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3 Truths from the 10th Annual Open That Bottle Night 2009 (a Recap)

Vinted on March 2, 2009 binned in twitter taste live, wine 2.0
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

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Those (recently hungover) of you who took part in the 10th Annual Open That Bottle Night may still be wallowing in the glorious, albeit headache-riddled post-celebratory vibe of having enjoyed a special bottle of wine for no particular reason at all.

That’s right, baby – we opened it up, and drank it all… just because it was there!

Those of you who joined me and the dozens of others in the interactive, on-line tasting for OTBN at Twitter Taste Live might also have come away with a few other realizations about wine in the world of high-tech.

I certainly did. And I’m not talking about the fact that Craig and the Bin Ends Wine staff did such an excellent job rounding up great wines from the Wilson Daniels portfolio, as well as hosting the event (though those things are certainly true).

No, I’m talking about some truths that run deep into the world where fine wine and technology intersect – and they are truths that anyone involved in selling wine in this highly interconnected world had better sit up and notice, stat.

And here they are…

3 Truths Revealed from the 10th Annual Open That Bottle Night

  1. Wine is more social now than ever.
    It probably seems silly to point out that wine is a social beverage, since as a collective populace we’ve known that for a few thousand years.  But it is worth pointing out that the Internet is highlighting wine’s social gadfly status and taking it to new and ever-more-interesting heights.Open That Bottle Night probably saw its largest participation ever this past weekend, thanks to the advent of social network.  On-line social networks (including Twitter Taste Live and the Open Wine Consortium) were all over OTBN this year.  Let’s look at the twitter event – thousands of new twitter accounts are created every day, and the network handles millions of messages on a daily basis.  The OTBN Twitter Taste Live event trended to the #2 topic during it’s run this past weekend – which means that potentially millions of on-line eyeballs were watching a several dozen wine lovers chatted to each other in real-time about what they thought of the Wilson Daniel wine selections.  Which leads me to truth #2…
  2. The Internet itself IS social networking.2009-03-01_110402
    Millions of people may have been watching the OTBN TTL event, if even for only a few minutes.  That is a golden marketing opportunity in terms of exposure for Bin Ends Wine and Wilson Daniels.  While it’s still a bit small-time in comparison to television ad exposure, it’s far cheaper and far more effective, because a) more and more people are turning to alternative means (like the Internet) for product recommendations and b) those same people are more willing to trust a friendly recommendation than one given to them in a one-way message from traditional advertising.The days of one-way, traditional media advertising – including advertising for wine – is going the way of the dinosaur and Wayne Newton’s career. Leading us to truth #3…
  3. You don’t need a master plan to get started in getting social, but you’d better get social now.
    Twitter.com doesn’t really have a master plan for utilizing the Internet and on-line social network to make money.  Bin Ends Wine and Twitter Taste Live probably don’t have one, either.  But it doesn’t matter right now – they’re in the game, pushing the envelope to see what will and won’t work in the space.  Bottom line is that whoever is involved in making wine social on-line right now is going to reap the benefits, even if they’re not sure what those benefits are yet, and it doesn’t cost them much in terms investment (or overall risk) to do it.If you’re in the wine business and you’re not part of this trend, you need to get involved, and you need to do it NOW, even if you don’t quite “get it” – it will come to you eventually, so not understanding the clear benefits of using social networking needs to be the last thing you’re worrying about.

As for the wines we tasted for OTBN, here are my mini-review takes:

05 Marc Kreydenweiss Kritt Pinot Blanc “Les Charmes” (Alsace): Citrus & pear, w/ a honeyed finish that seems to last for an hour. Great buy.

06 Domaine Pierre Morey Aligoté (Burgundy): Someone just shot an acid laser into my mouth! Needs seafood cerviche (the rawer the better).

05 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Perrières (Costières de Nîmes): Brings the barnyard funk, in a good way, w/ dark cherry, leather, & bacon. Yum.

