01 Jul 2010
The 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference is in the books. I’ve enjoyed reading all the posts and looking at everyone’s pictures. Thank you so much for posting them. Below is my video recap of the event. I’ll be doing one final post sharing my thoughts on the opportunities for making the event better. Please see my previous posts on:
A Tweet Recap of Posts About 2010
Disclaimer – I didn’t edit any of these tweets
yakyakwine #WBC10 and a Half, a Blog from Walla Walla : http://www.yakyakwine.com/2010/07/wbc10-and-half-even-more-part.html
ConsciousWine #wbc10 #wine conference highlights blog post: http://consciouswine.com/blog.php/consciousfriends/what-i-learned-in-walla-walla/
WineingWoman New blog post: What Can I say about WBC? http://www.thewineingwoman.com/2010/06/what-can-i-say-about-wbc/
- On Sean Boyd of Rôtie Cellars: http://reignofterroir.com/2010/06/24/sean-boyd-of-rotie-cellars-walla-walla/
- And a Walla Walla AVA primer. An interview with David Stephenson of Stephenson Cellars:
Rick Bakas A video greeting from WBC10
TravelingGrape WBC10 Day 1 – Yakima Valley – http://thetravelinggrape.com/blog/2010/06/24/wbc10-day-1-yakima-valley/
RESOURCE: Panel replay of How to Convert your Readers from other Bloggers to Consumers with @seattlewinegal, @palatepress and @andreawine? http://bit.ly/b2u2Ff #wbc10
This YouTube channel also includes the Keynote speech from Steve Heimoff and others
TravelingGrape WBC10 Day 1 – Yakima Valley – http://thetravelinggrape.com/blog/2010/06/24/wbc10-day-1-yakima-valley/
melanie0 Latest Dallas Wine Chick Post: What I Learned at #WBC10 http://www.dallaswinechick.com/top-things-learned-at-wbc10/
Mamandesfilles WBC’10 Meet The Sponsors http://vinoverve.com/2010/07/07/wbc10-meet-the-sponsors/
paulgwine - It’s easy to criticize? http://www.paulgregutt.com/2010/07/easy-to-criticize.html
WineTonite The foundation of Washington wine. http://www.winetonite.com/2010/07/01/the-foundation-of-washington-wine/
MattWineHeimer A visit to K-Vintners http://www.wineheimer.net/2010/07/visit-to-k-vintners.html
Olsen Estates share pictures from the conference
Food Truck Times Taco trucks and wine – the review
29 Jun 2010
Over the weekend I caught a glimpse of the future; something that could truly revolutionize action TV sports. It could be bigger than fishing or hunting TV. It will be more exciting than TV poker tournaments. I’m a little hesitant in sharing for fear that the idea could actually be picked up by a national show.
Speed Wine Blogging!
- 8 wine bloggers / 8 wines / 4 minutes with each wine
- Bloggers listen to the marketing PR blurb then quickly swirl, smell, sip, spit and score the wines.
- Prior to the cowbell ringing the blogger must document their tasting notes with either a tweet or a mini-post consisting of no more than 300 characters (140 character reviews are given an extra 2 points)
- At the end of each round the posts and scores are evaluated and compared to the baseline “Parker Score” to determine those that continue to the next round.
- One blogger is eliminated each round.
- The last blogger remaining wins.
The scene is intense. The room reeks with anticipation…and hints of brett, funk and cherries. The assembled bloggers are cleansing their palates, stretching their tongues and limbering up their nostrils for the event.
Here we are today assembled around the greatest talent in wine writing and reviewing hoping to determine the world champion of Speed Wine Tasting (Red Edition). Our contestants hail from across the US in the hopes to win the coveted @bparkerchuk trophy of a giant nose sniffing a bung hole. “Much love and success to each of you. 100 points *” inscribed on the base.
Our contestants are the formidable Joe Roberts (1WineDude.com), Steve Heimoff (SteveHeimoff.com), Fredric Koeppel (BiggerThanYourHead.net), C. Jason Mancebo (20dollarwineblog.com), Kori Voorhees(WinePeeps.com), Pamela (Enobytes.com), Gary Vaynerchuk (TV.winelibrary.com), and newcomer Steve Paulo (StevePaulo.com).
