I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

Portugal Overcomes Pride to Acknowledge an Unexpected Wine Leader

Last year, I wrote an article on how Spanish and Portuguese wineries could succeed online. I mentioned words such as passion, culture, adaptability and history, which are all powerful reasons why Iberian wineries have a chance to succeed in Social media, but I’m afraid it’s not enough. I left out a key word that holds most of us back from succeeding, fear. Fear that if they try something and fail, everyone will laugh or pity them. Pride is extremely important in Iberia, often times dictating someone’s decisions and actions. From having your plumber blame the mold in your bathroom on your “poor cleaning”, as opposed to his poor grouting efforts, to the winery that won’t sell you their wine because you’re not important enough to carry it in your shop. But like nature, there are often powerful antidotes nearby when we’re presented with the world’s most dangerous poisons. In this case, the poison for Iberia is pride, and its antidote is the press.

People pay attention once your name appears in a publication, either appropriately or simply as a fluke. Make the front page of El Mundo for a comment about the latest weather trend and your phone won’t stop ringing off the hook. Cure cancer but forget to put out a press release, and you’ll be ignored. I’m cognizant that this isn’t just an Iberian affliction, but it can be very frustrating to anyone living here wanting to believe that their resume matters. In the case I’m about to describe, the pride was in the form of a long historied institution not wanting to acknowledge an upstart “youngster” who tried something new. Pride blinded them from seeing the ingenuity and innovation of his project, until this past weekend.

On Saturday, a close friend and business associate, Andre Ribeirinho, was named Wine Personality of the year by Diário de Noticias in Portugal. The award was given based on Andre’s work with his partners, Emidio Santos and Andre Cid, on the website Adegga.com, as well as his creation of the AVIN. If you’re not familiar with either of these projects, please take a moment to look at their respective sites. I’ll wait here…

What do you think? We at Catavino have been supporting Adegga for many years, with over 1,000 wine notes entered among our various writers. The exciting part is that Adegga is about to go big by offering tools for major wine events. Imagine going to a wine show and having all the wines immediately accessible on your iphone or laptop. Adegga can do that. It also has a community of wine lovers sharing information, tasting notes, and asking questions. The most appealing aspect is that it’s a place to talk about wine, not necessarily dissect it. Put another way, Addega is a “wine drinkers” community, versus a “wine spitters”.

Now onto the revolutionary tool, the AVIN. Originally designed as a means for Adegga to manage its data so that wines with similar names were not confused or mislabled, it has now evolved into so much more. The AVIN is a unique 13 digit number, which acts like an ISBN for wine. As it grows, it has the potential to eliminate so many of the wine world’s problems, from misspellings to multiple label confusion among one producer’s wines to preventing fraud. It’s also becoming independent of Adegga by moving its database to an external location. In time, a board of advisors will be chosen to ensure an open and secure project – Gabriella and I have been the first to be nominated. We’ll also work to have regions beyond DOC Tejo in Portugal adopt the AVIN as a part of their lableing laws, in addition to wine producers who will have now have a consistent method of identifying their wines. This is the future of wine information!

Portugal knew about Andre before this award, but it wasn’t until a newspaper and Anibal Coutinho rightfully awarded Andre with Wine Personality of the Year that Andre’s phone started ringing. Andre, and the whole Adegga team, deserve this, and I raise a glass to toast this exciting achievement. However, I also want to raise a glass to Portugal for creating an environment where someone like Andre can rise up and create something that is potentially a game changing idea. Portugal you have a very bright future, just don’t wait until the press tells you so.

Finally, I want to say that this act of letting pride stop something great from happening is definitely not unique to Iberia. The AVIN a project, which is now open and collaborative, is still looked upon by some as an impossible dream. I consistently hear that it won’t work, as opposed to “how can we make it work”. The AVIN works. It’s extensible, and if we can all put aside our pride, it’s a tool that can change the wine world. No more data errors. No more missed vintages. No more confusion about strange spellings. If you don’t believe it, send us your questions and we’ll answer them. And to those of you who still doubt it’s success, I say BS! As Gary Vee would say, “you’re not going to crush it if you don’t believe”.  Wine data standards today are a joke. This needs to change. Here’s a solution. And it has offered it up as a gift for all to share and profit from.

Congrats again to Adegga, Portugal and the wine world,

Ryan Opaz

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Andrea

    Great post Ryan, well said! And congratulations to André and the Adegga team once more, I'm so happy for you and excited about the future of AVIN!!! :)

  • http://futebolsense.blogspot.com Steve

    Congrats to Andre, and to Portugal!
    On a related note I picked up my first bottle with an avin on it this past weekend here in Toronto, but was in too much of a rush to scan it (was buying a gift for a party!) Will make sure to do it on my next trip to the LCBO for sure.

  • Pingback: Portugal Overcomes Pride to Acknowledge an Unexpected Wine Leader … | Breaking News 24/7

  • http://www.aristide.biz Giampiero Nadali

    Congrats to all of you from your italian supporters and friends. And here it is our hommage to AVIN…
    http://bit.ly/bhJeHK

  • http://www.cortesdecima.pt Carrie Jorgensen

    Ryan, another interesting discussion started here! ;-)

    Cortes de Cima as one of the first Portuguese wineries to start using the AVIN and QR Code on our back labels, are convinced that this is the way to go. I however, don't agree with you that pride and fear of failure is holding other wineries back. This is undeserving condescending. The motivation for Portuguese wineries to use AVINs and QR Codes is an acceptance and encouragement from wine buyers and wine users, which is presently not very strong. And for this to happen more broadly, people need to be enlightened as to what it is and how it works, for the idea to spread. That's why Anibal Coutinho and DN's recognition of Andre Ribeirinho's work is so valuable here. It will increase with a single stroke awareness of AVINs throughout the Portuguese wine world to producers and consumers alike. Way to go!

    Back labels can be a tricky thing for a winery to produce. There is already too much information which needs to be there, both mandatory, and for PR reasons. We hate some of the mandatory information, especially the bottletax stamp which covers a large part of our label, and serves of no interest to the wine drinker. Other countries (like Denmark) deal with bottle tax matters without a visible stamp on the bottle. Obviously some mandatory info is vital, i.e. alcohol, as it is of essential consumer interest.

    While Cortes de Cima already uses AVINs and QR Codes on our already over crowded backlabels, we strongly oppose the move to include it as one more label law in each wine region as you so happily report above! Thumbs down to this idea! It should remain optional, so that the winery has the option to choose for which market it is important. Some of our buyers unfortunately still don't want it on the backlabel! And we wineries know – the buyer is the boss! Portuguese winemakers are not uninformed peasants, who need to be told what is best for us through label laws, because we aren't capable of making these decisions ourselves!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ryan7968 ryan opaz

      Completely agree, Portuguese winemakers are not uninformed peasants. The title of this post is more to do with recognizing and aknowledging an outsider. Someone like Andre who is not a wine legend, or a wine legacy, he came from outside of wine and helped to create a solution for what he saw as a problem!

      Also I do not link the AVIN to the backlabel. I don't think you even need an AVIN on the label, though it would be nice, but rather that the AVIN should be linked to all internal records on a wine. If the Alentejo had you submit AVINs of new wines or if they gave out info to journalists with an AVIN listed on each wine, life could be easier!

      Thanks for the comment, and I'm sorry if this sounded at all condescending!

      • http://www.cortesdecima.pt Carrie Jorgensen

        Sorry, I am confused, as you write above- "We’ll also work to have regions beyond DOC Tejo in Portugal adopt the AVIN as a part of their lableing laws"… If it is not to be required on the label, why is it to be adopted as part of their labeling laws? Now, I am feeling rather like a thick winemaking peasant! ;-)

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/ryan7968 ryan opaz

          If the AVIN is part of their labeling laws, there are many ways to implement the law.
          1) Require it on the label
          2) Require it to register a label, optionally add it to the label (at least then all wines are "verified")
          3) Require it when sumitting a wine(nothing to do with labeling, but interesting idea)
          4) etc…

          Just would love to see more regions promote ways like the AVIN so that Journalists, wine lovers, and others can have verified information for a given wine.

  • http://www.grapefan.blogspot.com Colin Smith

    Congratulations to Andre.

    I’ve been a user of Adegga over here in the UK for while and appreciate being able to record my thoughts and share comments with others.

    It’s a shame it’s not more widely used. Hopefully all these comments about the award and the ensuing discussions about AVIN’s will increase winelovers awareness of, and the usefulness of, Adegga.

  • http://www.chamainc.com Moses

    Hey Ryan, great post! It's amazing and so well deserved that Andre has been recognised for his hard work with the project. At the same time, it's been a pleasure to see the work catavino has done over the years and the support it provides Adegga.

    You guys are on the cusp of something amazing. Keep up the great work!

  • Troy

    and congratulations to Anibal Coutinho as well for recognizing and rewarding such creativity and to Diario for hiring Anibal! Anibal taught me more about wine than anyone else I have ever known and is also responsible for some of the best meals I've ever had. (anyone near Lisbon should go eat at o Jacinto, up in the Telheiras neighborhood.)

  • Pingback: wineconversation.com » Blog Archive » Past Discussions about Wine Future