Whew, our dog’s are a barking! To travel to Alimentaria, a gourmet food and wine show in the heart of Barcelona, is true dedication on our part. Although Ryan warned me after attending last year’s event, I wasn’t prepared for the sheer effort. To merely stand at the front door of the Wine Pavilion, it takes us two hours, typically, arriving in a fit of sweat after standing shoulder to shoulder (or nose to armpit in my case) on trains, subways and buses. With hundreds, if not thousands of people arriving on the dot of 10am, eagerly awaiting the chance to make another contact, you are forced to test patience and dedication for an act of love. Fortunately for us, it was absolutely worth it, if only for the fact that Ryan got to see the Prince and Princess of Spain!
A quick comment on Alimentaria: It’s toooooooo DAMN big! Sorry for the profanity, but this show is growing exponentially every year, without either a map to guide you or stand numbers to orientate yourself. Basically, it’s become an exercise in blind faith as we wander aimlessly around the pavilions, hoping to accidentally run into the stand we’re desperately searching for. The wineries who paid for the best locations became defacto information desks as countless lost importers approached them as a last resort when searching for their next $10 Tempranillo. Note to anyone (not likely) listening from the Alimentaria organizational committee, “Please make a map and catalog for EACH category of exhibitor. One large guide covering every category and priced at 60 euros is worthless!” I expect in two years to see little in the way of change, but hey, we can dream can’t we?
However, whether it was a result of blind ignorance or complete bull-headedness, Alimentaria was the first time we actually felt as if we were making traction as professional bloggers (yes we are professional now). It was also the first fair that wineries acknowledged Catavino as members of the Spanish wine landscape; and in all truth, it felt pretty good. It was nice to know that a winemaker was familiar with our articles, that an exporter had used our site to gather information on what the export market is looking for, or that wineries were generally interested in seeing a husband and wife team working together in an effort to promote Spanish wines.
Additionally, we also found an increase in curiosity about the concept of blogging. Ryan attended his first Alimentaria seminar on blogging, while we co-hosted the first ever wine blogger’s dinner in the heart of Barcelona, which was all very exciting. Granted, the seminar was a bit weak, but it did reinforce the word “blog” in the minds of many. As a result, we also saw a an upswing in the number of wineries asking how they can start a blog for themselves. Now if only we can convince them that blogging is more than just a part of a website, but an actual activity!
Common comments include:
“So, tell me more about this blog thing I’ve been hearing about everywhere I turn?”
“Wait, so you’re actually saying that people will remember our wines because I share stories about my great great great grandfather working the land 300 years ago?”
“You want me to believe that Internet marketing can actually be cheaper than a traditional advertising campaign AND I could see better responses!”
More conversation, almost always led to a considerable amount of interest on the winery’s part, which was truly exciting to us. what this means is that there is a tangible desire to know what we do as “new wave journalists” and its effect on the international wine market. Our small voice is starting to have an impact on some level, and it really does mean, as Señor Vaynerchuck is wont to say, “We’re changing the wine world”.
So allow us to raise a glass of cava to you and yours, hoping that together, we can continue this momentum to create change.
Gabriella and Ryan