I had the opportunity to participate in the recent online wine blogger tasting for the Wines of Chile. The tasting included a live webcast moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant at Gourmet magazine. Eight winemakers were available via live webcast from Santiago, Chile…cool. Michael led the tasting and asked each winemaker questions as we swiftly tasted through the eight wines.
There was also much activity on Twitter as the bloggers tweeted their impressions live. The hashtag #winesofchile was used and the Twitter conversation was one of the highlights for me. Check out the tweets related to the tasting. I did click to the Tweet Chat room to read and engage with the live tweets and minimized the winemakers and Michael in my browser, but listened to their conversation as I tweeted.
- Although not a replacement for in-person or group tastings, the Wines of Chile online tasting was a fun way to learn about Chilean wines, regions and the winemakers in a virtual group setting.
- I enjoyed that the winemakers were available live.
- The pace was rapid, I would have preferred a bit more time to taste and tweet about the wines.
- Like some others, I was impressed with the 2008 Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Colchagua Valley. I had no impression of Chilean Pinot Noirs going into the tasting, but liked the elegance of this one and Chilean Pinots will now go onto my radar.
- Prior to the tasting, bloggers were actively Tweeting and updating Facebook statuses with a countdown to how long until the tasting began. (“one more hour until Wines of Chile tasting!”)
- Some bloggers posted pictures of their tasting items to Twitpic.
- This tasting lends to positioning of the Wines of Chile brand as forward thinking because they demonstrated that they embrace technology, social media tools and wine bloggers.
One idea for a next step:
- Create a Facebook Public Profile (fan page) for Wines of Chile with video of the tasting, videos of winemakers, tab with technical info including bottle shots and invite participating bloggers to become a fan and invite others. Keep these excited bloggers engaged with the Wines of Chile brand.
- Encourage blogger questions and have winemakers respond directly there
- Create a page of links to blog posts about the tasting
- Promote Wines of Chile events and tastings via Facebook events, targeting via location
There was a nice mention of the tasting in a round up story on Forbes.com. The article is titled, “The New Way to Learn About Wine: Twitter.” I’m not sure if live tweeting was a part of the strategy developed by the team at RF Binder, the agency representing the Wines of Chile, but it happened organically and was a very relevant part of the tasting. Another fun thing was that my husband, Rich tasted along with me. His palate is different than mine but overall he liked the wines with his favorite being the ’06 Los Vascos Reserve blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec. Mine were the ’08 Emiliana Natura Sauvignon Blanc and ’06 Veramonte Primus, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Carmenere. One of the first things he said to me the next morning was that the tasting was a lot of fun. We’re packing up what’s left of our bottles for a trip to visit our good friends to taste through the wines again with them.
Christopher Tracy and Allison Dubin lead our final tasting during TasteCamp East
There are a few key takeaways that left an impression on me after TasteCamp East on Long Island this past weekend. One of them is that I couldn’t help but notice that of all of the stops we made, there was one winery that managed to easily pry open the wallets of several participating bloggers (including me). The winery I refer to is Channing Daughters.
I discussed this briefly with some of the other bloggers and the difference is two-fold: the wines are approachable in price, and the enthusiasm of partner/winemaker Christopher Tracy is contagious and makes you want to buy wine from him…lots of wine from him.
I didn’t expect to purchase much wine on this trip because I had flown in and stayed a few extra nights in Manhattan which meant lugging a large suitcase all over the city via hired car, Long Island Railroad, and taxi (you get the picture) but even that didn’t stop me after our visit with Christopher, partner/general manager Allison Dubin and their winery dog Remy. I think that this is worth noting for those wineries who are looking to stand out. Quality/Price ratio and a charming, funny, HUMAN winemaker who can enthusiastically lead a tasting in a comfortable and engaging setting. That’s what sold me. I’ll seek out the wines of Channing Daughters and they will move to my list of favorite wineries to purchase from and pay attention to.