Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eight Chilean winemakers walk into a bar...

Last night was the first Wines of Chile Online Blogger Tasting, and it was far from a joke. Michael Green, Wine & Spirits Consultant for Gourmet magazine held a discussion with eight of Chile's winemakers live via video conference.

And bloggers from all over the US got a chance to watch and taste the winemakers' creations.

If you would like to check out descriptions about the wines and the winemakers, you can read about them here.

I thought the tasting was everything a wine blogger could have wanted it to be. The winemakers were loose and dressed casually, Michael was informal and funny, and the wines were very good. Even a three minute break in the action, due to a technical problem, was easy to move past.

It was interesting to see how the bloggers were responding during the tasting. Many latched onto twitter to push out comments and notes as the tasting was happening. You can read the comments here. Already there are many blog posts about the tasting.

In today's online, instant information world, it is hard to say how influential wine bloggers are and how influential they are going to be. Besides my mother, a few friends, and a slew of other bloggers, I am not sure how influential my own blog is. Sure, I have numbers of how many people visit each time I put up a post, I have numbers of how many eyeballs read my words each month, and I know where in the country (or world... yes, my blog is read all over the place... although I think it might be just one person who flies around a lot) the people that read my blog are located. These numbers are tiny when compared to the reach of the wine trade publications. But that is not why I write, so what does it matter anyway?

The great power of blogs are when large groups all talk about the same subject at once. That is where I think marketing is going in the wine world and why events such as this tasting make sense to me.

I thought all of the winemakers did a great job explaining not only their wines but the philosophy of Chile as a major wine player in the world. I tasted the wines with several friends of mine and I do not think there was a wine that the group did not like. My personal favorite was the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere 2007. For me it was smooth and vibrant, like having rich and ripe blueberries in a glass.

I am going to now start reading the other bloggers' posts to see what they thought was the best. It is very interesting to see how tastes differed.


I really should listen to that persistent voice in the back of my head, the one that sounds like my mother. Yesterday I wrote that the Online Blogger Tasting was my idea. It was firmly pointed out to me that I might have been mistaken, as Michael Green made the suggestion to the CEO at RFBinder back in August, whereas I put forth the idea in October. I have absolutely no wish to take credit that is not mine and beg the pardon of Michael Green.

I was previously employed by RFBinder Partners and a member of the team in charge of the Wines of Chile account.
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