For a while now (not sure how long exactly… after a certain amount of wine those sort of details get fuzzy…), I’ve been part of an on-line community called Foodbuzz.
I’m what they call a featured publisher, and to be honest I’m not sure exactly what that means, except that I was kindly invited into the community at the ground level to help them seed the wine-related side of their foodie content (as well as Philly-area food content) in preparation for their official launch.
Full disclosure: I’m also an affiliate with Foodbuzz, which means that once every blue moon I get a $4 PayPal payment from clickthrus, but I hope you will believe me when I say that this isn’t exactly buying them coverage with this post – I just wanted to mention them because their site looks like a very cool spot for foodies to hang out and connect. At times I’ve found the website a bit sluggish, and the tabs and menus can be difficult to navigate (for me, anyway), but otherwise it’s top-notch.
Foodbuzz has been on my ever-growing list of social networking sites that I need to spend more time on, sadly a list that has been expanding exponentially since the birth of my baby daughter.
But… if I was going to jump into a foodie network ASAP, then Foodbuzz would be the place.
Not only do they now have 1000+ bloggers from nearly 50 countries providing interesting (not to mention mouthwatering) foodie content, they are also one of the nicest group of affiliates that I’ve ever been involved with, on-line or off.
The reason I’m mentioning this is that Foodbuzz has officially launched its online publisher community – you can check out the details here – which means that you can join up.
I’ve just this week finally met up with the local Foodbuzz featured publisher crew for dinner and drinks – always a tasty proposition in the Philly corner of the world – at Fork in Old City Philadelphia, which has a very interesting wine list, by the way, and great eats. Following is a list of the other Philly-area Foodbuzz Featured Publishers that attended – click away and check out their way cool foodie blogs:
These are all talented writers and passionate foodie peeps – so go check them and Foodbuzz out (and pay Foodbuzz more attention than I have lately!). If you join up at Foodbuzz, feel free to friend me up while you’re there.
(image: flickr.com – snddsn)
Web 2.0 – the two-fer, el internet dos, the big web deuce.
You understand it totally, right?
Me neither! Good – that means we can embark on this here post together without any pretense… you know, we don’t have to pretend like we work at the Apple Store Genius bar.
Anyway, my interpretation of Web 2.0 can be summed up in one phrase: the architecture of participation. 200% clear, right?
Yeah, I still don’t get it, either. Put another way, Web 2.0 is the moniker given to the fact that the Internet is no longer a place where people consume information. Instead, those people now expect to help create that information, to be connected in new and interesting (and instant!) ways, and to have their voices heard – by each other, and by the companies whose products they consume. According to Wikipedia, Web 2.o websites “may have an ‘Architecture of participation’ that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it.”
OK, now that makes more sense.
So what does this have to do with wine? Man, I’ve been asking myself that question for the past 5 or 6 days, ever since I got back from the Wine 2.0 expo held last week in New York City.
Just like Web 2.0, the term Wine 2.0 has taken on several meanings. Dude’s interpretation (and this could way, way wrong) is that Wine 2.0 is supposed to describe how the web is putting more power into the hands of wine consumers; i.e., it’s the nexus of wine, Internet technology, and the wine lovers.
After attending the Wine 2.0 expo, I’m not sure that the Wine 2.0 movement is quite ready for prime time. It’s on the right track, but it’s more like Wine 1.7 rc 3 – you know, the interim bug-fixes release that is a teaser for the the really cool functionality you’re expecting in the next version. Allow me to explain…
I’m not saying that the Wine 2.0 event wasn’t a blast (it was), or that the organizers, vendors, and attendees weren’t great peeps (they were), or that the venue wasn’t cool (it was; despite the fact that they couldn’t provide us with extension cords… at a technology event… oh, the irony…).
What I am saying is that for an event that showcases the nexus of wine consumers, wine vendors, and the tech that brings them together, there were a lot of wine consumers, tasting a lot of wine vendor products. There just wasn’t a lot of tech bringing them both together.
Like, for example, extension cords (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Of course, I do realize (and was repeatedly reminded during the evening) that wine producers are fundamentally farmers, and theirs is not usually the realm of Internet-based tech. BUT… I expected a more substantial showing anyway (call me a dreamer…).
Having said that, things in Wine 2.0 land are far from dire. There was some interesting tech going on at Wine 2.0 NYC – there just wasn’t as much of it as I thought there would – or should – be.
Now, I’m about to tell you about two interesting pieces of wine-related tech that were on full display at Wine 2.0 NYC. I happen to be associated in some way/shape/form with both of them. BUT… before you write my next few paragraphs off as naive, starry-eyed manipulated commentary, both of these items happened to be mentioned by C|net – who, I sincerely hope, knows a bit more about what’s interesting in the world of tech than I do. Don’t take my word for it – check out the C|net video coverage for yourself. So I couodl be biased, or I could just be way ahead of my time (yes, I do feel vindicated actually, thank-you-very-much):
- Twitter Taste Live -Now this is what I call connecting wine and people via tech! I was invited to participate in the live wine tasting (hosted by BinEndsWine.com) at the event, which was an easy sell for me since a) I was already going(on my own dime) & b) if I hadn’t gone to Wine 2.0, I’d still have participated in the TTL (as I’ve done every time since its inception). Why? It’s f–king fun, that’s why. Where else can you get people all over the globe tasting the same wines at the same time, sharing their reactions and chatting with the wine producers live? (the answer is nowhere, by the way). As odd as “virtual” wine tasting sounds, it absolutely rocks the house – and the 140 character limit of twitter helps to prevent any one person from dominating the conversation. This, to me, is exactly what Web 2.0 is all about – not only do they have a good thing going, they’re trying to continually up the ante and take it further (which puts some pressure on me, since I’ll be co-hosting TTL at some point in the next few months… uh-oh… better get woodshedding…).
- Snooth.com – The team at Snooth has been trying to push the boundaries of what an can be done via an on-line wine retailer, and at Wine 2.0 NYC they unveiled a nifty interface that shows the appproximate location (city / country) of wine searches happening globally on Snooth.com, in real time. The coolness factor of this is totally off the chart, though the immediate application of this tech wasn’t readily apparent (at least, not to me). But… it’s something to build on, and smarter folks than me will no doubt soon find a way to leverage this coolness… I’m just not sure how…
So there you have it. Not all great, but not all bad. The future will no doubt be interesting, primarily because the people that are making it interesting have no idea yet what they will do with the interesting stuff. Sounds like true innovation to me.
I just hope that wherever they are going, they bring along enough extension cords.
(images: ebaumsworld.com, cnet.com, winetwo.net)
What’s it like to “taste” wine live, online?
The concept sounds totally geeky, but it turns out that it kicks all kinds of ass.
For a few months running (since its inaugural run), I’ve been taking part in the Twitter Tasting Live event hosted by BinEndsWine.com. In summary:
- You buy a sample pack from BinEndsWine.com, they ship said wine to you
- You sign up at twittertastelive.com
- On the 3rd Thursday of that month, you log into twitter.com and taste live along with participating wine bloggers & wine lovers from all over the world, and the BinEndsWine.com staff, usually joined by a winemaker associated with that month’s sample pack of wines.
The kick-ass portion of this is not just live access to the winemaker (you can easily imagine the amount of cool info. you can get out of them by asking them questions live about the wine you are drinking at that moment).
The real kick-ass portion is that it takes the social connection that wine gives us when we drink it together, and extends it instantly across cultural and geographical boundaries.
For a wine geek like me, it’s a blast to see the jokes, comments, tasting notes, and questions coming from different personalities (some on different continents) tasting the same wine that I am having at the exact same time. We don’t always agree, but the wine does help us connect – amicably. Couple that with what I’m doing locally (hosting a wine tasting dinner party centering around the same wines), and I’m in 7th wine heaven.
Now, here’s what’s up for the next Live twitter tasting happening on Sept. 18…
I will be joining the BinEndsWine.com staff LIVE at Wine 2.0 in NYC at 7PM ET.
I’ll be at the BEW booth, drinking their wine, blogging about the event via twitter, stealing BEW’s water, and maybe making them bring me wine crackers! Or something like that. BEW will also have staff from CA wine producer Michel-Schlumberger on tap LIVE, to answer questions about his wines (which are this month’s focus for the tasting).
The event is being co-hosted by Wannabe Wino; you can also check out BinEndsWine.com for more details.
After the dust settles on the twitter live tasting events, I usually also provide more focused reviews of some of the wines from the event on my twitter wine “mini” reviews feed (please note this is NOT the twitter feed I use during the live tastings!). Below are a my “mini” reviews for a few of the wines included in the last twitter live tasting of Hugel’s Alsace wines:
|| 06 Hugel Gentil (Alsace): A kitchen sink blend of Alsatian grapes. Citrus, flowers & stone; good, but it’s got a bit of an identity crisis.
|| 06 Hugel Gewurztraminer (Alsace): Lychee & limes, a hint of orange rind, and just really well put-together. Pair it with Indian take-out.
|| 04 Hugel Riesling Jubilee “Grand Cru” (Alsace): Peeps like me love petrol & vinyl with our rose water & citrus. Buy this if you’re like us!
|| 01 Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive (Alsace): Viscous, loads of citrus, lychee, & autumn leaves. Holy Hannah it’s good! But not cheap.
Hope to “see” you on-line and LIVE at the next tasting – friend me up beforehand and let me know if you’re joining in.