Posts Filed Under wine 2.0
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.
Not too long ago, I was contacted by a PR firm regarding one of their wineries, J Vineyards.
This is nothing to write about in and of itself. What is worth writing about is why they were reaching out to me.
As a wine blogger, they wanted me to know that J had launched their own blog, J News You Can Use. A winery that’s taking part in the wine 2.0 wine conversation? Now that I find worth writing about – not just because it adds a potentially compelling voice to the on-line mix; it also shows that I’m (thankfully!) being proven increasingly more incorrect about my dire assessment of the influence of wine blogging in the ‘real’ world!
To get a better feel of what J is all about, you of course need to sample their wine. So, I grabbed a bottle of their 2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. First, the numbers: 100% Pinot Noir, aged in French oak barrels (30% new) for 11 months, 14.5% abv.
My take: Ripe strawberries on the nose, cherry cola on the palate, and a touch of toasted breadcrumb on the finish. The finish also contains some alcohol – there’s just no escaping it with that much powerful booze in this wine. Still, there’s no denying the Russian River fruit – it just kicks all kinds of ass; the question will be if it can stand up to that alcohol with enough structure for any long-haul aging (at close to $30 / bottle, you should expect some aging potential in your Pinot).
To really understand a winery, you also need to know what the winemaker is up to…
You have to totally respect what George Bursick (J’s winemaker, pictured) is trying to do. Bursick has been experimenting with longer fermentation times, utilizing techniques like batonage (stirring the wine with its yeast and sediment to impart extra creaminess and a rounder mouthfeel), and resurrecting the use of rare Burgundian yeasts that haven’t seen the dark of fermentation since the 1930s.
But I’m not really writing to tell you about J’s wine (good as it is); I’m writing to tell you about J’s blog.
You might expect that I got the info. on Bursick from J’s blog. But I didn’t. I got it from their press materials. And, unlike J’s wines, in today’s social-networking-obsessed Internet world, that’s probably not good enough.
It’s great to see wineries like J embracing the on-line wine world. With social networking officially overtaking porn as the most popular website destinations, if you’re not into social networks then you’re not really on the web these days. Anyone who wants to connect with consumers and doesn’t have a socially-oriented on-line presence is officially behind the times (and the competition).
Having said that, J’s blog is useful if you already know about J’s wines, or to have a central place to catalog their news and accomplishments. J’s blog is a good first step, but it’s already behind the times when compared to some other wineries, such as Tablas Creek. Tablas Creek’s blog is winning awards because it’s being used to give us deep insights into how the wine is made, and the trials and tribulations of day to day life at the winery. Consumers want to know more than what awards a winery is winning – they want to feel more connected to the brand.
My advice to J, and any other winery that wants to take online promotion seriously: get connected, and do it quickly. Get a blog, and get personal in it. Get on twitter and follow some of the wine geek crowd. Sign up at OpenWineConsortium.org and converse with bloggers, distributors, and consumers.
If you don’t, the online wine world very well might pass you by. And sooner or later, that means the ‘real’ world consumers might pass you by as well…
Last week I played around with one of those kitschy on-line questionnaires, which, since it had to do with wine, I found not-so-kitschy anymore.
The questionnaire/quiz was titled “What Kind of Wine are You?“, hosted at BlogThings.com, and the on-line wine geek community seems to have really taken to it, based on all of the twitter chatter going on as we shared our results.
What I found most interesting was the number of people who cried foul at having wanted to “be” a nebbiolo, but being given instead an entirely different ‘spirit wine’ (usually Merlot). Maybe it’s just me, but I associate Merlot with Vieux Chateau Certan, Duckhorn, Cheval Blanc, and Petrus – which just doesn’t feel like disreputable company…
Seems the designers of the “What Kind of Wine are You?” quiz need to check their personality assumptions with the rest of us wine geeks and revise the quiz…?
Anyway, here are a few wine blogger / wine geek results that the group shared with me. If anything, it might serve as an interesting introduction to a handful of wine websites that you might not have checked out yet: