James the Wine Guy Interview Series – Michel Friou, Winemaker of Almaviva

It was a pleasure to interview Michel Friou, winemaker of Almaviva in San Francisco on his visit in June 2016.  He has a rich experience beginning with completion of education at Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Montpellier in France.  He has spent time honing in on his winemaking skills the Loire Valley, Languedoc, and Bordeaux at Chateau Margaux.  Michel has been Almaviva since 2007 making beautiful Bordeaux blends.  I had the privilege of tasting the 2012 vintage which is Cabernet Sauvignon: 65%, Carménère: 24%
Cabernet Franc: 8%, ,Petit Verdot: 2% and Merlot: 1%.  I loved this Bordeaux blend as the Carménère, a Bordeaux variety, is showing the complexity this variety adds to the blend as well as the fine fruit coming from Puente Alto in Maipo. I don’t often get to do in person interviews and I very much enjoyed meeting Michel

Almaviva is a partnership of Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

 

 

Salute!

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Seek Wines and Food from Near and Far… Be Local and Equally Embrace the Far Away – James Melendez

The Localvore Movement is important in both food, wine, beer and spirits. I think there is exceptional pride eating and drinking locally.  I think what can be something that introduces guilt is when you are eating something not local.  We do it all the time and for good reason.  I like coffee, chocolate, bananas, tropical fruit and wines from abroad which I can not live by only local foods and drink experience all the time.  I do think it too esoteric and narrow minded to following something so strict and I think misses the point of connecting with people around the planet.

I love knowing the heirloom tomatoes on my plate are from a farm one county away–I love knowing the Meyer lemons I have came from a neighbour–yes, you get the idea.  I have listened to the many hard core people about eating local.  I think the intent for many is to eat local where possible.  I think following a path of just eating local is narrow minded as we cannot always get what we want from a local source.

I think there are things that go a long distance that could be made locally–cars–what a carbon footprint.  I drink wine from Alsace, Champagne, Turkish wines, wines from Montenegro, Uruguay or perhaps South Africa.  Maybe I want olive oil from Tunisia or coffee from Ethiopia– I don’t feel guilty by buying these products.  While some might rely on buying only Fair Trade or Direct Trade I want to put my money where my mouth is–I do think it is essential to buy from regions that need the economic activity.  While my one purchase is not going to have a long term impact but imagine if many people were buying olive oil or preserved lemons from Tunisia?

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Mustapha’s Preserved Lemons from Morocco

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Nabali Olive Oil from Palestine

Olive oil like wine is filled with many options.  I love olive oil and I cannot get enough and I go through it quickly which means many options to try new olive oils from new places.  I recently picked up Nabali olive oil from Palestine.  I had read a good review and I thought I had to try.  I also feel that I need to spread my dollars around as much as possible.  I often wonder about the economics of Palestine and I know the population is 4 million people with an average income of $2,900.

I have also been buying preserved lemons coming from Tunisia. The per capita income is $4,700.  I think the only way that poverty is going to be addressed is to seek food sources from lesser sourced food regions.  Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Indonesia, New Mexico, Georgia, Turkey, South Africa, Peru, Chile, etc.  So I ask you seek these regions and more.  Seek a way for people to have a dignified life.

Zumot St. George Cabernet Sauvignon-Pinot Noir from Kingdom of Jordan

 

Adoria Zacowice Poland Riesling

Adoria Zacowice Poland Riesling

I also look at wine as a great thing to seek–to help people look towards the ancient and sometimes the new producer.  Cuisine is a full circle of food and wine.  Now for wine I hope you look for wines from the lesser known regions as Republic of Georgia, Mexico, Lebanon, yes, Syria, Kingdom of Jordan, India, South Africa, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Morocco, Cyprus, Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Ontario, British Columbia and New Mexico to name a few.  

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Valenta Nitrianska Rizling Vlassky from Slovakia

 

Suha Punta Grada Kontra from Croatia

Suha Punta Grada Kontra from Croatia

 

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Gala Farm from Czech Republic

 

I think that if we were about only about eating local we miss the opportunity for a more fuller, more ecumenical tasting.  We miss the beauty and uniqueness of place.  Seek local and seek far away.  After all you are not importing a car which seems to not induce concern for carbon footprint… you are importing something self sustaining.  And I think peace will not come from politicians but it will come from people helping people.

Salute!

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Review of Wine Bloggers Conference 2016 – James Melendez

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I have been to six Wine Bloggers Conferences (WBC) and each are uniquely different and often highlighting the region where it is visiting.  Given all of the WBC all of them have had a central hotel and the conference was at the hotel.  Lodi, the host region for WBC, had a conference centre far from the “official hotels.”  This WBC was quite different in terms of energy and connection and networking opportunities than any of the conferences I have visited before.

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I traditionally like the networking opportunities–they are rich, needed and necessary, and good old fashion fun.  What I traditionally don’t like about WBC is the content and the speed tastings.  Because of the non-proximate location of the conference centre to the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn Express getting connected was quite difficult.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express is some place: I had never stayed at this chain of hotels before.  I thought the other official hotel was an easy walk away but that was not true–at least not a place you want to traverse in the dark–not a sidewalk to walk on and not a particularly active part of Lodi.

