Monday, 28 May 2012

And here's to you

This morning I had a hideous bout of the 'mean reds'. This feeling, as coined by Miss Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys, is much like anxiety or, in my case, just plain pissed-off-ed-ness at the world. And, my gosh, was this morning hideous. The weather was grey, traffic, dismal, and on top of that, Cruise 1323AM was pumping out some lousy Billy Joel song.

But then I got work. Happy sigh of relief. I assume you think I'm a cheeseball, eh? Well, think that as you may, but I bet you, too, would have smiled had you have been greeted with a lovely box of vino. What a treat! This never happens, not that I would ever expect it nor even think to deserve it. But, needless to say, it lifted the mood somewhat. Of course that wasn't all that changed the mood.

You see there are many things I am really looking forward to. Tomorrow, I'm speaking with Mr Andrew Jefford, leading wine commentator and regular blogger for Decanter magazine. He's flown all the way from France to tour Australia as part of Wine Communicators Australia's annual lecture series - and tomorrow it's Adelaide's turn. I can't wait. I've watched a couple of video clips and read many of his writings and, besides being incredibly passionate, he's a very, very smart cookie. I wonder if he'll wear his big round glasses. I do hope so. They're smashing.

In an address titled 'Wine and Astonishment', Mr Jefford will speak about the dangers of familiarity and the role of naturalness in wine. He'll also cover the role of alcohol in wine as well as a wine from a science and poetry view point. What will I be asking? You'll have to wait and see. But! Should you have a question for me to question, do let me know.

In other news, today is Ashlee's birthday. And here's some fun trivia: Ash is the official wine dog for the Grapegrower & Winemaker. Yup. She's made history as the first wine dog for the mag. Not bad.

How old, you ask. Trust me when I say her wrinkles are nothing to go by - she's at the ripe age of eight and is as divine as ever. The present? A tasty liver Schmako treat and a big walkies followed by snuggles. Such a pretty face x

About to head home from work. Hoping for a better song from Cruise (after the traffic report, of course. That's always a hoot).

For more info on Mr Jefford's tour, visit:

His last stop is Perth, 30 May, Nedlands Yacht Club, Esplanade, Nedlands.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Virtual vino – it’s Veale!

There's a lot of research and hype around social media and how it can be used to lure customers to wine brands. Frankly, I've always been sceptical about whether these things work to that purpose.

Of course I’m only one person in a gazillion but I'd never buy wine from Facebook or Twitter. Twitter I use to connect with the wine world and Facebook I use to connect with friends and family. I also use it to stalk people. There, I said it. I'm a Facebook stalker.

But, according to Dr Roberta Veale, senior marketing lecturer at the University of Adelaide, I'm far from the only one.

For the past couple of years Dr Veale has been exploring how social media affects consumers’ brand loyalty. She is spearheading a project called Wine as a Social Bond, which seeks to provide an understanding of how to develop wine based e-marketing strategies from a consumer point of view.

She believes consumer loyalty is at the forefront of all wine purchasing behaviour.

"If you have a good time at a winery with friends and have positive memories, you are more likely to tell your friends about it and seek out their wines," she says.

Of course one can't always be there to create these memories. However, using online tools and a couple of cameras, Dr Veale is breaking these rules. She's come up with what's known as an interactive 'Wine Room.' 

This is an online community forum where a couple of winemakers are filmed through a live stream that people from anywhere around the world can connect to and have their queries answered - by the winemaker and other participants.

I first heard about the project last year and was pretty excited by it. I've written about it a couple of times in the Grapegrower & Winemaker (ask me, ask me, ask me!) and, last month, I was lucky enough to experience it first hand.


The event was with winemaker Stuart Borne and general manager Matthew McCulloch from Chateau Tanunda, in the Barossa Valley.

As part of the event, participants tasted and talked about the 2010 Chateau Tanunda 'Terroirs of the Barossa': Greenock Shiraz, Ebenezer Shiraz and the Lyndoch Shiraz.

It's a simple idea and one that works well to promote Australian wine. It's to connect consumers with the winemakers, create loyalty by allowing them a platform to understand the terroir and wine, directly from the producers who make it in our own backyard.

For more information, visit: