well, daunting. I don’t know about you, but I liken whittling through the vast array of info. on the Internet to find anything useful to trying to reach into a narrow rats’ nest to pick up a nugget of gold.
And sometimes the rats’ next is full of hungry, nasty rodents. With razor-sharp teeth. And surly dispositions.
It doesn’t help that by taking one or two days off from your on-line life, it feels more like an eternity when you return only to find that you’ve missed 375 twitter updates, 900 blog posts, 250 news stories, 30 “friend requests” and god-knows-how-many e-mail messages. And I’m an IT geek – I can only imagine how the “Internet? Is that the one with the e-mail?” crowd feels.
How can you make sense of it all? My advice is to follow the same Zen-centric approach to handling wine info. on the Internet as you would handle any stream of information overload. Here are three tips that have served me (and my sanity) well in my on-line wine life…
1) Minimize & de-clutter your blog Inbox.
Humans are just not set up to suck in multiple streams of information and retain it all. We’re more built for trying to quickly decide whether or not something is gonna eat us and deciding when we should run like hell, etc. There are oodles of articles on-line that offer great advice on how to approach absorbing information (see this great post at Lifehack.org for an example). But the first trick is to limit the information coming at you.
To do this, you need to get a bit ruthless about the wine blogs and the wine websites that you follow. This won’t be easy – there are quite a bit of good ones out there. You need to find the ones that work best for you, and follow those. This doesn’t mean that you can’t read a great post on a blog that you don’t normally follow – it just means that you need to set a cap on the amount of websites that you do follow on a regular basis, and be very selective about the ones that make the cut to get a piece of your increasingly-precious time.
This of course can help you for any topics that you follow on-line (not just wine). For other tips on time and information management, I recommend getting the ZenHabits.net eBook.
2) Bring the Mountain to Mohammad.
Once you’ve got a firm cap on the number of wine blogs and websites that you follow, then you can stop following them!
What I mean is, get yourself a good RSS reader, and make those updates come to you. I’m a total Netvibes convert. IT geekiness aside, Netvibes allows you to customize and gadgetize the hell out of your on-line life. I’m not sure if I could get by without it at this point (click on the inset pic for a screenshot example of my Netvibes home page). I log in, and can quickly check for interesting blog posts in my day job / music / wine “lives” – minimizing the time I have to spend looking for that information, because it comes to me.
If your tastes are a bit more Spartan, at the other end of the spectrum is the pared-down-to-basics Google Reader. Just be careful, as it’s also easy to go overboard with these RSS tools (for an example of this itself can get overwhelming, check out friendfeed.com). Stick to the program!
3) Trust yourself.
This piece of advice is the most wine-specific. Nothing that anyone writes on-line should influence your own personal preferences and tastes. Your experience trumps all. Trust it, and trust yourself.
If anything, we in the wine blogging community should be educating you, entertaining you, and (most importantly) opening your mind to wine possibilities that you may not have otherwise known about. We should not be trying to convince you that what you like isn’t “correct” or “proper.”
(Warning: Shameless plug): For more about learning how to determine what you do (and don’t) like in the wine that you drink, check out my eBook.
Cheers (and happy surfing)!
The Main Domaine
For some time now, I’ve been digging the blog stylings of 1WineDude.com friend Jill over at domaine547.com. The domain457 on-line wine store has recently gone green, which is a move always viewed favorably by the Dude. Not that my opinion on green livin’ matters in the grand scheme of things. But it’s worth some props!
One of the especially cool things about an on-line wine retailer that also participates actively in wine blogging, is that they can leverage the knowledge of the “wine blogosphere collective hive mind” to construct a killer wine selection. Not sure if anyone is also considering leveraging the knowledge of the “wine blogosphere collective hive mind” to attempt an evil plan at world domination, but if I hear about that, I will definitely blog it (but it will probably still only get, like, at most 3 diggs…).
Anyway, constructing a killer wine selection is exactly what domaine547 has done. Case in point: they’ve got a special category in their product line up called Wine Blogger Sampler Packs. These packs are made up of wines recommended by the wine blogging community, including selections from the likes of BrooklynGuy Loves Wine. Some very intriguing stuff is in them there packs; wish I could order some and have them delivered to PA… but… alas…
domaine547 is kindly offering a 5% discount to 1WineDude.com readers – so check out their store and take advantage of the savings! (Use coupon code “dude” during checkout).
