Travel Guide to Portugal

Blame it on Rioja, Or Maybe Not: How Not to Master Social Media

By Ryan Opaz

Andrian Murcia, the author for Blame it on Rioja is a virtual friend to That is to say, we have never met in person, but we have shared a lot of conversations online. His blog sponsored by the Vibrant Rioja campaign is full of good information and interesting takes on a region that only in the past year, Gabriella and I have truly come to love.

Vibrant Rioja, on the other hand, has helped to sponsor one of our trips to the region, and from what we can tell, is trying to get Rioja into the American dialogue through the sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Personally, I think they could spend their money in more effective ways, but that’s not the point. They are doing something to help more people learn about Riojan wines, which is great!

Where their support of the region falls short is in regards to a recent campaign they’ve launched. A few months ago, we learned that Adrian had undertaken, with help from Vibrant Rioja and CIA (Culinary Institute of America), a project to record a series of videos of the land, culture and wines of Rioja. Needless to say, we were ecstatic. We wish we had the money and backing to do similar projects ourselves, but if smart people like Adrian are sharing their footage with the world, we’re content.

But after we quickly surfed over to the CIA website, digging down into their training video page, our elation quickly turned to sour grapes. I was presented with a page of videos, 22 in total, laid out in a grid with no information in, or around, them. My sense is that they are intended for CIA students when studying wine; and should come (or so we hope) with a syllabus explaining how to watch them, contextual cues and other details. I briefly browsed a few of the videos, and then clicked around looking for the embed script so that I could include a video in a post for you all to experience.

NO such luck!

What a waste. Here is one of the best opportunities to not only expose Rioja to the world, give the CIA more status to the non-food geeks, and help the Vibrant Rioja campaign have more success, and they threw it down the tubes, or rather, hid it among the tubes!  So much great video, with one objective in its heart, to educate and promote Rioja. But now it sits trapped on the CIA server, buried in a back corner for those lucky enough to see it. They do, however, offer us a chance to watch the video online, or order a DVD, but seriously, why would I want to order a DVD? So I could show it at home to all my friends and family? I know my people like wine, but let’s be realistic.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incidence, but it happens all the time. Social media geeks, shake your head with me and lament this travesty. Non-Social media geeks, understand this: the web is a sharing device, where the more you share, the more you gain. Creative Common’s licenses lead to collaboration that never existed before, and the simple act of allowing people to find and share your video is what I like to call, FREE EXPOSURE! If the videos are great, the content could be useful. If this was licensed under a CC, and offered up on Youtube, Blip, Vimeo, VIddlr, or the hundreds of other video sharing sites, the content would be free. And consequently, we would spread the word about Rioja to those willing to listen. But no, it now sits in a cell of Web 1.0, imprisoned deep within old media.

I’m sure someone owns this content and wants to retain control over it, and to them I say, “shame on you”. Or maybe I should say, “I’m sorry for you”.  For the rest of us, join me in a group cheer: “Free the content and share it with the world

Till soon,



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