In only two months time, we will be co-hosting the first European Wine Blogger Conference in La Rioja, Spain, followed up in October by the American Wine Blogger’s Conference. So far, the responses and organization of both events have been exceptional. Both bloggers and wineries alike have shared their interest in gaining a better handle on how to benefit from this new medium of communication, but what about the reader? While bloggers across the planet are debating the merits of rating wine, how formatting and crafting content for a blog is different from print media, and ways to approach advertising so that bloggers may gain for their efforts, it dawned on us that our readers may feel left out and a little lost.
Therefore, we were struck with the one million dollar question: Does the EWBC matter to our (Catavino) readers, and why should they care? Additionally, Will getting European Bloggers together for a conference make any difference?
So we thought we’d give our co-host of the EWBC, Robert McIntosh, a chance to get some thoughts off his chest as they relate to his perspective as not only a reader, but an active voice in the wine blogging community.
Thanks Robert for your thoughts, and if our readers have any additional comments or questions to add, we would really appreciate your two cents!
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of wine blogs out there, and every post and every comment is part of a wider Wine Conversation that affects the wine industry to some extent.
Picture a vast party, where everyone is either talking about wine or listening. Bigger groups surround the “top blogs”, the “A list” celebrities that are on all wine lovers’ feed readers, but there are still plenty of other people in the room not making quite so much noise.
Someone joining this conversation, however, would probably hear that the best wines come from California, that the “three-tier system” is evil, that Robert Parker is the best/worst thing to happen to wine, and a lot more. What many of the most frequent conversations have in common is their US focus. They may talk about wines from Europe, but always from the perspective of a US consumer.
Where can a European consumer go to read, and contribute to, discussions that relate to their experience of wine?
In my view, the most important goal of the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference is to start a conversation between the European voices at this party. Readers in Europe, and indeed the rest of the world, want to hear a familiar perspective on wine and one that is relevant to them. After all, who is best placed to tell us about the best German Rieslings but the Germans? What about the Italian perspective on Brunello? Or the Spanish view of Priorat?
Catavino readers come to this site to hear about Iberian wines from people who really know them, who live there and specialise in this subject. But where are the equivalent sites for Germany, Italy, France and other countries? I believe that they do exist, but for various reasons they are not well known outside their own countries.
We will not be able to change this with one conference, largely because the biggest obstacle is going to be the language barrier. That is why it is important that we meet face-to-face so we can find other ways to learn about, and from, each other. The result will hopefully be a much richer conversation about wine from a truly European perspective. I think we will discover that there are greater similarities between the experiences of Spanish & Portuguese wineries and consumers with their near neighbours, than with their North American friends.