Iberian Reflections on 2008: We’ve Come a Long Way! | Catavino
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Iberian Reflections on 2008: We’ve Come a Long Way!


It was 4 yrs ago today that Gabriella was packing the last of her clothes, running from store to store trying to get last minute items, and preparing herself for what by some accounts would be her biggest adventure to date. I was working at a small wine/beer/liquor store, and trying my best to conceal the fact that I too would be leaving shortly on my leg of this journey. I had to wait so that I could save some extra cash, and make sure to secure my year end bonus. At this point, I believe only one of my employees knew of my plans, and I still hadn’t bought a ticket. Life was about to turn upside down for us, we just didn’t know how or in what way.

Today, we look back at that final march to our Iberian exodus, and I think I can safely say for the both of us, that we never imagined  we would be where we are today. 6 months into our trip, Catavino was born. But at the time, we felt it would simply be a side venture and nothing more, and in no way did we imagine that it would be the sole reason for our continuation here.

Officially, we are well past 1000 posts on Catavino. We intended to publish a big celebration post when we hit 1000, but the fact is, we probably past this number a few months ago. Unfortunately, during our many upgrades, server moves, and other website trials, we discovered that we were overwriting some of our old posts with new ones. That said, I think we only missed a handful, though I’m sad to see that some of our first “Welcome to Catavino” posts are forever lost. Oh well, life goes on and so have we.

This year, as we mentioned a few days ago, was filled with fun trips, great food, and as usual, wonderful Iberian wine. Our readership has jumped by leaps and bounds, and today, we’re being asked for advice, a role that we both relish since we owe so many for the many tips and tricks that have been freely given to us. Pay back for all the free help we’ve received has been fun and continues to be one of the top perks of this job.

Catavino Marketing is doing well, and with the recession hitting everyone, we’re seeing more people turn to social media to get their message out. Hopefully this work will pay off for not only our clients, but for their customers, both future and present, as they now have new tools for exploring the wines of Iberia.

As to wine, personally, in 4 years, we’ve seen some changes and seen some things that should change persistently stick around. Iberia largely does not know or fully comprehend Social Media yet. Fortunately, this is changing fast and we look forward to new developments in 2009. New projects are popping up right and left and we feel confident that it’s not a matter of will Spain and Portugal adopt Social media in relation to wine, but rather, when.

Wine here in Iberia really is exciting. We both have so many places that we still want to visit, and explore, and we hope that 2009 brings more memorable trips and flavors. Here at Catavino we hope to not only do more to cover wine, but also the culture. Our biggest compliment we get here is “You make me feel like I’m exploring the wines with you…”, which is both humbling and rewarding.

So to wrap up, we want to thank a few people who have helped us a long the way and share a few goals for 2009.

spanish_festivalFirst, we want to thank so many fellow bloggers. Tim from Winecast.net, someone we’ve known since the beginning. Lenn from LENNDEVOURS, we hope that you finally decide on a pronunciation of your site name in 2009! 🙂 Tom of Fermenation, who keeps us up to date on all things to do with the wine industry in the USA. Joel of WLT, the OWC and the WBC, king of the acronym! (add two to three more US blogggers). Robert our friend, co-worker on the EWBC and social media mate, we promise to make it to London this year, promise! Edward Ragg, Andrea Smith and Justin Roberts, our writers who have helped make this a richer more exciting website to read. And of course, let’s not forget the rest of our European friends who have helped give us the encouragment and support we need to keep the fire going such as Joan Gomez Pallares from Devinis, Vitor Mendes from Vinixa among the dozens of others. To all of you, thanks!

We also need to say thanks to our clients whose wines we’ve not only enjoyed this year, but who’ve also become good friends of Catavino. Thanks for working with us and we hope to get out and visit you all this year, sharing at least a bottle or two! 🙂 Thank you Cortes de Cima, Quevedo, Casa de las Vides, Abadia Retuerta and PRGrisley.

Looking forward to 2009, it should be a year full of new readers, new adventures and great wines. We hope to surpass the 1000 reader mark on Feedburner. We’ve come close a few times this year, but next year, we know we’ll make it. Please tell all your friends to subscribe! We also intend on making it to at least one of Iberia’s Islands to explore wines off the mainland. Madeira, the Canaries, Mallorca, anyone there listening? We want to visit! Blogs will rule, whether your a full time blogger or not, we want to see many more wineries with user-friendly websites, providing useful information to one and all. And with any luck, we’ll see a tripling of winery blogs here in Spain and Portugal. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our x-mas gift to wine blog readers, the new: Wineblogger.info.