Round one begins with a fast pace as the winemaker rushes from contestant to contestant pouring and explaining the wine. The camera cuts across each of the blogger/writers serious faces as they begin to examine the wine with vigorous swirls. Thoughts of berries, cherries, cassis, leather, plums, prunes and pencil led come to mind. The camera cuts to Gary V. who spits gloriously in his trademark Jets spittoon. Newcomer Steve Paulo looks perplexed by the mouth feel of the wine and newly crowned blog king Joe Roberts has already submitted his perfectly crafted 140 character tweet and score. The horn sounds signaling the end of round one. What’s this! Gary Vaynerchuk has grabbed the mic and begins talking about the wine’s availability on Cinderella.com and how he met the winemaker back when he sold him a baseball card in the Jersey mall. The side judges quickly regain control and deliberate the outcome of the first round. In a huge surprise, Gary is cited with a black Vinum and ejected from the competition. Gary offers a string of expletives and then reminds folks of the “Thank You Economy” coming out later this year.
The crowd quickly regains composure as round two sounds with the clicking of the 85oz Riedel glass. Everyone gasps at the odd blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, and Cinsault. This may prove to be a difficult round. In a bold move with only one sip and spit, both Fredric Koeppel and Steve Heimoff confidently submit their post. Let’s watch that again in slow motion…will their haste prove to be a good strategy or will one of them be eliminated? The bell rings and Pamela from Enobytes is having trouble submitting her post. Twitter API is frozen! The judges huddle and extend the time by 30 seconds. Everyone has their entries in and the judges quickly review the submissions to determine the winner. The scoring is close with Heimoff pegging the wine almost to a tee. Missing the flavor profile and the score by just one point, Pamela is eliminated. Damn that fail whale.
The energy in the room continues to rise as the rounds progress.
Kori Voorhees is eliminated after round three. Strangely enough the wine was a Woodinville winery from her backyard. Dejected Kori and Colby rush from the packed auditorium trying to escape the media interview. As Randy and Kaz from WineBizRadio.com try to stop them, Colby takes the camera and smashed it to the ground.
Round four ends with the elimination of Steve Heimoff. He is disqualified for going over the 300 character limit as his post includes a rant against the Republican leadership in California and a dissertation on how no money will ever be made in wine blogging. He’s escorted out of the room by security.
With only four contestants remaining the fifth round begins. The purple tooth stains and barrage of tannin and acid are beginning to take their toll on the contestant’s palates. A strange purple stain had developed on Mancebo’s chin…and oddly enough on his bald head…Joe Roberts has a commanding lead with each review coming in at exactly 140 characters. The contestants battle through the round when out of the corner of his eye, Joe catches a glimpse of Geddy Lee from Rush in the stands. Immediately he faints from excitement and is disqualified. After calming the crowd and reviving Joe, the play continues.
Three contestants remain; Mancebo, Koeppel, and newcomer Steve Paulo. Mancebo’s eyes seem a little bloodshot and he’s struggling to find the keys on his iPad. A bead of sweat drips from his chin into the glass. The wine is the Molly Dooker Velvet Glove. As he stares into his glass his face turns flush and he quickly rises. “No wine should be 16.8%ABV this is a travesty against wi….” In mid-sentence he falls forward onto the table sending purple spit juice everywhere. For several minutes the scene is chaos. The head referee calls for a 30 minute break so the contestants and compose themselves and clean the spit out of their hair. In a post interview, Mancebo says, “I guess the lesson here is to spit. I let the excitement of the day get to me. I’m a professional, I should know better than that. I’ll be back next year.”
The lights dim and the music comes up as the final round begins with perennial award winner Fredric Koeppel and the new kid Steve Paulo surviving to the finish. Intense stares of determination are fired across the table. The wine poured is a 1949 Chateau Ausone. The stage is set and the audience is eerily quiet for the first time all evening. The sound of swishing and spitting can be heard across the room. Both writers deliberate, sketch a few notes and deliberate some more. A commotion arises from the back of the room. Bursting into the room is Joe Powers from AnotherWineBlog.com. “This is a scam, this is a set up! Who are the judges? How the hell did these people get picked to be in the finals! I demand to know!” He overturns the table crushing Koeppel. Paulo attempts to restrain him, but Joe (more crafty than he looks) eludes his grip and rushes off. Screaming toward the exit, “I bet Tom Wark is behind this madness,” Lenn Thompson from NewYorkCorkReport.com dives from the mezzanine level and tackles Joe. Lenn quickly restrains him and stuffs his head in the only remaining spit bucket.
What a night. What a sport. Dazed, the officials and referees head to the replay booth to review the tape. After several minutes of deliberation, they return to declare Steve Paulo the winner by default as he is the last man standing. This new sport is sure to take hold across the country as wine bloggers turn in to rock stars and thousands clamor to the scene.
28 Jun 2010
No doubt hundreds of posts will be written about WBC10. Some will be critical of the timing and lack of Washington industry leader involvement but most stories will be glowing praises of the coordinators efforts (well done). There will be various opinions on the quality of the wine that was tasted but everyone will agree on the amazing hospitality of the city and wineries of Walla Walla (thank you). Posts will debate the effectiveness of the panel presentations but none will decry the power of networking and meeting people face to face. In the midst of all the drinking, tweeting, talking, learning, napping, eating and…did I say drinking…what are you going to DO as a result of the conference? What action are you going to take? This new media is hitting a tipping point. I, for one, want to be a part of the wave that pushes wine blogging to be wine media, wine professional, wine writer, and wine influencer.