06 Tenuta di Biserno Insolgio del Cinghiale (Tuscany): Kickin’ blend with tobacco leaf, smoke, & dark jammy fruit. Prepare ye some Bison!

Hey, look at that, there’s an example of how this social on-line stuff spirals outward in ways that you don’t think about right away – those mini-reviews are even more exposure for the Wilson Daniels wines, at almost no cost to them… so those 900+ of my twitter followers who didn’t see the wine reviews this weekend in real time might catch them if they’re among the few hundred following my wine mini reviews, or they could be among those visiting the blog daily, or they’ll see them if they are part of the few hundred that subscribe to my blog via email

I think (I hope) that you get the point – start getting involved!

Cheers!

(images: twittertastelive.com, 1winedude.con, twitter.com)

Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2009-02-28

Vinted on February 28, 2009 binned in twitter, wine mini-reviews
  • NV Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee (CA): You could do a lot worse in a sparkler for <$10. Apple dominates. Refreshing, and very uncomplicated. #
  • 06 Waters Crest Cabernet Franc Reserve (North Folk, LI): Tangy blackberries on wet grass. With a side of green peppers. But a little too $$. #
  • 06 Washington Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (WA): Addition of Syrah gives this serious blueberry & blackberry jam action. Almost a steal at $10. #
  • 06 Big Sky Pinot Noir (WA): Named after Montana, made in WA, using Chilean grapes. And it tastes about as coherent as you’d expect from that #
  • 07 Arbor Crest Dionysus Vineyard Riesling (WA): CAUTION: Contents extremely acidic. Do NOT attempt contents of this bottle without food! #
  • 07 Pacific Rim Gewurztraminer (WA): Lighter body & more acidic making a food-friendly match for Asian fare. Passion fruit dominates (yum). #

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1WD, OWC & TTL @ OTBN (WTF?)

Vinted on February 26, 2009 binned in 1WD LIVE, twitter taste live

Seems I’ve finally succeeded in titling a post entirely with acronyms.  Time to celebrate with some choice wine!

It’s just as good an excuse as any – for me, anyway.

open-that-bottle-night-minilogoThis Saturday marks the 10th year of Open That Bottle Night, an annual event that exists entirely to provide justification for cracking open  a special bottle of ‘whatever you’ve been saving but haven’t had a good enough excuse to open yet’.

This is presuming of course that a) you have an unopened bottle of special something and b) you have not yet found a reason that you’ve deigned suitable enough to warrant the opening of said bottle of special something (i.e., events that I may find suitable for celebrating with wine – such as successfully getting out of bed that morning, or surviving a car ride home from work – don’t cut it for you).

Participation requirements consist only of you having said bottle, opening it, and enjoying it on the last Saturday in February, in whatever circumstances you deem most appropriate (if these circumstances involve adult diapers, or men in bunny suits, then I do not want to hear about them).

2009-02-25_183820For the 10th OTBN anniversary, the Twitter Taste Live (TTL) community is teaming up with the Open Wine Consortium network (OWC) and wine importer Wilson Daniels Ltd. to provide a shared forum in which we can all global-interweb-itize OTBN.  Of course, this also provides some of them a chance to sell a bit of wine, but at least it has the potential to be very good wine:

I’ll be there – virtually, of course – publishing tasting notes via twitter under what will undoubtedly become increasing stages of inebriation.

Hope to see you on-line this Saturday!

Cheers!

(images: openthatbottlenight.com, twittertastelive.com)

The 3 Things You Really Need for Better Wine Appreciation

Vinted on February 25, 2009 binned in learning wine, wine eBook, wine products, zen wine

Actually, I lied.

doubleazonecom-easySince you will also need a decent corkscrew and a wine glass, you actually need five things to better appreciate wine.  But no more than five, and those last two are just enablers (as we say in my office).

But first, a bit of preamble (as we also say in my office)…

When I tell people that one of my jobs is related to wine, they give me a strange look.  It’s the same look they give me whenever it comes up in conversation that one of my other jobs is as a musician (oddly, I receive very few disparaging comments on the fact that playing rock music and drinking comprise a contribution to my income).

