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Food & Wine,Portugal,Wine,Winery

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned at the European Wine Bloggers Conference

Crashed in Lisbon today ~ Too Much of a Good Thing. I’m sitting in the lobby of the VIP Grand Hotel, checked out and waiting for everyone to return from the bus trips that I passed on. When they do return, Gwendolyn Alley and Iwill be heading to Evora this evening, for the next leg of our journey.

Today, I should have been touring Sintra with the EWBC group, but facing that I had to be up and leaving at 8:00 a.m. was something I just couldn’t handle; especially since I’m headed to Evora this evening, also part of today’s journey. My old bones just couldn’t handle getting up early, driving across the country, coming back to the hotel, and driving back across Portugal, again, tonight.

The European Wine Bloggers Conference was totally amazing. Here’s the heart of what I’ve learned:

  1. The American version of this conference creates the Yin of the Yang, no distinction for which is which. They’re just separate but equal, making an interesting whole. (I now feel somewhat complete having participated in both.)
  2. European wine bloggers admit that Americans have the social media advantage/focus. (My thought is that where ever innovation has its inception, it’s set a standard for which others emulate… Or, simply put, it is what it is.)
  3. As with all conferences, some people captivate and some engage in circumlocution… but, things do move slowly ahead, ultimately.
  4. Social media becomes more complex with each passing hour, and those who don’t engage will become obsolete marketers [faster than any other time in the history of the world, from my perspective].
  5. A “professional blogger” was mentioned, but the question was never asked, once two of us identified ourselves as such. [My explanation is below this Top 1o list; which I would have given, had I been asked to further explain.]
  6. I told attendees that if they wanted to monetize what they’re doing as bloggers, go to work for a winery. [Trust me, once these blogging people get a foot in the door, social media assignments will fall into their laps, regardless if this was why they were hired. Most people at a winery aren’t there yet, in terms of knowing what to do with social media. Core competencies just take root.]
  7. People are still fearful of being monetized… [However, we’re all monetized. We all have jobs. Even authors who write books, and may not take samples for the wines they’re writing about, are still monetized by their publishers as the total expense a publisher is willing to pay for the book. Somebody pays the bills, or we can’t keep going.]
  8. Bloggers are the writers of the future (I’m sure of that), but they still aren’t so sure of that. [I’m sure of it, because I see the same passion I had 17 years ago, and it’s developed my skills in a systemic evolutionary path that these bloggers are also following. The only difference between what they’re doing, and what I did 17 years ago is “the times.” The older we get, the more we realize that we must follow our passions for work, or just become bored out of our skulls. What may be missing at the time is the daring that is needed to jump off the diving board, and trusting that the pool is full. Without daring, nothing much is achieved.]
  9. More and more winery personnel are attending the conferences to not only learn how to manage their own blogs, but they still also don’t know how to talk to bloggers, and it concerns them. The answer, in part for that concern, is to be active in the comments section of a blog.
  10. Writers who have been well established in print media now feel that they, too, must blog. They weren’t the first to jump in, a few have balked at it all, because it’s challenging to have so many new kids on the block, but they’re now beginning to understand that they must jump in or become irrelevant at a much faster pace.

*A professional blogger is someone who works within a given industry. As part of that person’s duties, blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, and participating in social media focus groups is paid attention to daily. While the blogger many not be directly paid by the client to be uploading information for him or her, the client still supports the blogger indirectly each time an invoice is paid. It’s a win-win situation. While the blogger may now be spending more hours taking care of a client, and that person’s salary just diminished on a per hour basis, it’s also branding the blogger in an important movement. That blogger has more visibility for his/her own brand, while still building the brand of the clients. Web 2.0, Baby… We’ve all got to live with it!

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3 Responses to “Top Ten Things I’ve Learned at the European Wine Bloggers Conference”

  1. Thanks for these thoughts and an interesting perspective. Having a proper discussion with 100 people in the room can be tough, but I think the ‘professional blogger’ question deserves exploring.

    thanks so much for coming out for the EWBC and I hope the rest of your trip is as enjoyable.

    great to meet you

  2. Fabius says:

    excellent post, which I found really interesting and useful. re the EWBC, even though i wasn’t there I followed it well every day through your and others tweets, posts, etc. I couldn’t join in the tastings unfortunately but I thought of you all as i was having my €10 lunch in Madrid with undrinkable wine that has to be mixed with lemonade!!!
    But yes, what you say in yr post above is true. Marketing, blogging, engaging the end consumer is key in the wine business, no? What’s the point of me growing organic grapes, making quality wine and then bottling it and storing it and waiting for the phone to ring??? People have to drink it! What with globalization, thousands of producers, ever-more selective distributers, dominance of supermarkets etc, what’s a small natural wine producer to do?
    Be glad I live in interesting times!

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