Regardless of if anyone reads them, I want to chronicle my experiences from WBC10 (Wine Bloggers Conference) so that I have a record of events, opinions and actions steps to make this blog better. Like a vine I want to prune the shoots, thin the canopy, and provide the proper nutrients to produce the best yield of fruit. What about you? What actions are you inspired to take? Let’s go there together. Let’s succeed as a team! Let’s leverage each other’s strengths to be better together. If you want to share, please leave your thoughts in the comments!
5 Actions Items from WBC10
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization: I know it’s important but it’s an area that I need further help with. If you know of good tools, classes, sites, please share.
- Improve the quality of my video: Starting with video 100 I’ll be moving to HD, investing in better editing software, paying attention to audio quality and planning shots / scripts in a more thoughtful way.
- Improve the quality of my writing: I like to write. I feel I write good engaging pieces. I understand my voice, but I don’t pay enough attention to the mechanics of the writing. I need to start waiting to post and reading out loud. Just because this post is done now, I’m not going to post it until later.
- Reorganize content: I’ve written 200 pieces that include sexual wine 101 courses, social media tips, wine business opinions and wine reviews. Now that I have established a more clear direction I need to better organize the content so it makes sense to the reader and is easy to find.
- Improve wine reviews: Some say wine reviews are dry and boring and don’t get read. Many disagree with the practice of scoring wines. I disagree. Scores help educate consumers and make better informed decisions. It’s my blog, so I’ll do what I want. I’m going to modify my scoring format a hair and create a more reproducible graphic / summary that more succinctly wraps up the review.
I would love your thoughts. Let’s work toward our goals together. Share and we’ll help each other see them through for WBC11 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
COMING TOMORROW: 10 Things Overheard in Walla Walla
23 Jun 2010
In honor of the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference Awards, I’ve come up with my own award categories. I’m a reader. If I retweet your post, I’ve definitely read it and chances are I’ve commented on it. In 2010 I’ve probably read and commented on 1000 different posts. While some people rail against the wine blog awards with half-wit comedic efforts and others offer more negativity to an already negative world with sarcastic squirrels (if you don’t know, don’t ask), I think more attention should be given to the people who passionately pursue the power of the pen and struggle with the subtleties of the sour grape. Some teach, some entertain, some evangelize, but all of them are deserving of recognition – even if it’s just in the form of a pat on the back from the 17 ½ people who read this blog.
Most Humorous Wine Blog Featuring a Squid – SuburbanWino
Joe combines witty prose, creative story-telling and creative pairings to create an entertaining collection of food, wine and life! Joe has recently attempted a squid and wine pairing that is not to be missed. While Joe’s life is now turned upside-down with the addition of his daughter Olivia, I’m one reader who will keep my feed reader attention toward his new posts.
Best Wine Blog Showcasing Supermodels with Wine – SuppleWine
Mike Supple’s site has it all. Wine reviews, trivia, cartoons, creative videos, articles and even the occasional super model with a bottle of wine (courtesy of his Wine in the Wild series). One recent video Mike did, blew me away with creativity and production. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
Most Creative Integration of Pinot Noir, Sex, and Racks – SipWithMe
What can I say about Tamara Belgard. Wow, this girl knows how to write. While her love affair with Pinot Noir may turn NC-17 from time to time, Tamara can stiffen any limp day with a few whimsical strokes of her pen. Her writing is educational and entertaining and when she’s not conquering her goal to sip at every Oregon tasting room, she provides creative glimpses into a Jewish girls look at communion or fun wordless wine Wednesdays.
Wine Blogger Most Likely to Vote Himself Most Handsome Wine Blog – Clivity from OR_Wine_Blog
Don’t get me wrong, I like girls. I’ve been married to three of them. But Clive Pursehouse is a handsome dude…and he knows how to party! For some reason, Clive likes to refer to himself as the “handsome blogger.” Don’t believe me, read through a few of his posts at www.theoregonwineblog.com. All kidding aside, Clive is a great writer who brings a good balance of humor, wit and knowledge to each post! Since Clive’s not coming to WBC10, I’ll be accepting this award in his place.
Most Likely to Start a Wine Revolution – Millennier
Leah Hennessy is passionate, smart, and she a member of the millennial generation who drinks wine! Leah is showing the wine world the buying power of the millennial generation and providing insight on how to capture this emerging demographic. If you’re a winery who wants to be relevant still in 10 years, connect with Leah’s site.
