1WineDude.com friend, fellow blogger, and wine media maven Mike Wangbickler (a.k.a. Caveman Wines) recently gave a presentation on the topic of social media marketing at Napa Valley College. It’s a fantastic primer for folks in the wine biz who need an introduction into the concepts and approaches behind engaging wine consumers on-line, so I’m sharing it below.
Even if you’re not in the wine biz, it’s a good and quick read (and contains some startling numbers on the growing influence of peer networking when it comes to consumer purchases).
Great work, Mike!
A group of young, talented winemakers are on a mission to change the perception of wines from the Rheinhessen; a look at one of those winemakers reveals just how dramatic – and successful – that change might be…
The first thing one notices about Alexander Gysler… is that he’s tall.
Even for Germans this guy is tall. Even to a traveling writer of Mediterranean decent who is 5’5”, and to whom everyone seems tall, he’s tall. Alexander towers a good head height over everyone in our traveling party.
We’re in Weinheim, having arrived at noon after a wine-related guided city tour of Mainz. The previous evening, I’d been given an introduction to quality Rheinhessen wines over dinner in nearby Oppenheim, our hosts being a trio of winemakers that belong to the group Message in a Bottle – an organization of young winemakers who are trying to undo the sins of the Rheinhessen’s past, at least in terms of wine. Judging by their output – especially the bone-dry but somehow still very well-balanced Riesling Auslese from Pfannebecker, they’re starting to succeed.
Which brings us back to the big guy, Alex.
To hear Alexander’s story is to get a glimpse into the history of Rheinhessen wine. Despite his formidable size, Alexander is soft-spoken, almost quiet, but quick with a smile or short laugh. He’s also understated. Case in point: His 2008 Huxelrebe Beerenauslese was recently chosen as a showcase German wine on offer in Lufthansa’s first class service. And it might be the best Huxelrebe you’ve never tasted, with honeysuckle, lemon, and grapefruit aromas, balanced with vegetal and citrus notes and a honeyed finish that clocked in at 20+ seconds. When I asked Alexander how he managed to score the Lufthansa gig, his answer was short and almost as sweet as the wine itself: “We were very lucky. In Germany, it’s impossible to sell sweet wine.”
Which brings us back to the story of Rheinhessen wine…
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Back in April I wrote about my perception of the intended audience of wine blogs and wine writing, which at times seemed (to me) to be other writers and bloggers instead of wine consumers. In that article, I also postulated that some of that “inbred writing” was a good thing, because it meant that a good portion of wine bloggers were in fact wine consumers who were sharing their experiences on-line with other wine-blogging consumers, and that this would ultimately have a positive impact on the wine industry as a whole.
I also offered up one example of such an uber-consumer, The Wine Whore:
“Take someone like The Wine Whore, whose blog unabashedly exists solely on the premise that it will feature a wine review in exchange for receiving a sample (no guarantee it will be positive, thankfully). A lot of people (especially wine writers) will probably hate that idea. I love that idea.”
Reaction to The Wine Whore blog has been mixed, especially within the wine blogging community itself. Some view the premise as an affront to wine writing. Others think the idea is a well-needed smack-in-the-face to an industry that too often takes itself far too seriously. I sit squarely in the latter camp. Usually.
I caught up with Randy Watson, the man behind The Wine Whore, to see how the blog was getting along nearly six months into its young life. In summary: pretty well, despite its detractors. Randy’s twitter account numbers nearly 6,000 followers, and he has a sizeable friend base on facebook as well – and no, they’re not all wineries and PR folks…
Check out the interview with Randy below, and share your thoughts on whether or not The Wine Whore is a bane, or a thing of beauty…
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