Finally, I hope that 2009 is a healthy year, with lot’s of new wines, and foods shared with friends and family. Our standing offer for all Catavino readers still stands. If you visit Barcelona, and we are in town, you have 2 free tour guides to the best tapas places downtown! Just let us know and we’ll be there to share some great nibbles and a glass or two of Spain’s finest Cava! We’re serious, and this year we met quite a few people who took us up on our offer. We hope that next year there is even more!

So for now, we’d like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. Remember to eat your 12 grapes, and not work too hard. Trade in your Champange for Cava, and pop open a bottle or two of Port wine to share with the relatives!

Till next year,

Ryan and Gabriella Opaz

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  • Felices fiestas! May 09 bring you joy and lots more success.

  • thirstforwine

    Thank you for the mention – I feel honoured to be on this list, I really do. I'm so glad you are so good at what you do, and so open to sharing with others (like me) who always have lots to learn from Catavino. I look forward to working on exciting wine projects with you in 2009, and hopefully hosting you in London at some stage. Have a wonderful New Year celebration, and careful with those grapes – don't go choking on them!!

  • It's interesting you mention the 12 grapes. I came across this video on youtube earlier this month; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdnvp7O1ZRk. I wonder if he'll actually do it. I started reading your blog about four months ago when I first started getting more involved with wine. Thanks for all the incredibly detailed posts and fun writing. I look forward to the things to come.

  • gabriellaopaz

    Dylan: Thank you for being such an avid reader of Catavino. If we had an award for the reader who participates the most on our blog, it would be you my friend! Robert: Thank you for the compliment, but remember that we are only as successful as our community that surrounds us. Hence, we look forward to many fun and fruitful projects together in the New Year 😉 Oh, and as for the grapes, we promise to go seedless.Francisco: Happy New Year to you, and we hope that the 2009 brings you good fortune!

  • Ryan and Gabriella, it is really an honour for me to be mentioned by you. Honestly i think that i can say that my life changed after knowing you both. In fact, what i´ve learned since than its so important for me, just as the rest that i´ve learned the rest of my life. I am not exagerating, because that´s what i feel everyday. Our connection is a strong one, i believe in your projects, and i want to be a part of them to. I also believe that are many things to do, and i feel like an explorer on a totally virgin land… I wish you both the best ff luck in all your projects, and please count on me for everything that i can help you with. It would be a priviliege for me! Have a great 2009, and thanks for your amazing friendship!

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  • Dear Ryan and Gabriella, thanks for being those tour guides on a tapas crawling tour last Saturday! Nico, myself and our two teenagers David and Tamar have had an absolutely great evening, discovering the way people in Barcelona have their glasses of cava, their tapas, their chocolat with churos etc… We had great fun and hope to meet again in real life some day! We will certainly meet online, here at Catavino, on Wineblogger.info or elsewhere. All our best wishes for this year and a very healthy 2009! May all your wishes come true! Bye for now,Mariëlla

  • Bill

    Hard to believe it's really been 4 years since you left the Cities. I remember a few conversations about this very topic at the time and they basically went like the tone of your post. Granted, you didn't know the details, but the overall goal was (and still is) to make your mark on the world on Iberian wine. Congratulations, you are succeeding at that goal. Keep it up. I wasnt' joking about your first book, either. Get cracking!!

  • gabriellaopaz

    Vitor: thank you for the compliment, but as you know, our goal is to help Iberia market itself as an incredible food, wine and travel destination, and clearly you are an imperative piece of that puzzle! Bill: It's odd for us to consider those first conversations as well, but there hasn't been a day that's gone by for which we haven't been grateful for our supportive community. And despite the many years of uncertainty, it feels nice to finally have a solid path. Clearly, you're support made an enormous difference, thank you!Mariella: I think it is fair to say that the pleasure was all ours. It is always fun to take people of various cultures through Barcelona and experience their first impressions. Plus, as your family was so open and willing to try everything, it made our tour all the more adventurous! Sincerely, thank you for contacting us and know that we both truly appreciate your very kind and humbling comments.

  • hope we'll be better in 2009 😀

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