Wine Blog Who Deserves More Recognition – VineGeek
There are some wine bloggers who are amazing, creative and downright fantastic writers that just don’t get the recognition they deserve. From his #mourvedremonday series to his intelligently crafted reviews and the always present “free association” image, Jim Wilkerson is a wine blogger you should be reading. His posts are fun without being verbose and they provide all the information you need to understand the wine, its origins and how it may or may not be suitable for you. Over the months I’ve come to identify with Jim’s palate and am confident that I can trust his assessment of a wine.
Just Wait, This Guy Will Be a Rock Star – FrankLovesWine
Mark my words, Frank Gutierrez is going to make his mark in the wine world. Check back one year from now and see where this guy is. Frank has an awesome eye for using video and photography for telling a story. Each of his clips is engaging and explores the heart of the subject in under five minutes. Recently he’s been doing work for industry giants, Mer Soleil, Belle Glos Meiomi, Caymus, and Conundrum.
Best Blog I’ve Only Recently Discovered – NorCalWingMan
Brian Wing is a blogger to watch. I’ve recently discovered Brian’s blog through his tweets (he’s an observation in doing it right by the way). Brian’s coming into his own as he refines his style and incorporates insightful reviews with food recipes, beer and even a little personal life. Brian’s style is refreshing and reminds me of the reason why I started my own blog…passion for wine. You have to check out his weekly food post, “Not Bad for a Thursday Night.”
My Favorite Washington Wine Blog – WAWineReport
I try not to bitch and moan too much. I’m a believer that being nice is always the best option. With no disrespect for any of the people nominated for “Best Single Focused Wine Blog,” I have to say that the absence of Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report is a gross error. Sean is one of the most respected wine writers in the state. His in-depth winery reports and reviews are not only top quality, they could easily be used by the wineries as PR pieces showcasing their history, wine making, and vineyard practices. Sean leaves no stone (or grape) unturned. WAWineReport.com is a labor of love for Sean and is a valuable resource for wine lovers. Take a look at one of his Weekly Washington Wine Round-Up posts to see how much he puts into each. Sean, you my friend, are a true champion of Washington wine.
Well, there you have it. While this may not be on par with being recognized by the Wine Bloggers Conference, these are truly people who are deserving of something…at the least, a glass of wine!
22 Jun 2010
Wine blogging has come a long way! In the last five years the underground media has become influential, creative, and controversial. The internet is the great equalizer in media. Blogs allow anyone and everyone with an opinion to chronicle their journey regardless of quality or accuracy. The beauty is that people have more access to more knowledge and information than ever before (and I’m not just talking about wine). As more and more wine bloggers enter the fray time will be the great equalizer as the public votes with their clicks to separate those of quality.
Any average Joe can blog. Their goals and ambitions vary from the occasional rant, wine journaling, promoting their local community to the ambitious trying to monetize their passion. With between 500-1000 documented wine blogs, we’ve been compared to barking poodles yammering for attention and even credited with exposing the underbelly of wine politics.
The Wine Bloggers Conference provides a medium for the more serious to hone their craft, network with others, and learn from the best. June 25-27, 300+ wine writers and media descend on the small community of Walla Walla, Washington where they’ll learn about the region, the Washington Wine industry, wine and food pairings and more. Wine bloggers will have the opportunity to learn from their peers and professionals with breakout sessions ranging from “Wine Blogging 101” to “What is the Future of Wine Writing.”
I sit down (via Skype) with two above average Joes who will be part of panel discussions.
Joe (The Suburban Wino) Herrig joins Ben Simons (Vinotology) and Andrew Lazorchak (Vineyard Vlog) for “Top Gun Wine Blogging” – The session is Sunday at 9:50AM. Description: Top Gun Blogging: A panel about you, the leader of your digital community, taking it further. A discourse on making your personal identity resonate, and how to establish a brand as a culmination of your behavior, thoughts and actions. A field blend panel attempts to tackle the many ways to intensify and add poignancy to your blog and your digital presence. Conversion, growth, and click-thru is a function of content + perspective + vision. What are you doing now, what can you be doing, and what should you be aiming for to pioneer your community through words and digital manifestations based on the real world around you?
Joe Roberts (1WineDude) is one of the most successful wine bloggers on the net. A nominee for “Best Overall Wine Blog,” Joe is consistently ranked in the top 10 of wine bloggers in traffic and engagement. Joe joins Jeff Lefevere (Good Grape) and RJ Hilgers (RJ’s Wine Blog) for the panel on Friday at 3:40PM. Description: “Advanced Bloggers will discuss high-level topics such as dealing with burnout, measuring your visitor statistics, interviewing subjects, and more.”