Wine 2.0 in Yo Face
Oh, got another tidbit for ya: this week has seen the launch of a wine-peeps facebook-style online community called the OpenWine Consortium. I signed up as user #20-something. Their now up to 200+ members in only a few days – explosive growth.
It’s a great mish-mash of wine consultants, wine industry folks, wineries, wine bloggers, and wine lovers. New groups / discussions are popping up like mad, such as this one for WSET students (wish I’d had access to that kind of brain power when I took my WSET exams!). Check it out – join up and get yerself a little bit of Wine 2.0!
Whenever I’m asked about Wine 2.0, the conversation usually goes something like this:
“Hey Dude – what exactly is Wine 2.0 anyways? Is that, like, some future technology where wine will get instantly zapped into my glass, like on Star Trek? ‘Cause that would, like, seriously rule.”
Uh… not quite. I’ve found this a confusing topic as well, and I’m even a tech-savvy nerd-type. After all, it’s a bit of an amorphous term, but even the casual wine geek will have noticed the term cropping up on the web. It must be important if everyone’s talkin’ about it, right? Some wine blogs even have their own sections devoted to it.
So what is this Wine 2.0 stuff all about?…
Wine 2.0 is basically just the concepts of Web 2.0 applied to the world of wine. And it’s starting to turn that world on its head (er, cork)!
“Power To The People – Right On!”
Wine 2.0 might best be described as “Power to the People.”
Web 2.0 is about the migration of publishing and social network out of the hands of a (relatively) few controlled powers and into the hands of ordinary folks. Think about what blogs, social networking websites (like MySpace), and instant communication /chat tools (like Twitter) have done in recent years: they’ve opened up the world of publishing to literally millions upon millions of people, all sharing ideas, offering opinions, and influencing each other’s decisions.
What we are now seeing in the wine world is that wine reviews, and wine topics in general, are no longer just the territory of a few elite publishers of books, magazines and websites. They are also now part of a huge global community of hundreds of people, interacting in a very big online wine conversation.
Another way to look at it is that any talentless dimwit with a PC, an Internet connection, and an under-developed wine palate can set up an opinionated blog, MySpace page, twitter account, on-line affiliate store, merchandising page, and write & sell media like books online in practically no time at all.
Uh… wait a minute… on second thought, ignore that last paragraph!!!
Anyway, the Wine 2.0 phenomenon is starting to impact winemakers, who are realizing the power shift that is taking place (and are starting to send wines to bloggers for reviews, for example). You can contribute to this influential conversation – by blogging, “twittering,” and generally just visiting and commenting on wine websites that you enjoy. That’s the good news.
The bad news? Wine 2.0 is confusing as hell and the online marketplace is as fragmented as a busted wine bottle. Every marketer and their sister wants in on Wine 2.0 and its huge potential customer base; and because social networking translates into big money, you will find that nearly every Wine 2.0 website has some requirement for you to create an account so that you can share wine reviews with friends.
Kind of like MySpace or Facebook, only drunker.
The trouble is that everyone wants to be the Facebook of Wine 2.0, so all of these websites have their own community. And they don’t talk to the other communities. For example: You wanna buy wine online? There’s Snooth, WineQ (my personal fave, since it operates a bit like Netflix), and WineZap. Wanna share some wine reviews? Well, you’ll need to pick from about a dozen websites, including CellarTracker, Cork’d, Wineography, Vino, GrapeFoot, Wine Commune, OpenBottles, BottleTalk, Vinorati, Adegga… are you going insane yet?
Perhaps someday, someone will smarten up and just create a Facebook widget application that interfaces to one of the better wine sales websites and – voilà – you’ve got your social networking and your wine sales without having to exhaust the poor wine consumer with dozens of different online Wine 2.0 communities.
OK, I gotta go call one of the big wigs at WineQ and offer them my idea for $10K…
In the spirit of all things Wine 2.0-ish, I’ve opened up a second Twitter feed that will feature my “mini” wine reviews (the reviews are mini – the wines are normal size). Stop by and Twitter me up!