It is not a look of admiration.

It’s more like the look I imagine that people would give the embalmed and glowing remains of an alien corpse if it was discovered on this planet and then put on display somewhere.  A look that says, “Hmmm… you are strange and perhaps you possess some strange powers that I do not understand…

But there is nothing strange, magical, or otherworldly about wine appreciation (or playing music – ok, playing music is strange but that has more to do with most club owners being weirdos).

Why wine appreciation has been put on a pedestal is beyond me.  I understand how it happened (a great write-up of which was the topic of a recent post by Alder Yarrow over at the excellent Vinography.com).  But I will never understand why it happened.

warehousecarlhcom-alien_autopsy_2It’s a myth that is perpetuated by many of the established wine magazines and some of their wine critic staff, because, like credit card companies finding suckers who are already in debt as potential new customers, or fake alien autopsy videos looking for true believers, it makes them money.

In fact, I can tell you from first-hand experience that wine appreciation is actually pretty easy. Look at me – I did it, and… well, you tell me: do you think I’m the smartest guy you know?

Didn’t think so.

If it helps, before you jump in and start buying vino by the case, just spend a day telling yourself that wine appreciation is NOT hard – in fact, it’s easy and natural.  I’ve done this before starting anything that I’d previously convinced myself was “too hard” to try.  Works like a charm (but maybe I’m just self-gullible?).

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.

The 3 Things You Really Need (To Do) for Better Wine Appreciation:

  1. Taste.  A lot.
    No secret or mystic initiation rites here.  Just start tasting. Buy a bottle and taste.  There is no prep. work required.  Just do it.

    Yes, it’s that simple.

    Look at it this way – how else would you try anything new?  If I served you a dinner dish that you’d never had before, would you need to do any prep. work before you tried it to see if you liked it (or didn’t like it)?  The idea is totally preposterous.  If buying wine frightens you, then buy online from any of the great retailers that advertise on this blog – they’ll help you find something decent in your price range. The important thing to note here is that you have nothing to fear by jumping right in and tasting.

  2. Note what you like – and what you don’t like.
    This is easy as well.  When you taste a wine, write it down.  Pay special attention to what you like in the taste of that wine (remember, we’re tasting here, not guzzling), and what you don’t like.

    This will help you to do two important things: a) learn what floats your boat about certain wines so you can enjoy more like those, and b) learn what you want to avoid in certain wines because you don’t like those tastes.  For example, I don’t like mushrooms.  In fact, I hate mushrooms.  It’s fungus, for gods’ sake.  Or cream.  Don’t lke cream either – turns my digestive system totally inside out (whoops… TMI…).  Cream of mushroom soup is right out.  How do I know I want to avoid those tastes?  Because I tried them, didn’t like them, and I’ve got a mental note about that which helps me to avoid unpleasant culinary situations in the future.  Easy.  Wine is no different.

    If it helps, follow a system (I’ve outlined a simple one in my eBook).

  3. wkuedu-brain_dumpCome with an open mind.
    Here’s a question for you: would you eat only one thing every day for the rest of your life, if you had any choice in the matter? Would you eat nothing but steak?  Or wear only red clothing, forever, until you died?

    Probably not.  But if you limit yourself to drinking only one kind of wine (say, for example, oak-ladden and buttery Chardonnays), you are basically doing the exact same thing. There is a dizzying array of wine varietals, regions, styles, brands, etc., to be had in today’s marketplace.  Don’t handcuff yourself by limiting the enjoyment and pleasure you could have – your motto here should be “try anything at least once.”

There you have it.

Wine Appreciation = Super Simple. No go out there and enjoy yourself!

Check out more 1WineDude.com articles on Learning Wine & Zen Wine Appreciation.

Cheers!

(images: doubleazone.com, warehouse.carlh.com, wku.edu)

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