On Sunday of WBC I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen all the days before at the conference–I thought perhaps she did not come to the conference but the truth of distant of conference hotels was evident and unfortunate.  I was also surprised that there seemed to be a lot less presence of sponsors or at least number of sponsors.  My evidence point was the final evening’s “Wines of the World” reception where there were only two sponsors pouring their wines.  The evening was quite warm and the wine ran out quickly not due to heat but due to not enough sponsors to pour more wines.  

2016 Content

Consistently over time the content is rather weak.  Putting this in the following framework: if you are traveling large distances and paying one’s own way the expectation is that it is not just good it is great and it helpful to move one’s wine blog needle.

I think the content and delivery has often been disappointing because the bar is often set low.  From a conference management perspective there should be a set of requirements for content and expectation of superb delivery.

I’ll use myself as an example–when I have been invited to speak I have given a topic and which I accompany with an outline.  I do this in case I need to hone in specifically to the need of event and audience and I give my outline before I step on speaking platform.  As a speaker I want to manage and meet expectation or organiser and attendee.  I always want to give the best I can give.

I felt many speakers did not rehearse or perhaps don’t speak that often.  The PowerPoint presentations were less than satisfactory.  I think it is essential to given an agenda or list of topics to be covered.  I think you have to manage the audience insofar as letting people know when you will take questions or asking questions of the audience–rhetorical or even from a polling perspective–audience engagement is essential.

Nothing loses an audience faster than if everything fails, slides don’t advance, too difficult to read as the front is too small, too much text, no overall theme or sense of direction.  I was in one talk where the presenter seemed frustrated that the material was not advancing correctly.  I like anyone else is there to hear about an experience, a best practice, industry information etc. and not feeling stuck with the presenter.  I think a take away is important e.g. my slide deck is available on Slidenet, a worksheet or questionnaire as an example.  I don’t mind if person doesn’t have an answer but asks if someone might know or the old fashion “I’ll get back to you.”  

It is not just the presentation style that is the only thing–it is the content itself.  I think the organizing committee could be more helpful by giving a guidance to presenters–e.g. An emerging topic may need some very foundational information, if it is a well known topic than a specific issue or piece can be highlighted.  I always ask if I am going to speak–and I ask many questions ranging from duration of talk to audience to goal or aim of conference or topic presented.

I have felt that I have not received value over the years with WBC’s weak content–If I am traveling to New York, Virginia or Canada it is much more expensive than going to Lodi.  Regardless even short distance travel has it’s expenses.  And conversely someone traveli from East Coast or abroad has to endure a large expense.   I need to maximize the value of what I spend in both time and money and I know I am not the only one that has felt this way.

I proposed content with a focus on video in this WBC.   I think video is essential and I think what I proposed would have been a perspective that is lacking from past WBCs.  My topic was rejected and I don’t know the criteria for acceptance or rejection.  I use to have a lobby meet up about video but I also felt strongly that this should not be a clandestine topic.  I would have been out of luck this year as the hotel settings were not strong to support a meet up like event.  Even if there was one hotel I would not have done a video meet up–I just don’t feel this topic needs to be presented only in a lobby and not a conference setting.  I am not an unknown quantity in the blogging community or the video community or even wine community as I have never been invited to be part of a formal team presenting or a panelist.  I know that I will not submit for another presentation slot at WBC because I know it will be rejected.

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So there was so highlights that I greatly appreciated:

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  • Discovery Session: Wine Educator Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET presents From Prosecco to Amarone – 12-August-2016  Deborah presented this tasting experiencing through the WSET methodology of Italian wines.  Deborah framed the tasting so well and made this tasting experience a welcoming and inclusive one.  Her touch with the audience was superb and I truly enjoyed the experience.

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  • From Passion to Pro – Getting Paid to Write About Wine with Randy Caparoso (moderator), Deborah Parker Wong, Jameson Fink and Debra Meiburg – 13-August-2016 Each panelist and moderator talked about their lifeline and how they go where they are today–each of them said something unique and important.  Deborah Parker Wong talked about her journey and it wasn’t an easy one and I took particular attention.   Her comments resonated not just at the conference and are still with me in terms of “turning over many rocks” for opportunities.  
  • Increase Your Audience & Engagement 14-August-2016 – Mary Cressler and Sean Martin of Vindulge – a husband and wife team from Portland; Sean is a barbecue expert and Mary is a sommelier.  I almost missed this presentation because I was skeptical of Sunday or last day material.  I went to see a few people before I left–I ducked into this presentation on accident.  This fantastic duo gave valuable insights, experience and great ideas so social media sites and other ways to increase traffic.  The level of presentation was excellent and I appreciated the way it was delivered and I walked away with things I can do in the future.

Speed Tastings

While I attend and I may tweet but I don’t like this approach.  I think the notion that everyone wants to quickly gulp or taste and spit wine and tweet about it isn’t helpful for anyone.  I don’t look to the conference screen and see if my name appears on the screen.  I stopped writing pithy notes to tweet out.  I do want to meet winemaker and producer representatives but doing so more thoughtfully.  I also find that the speed of getting each tasting session a massive rush–not a lot of fun and I would say unnecessary.  This element needs to change and become relevant.

Lodi

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I tasted some Lodi wines but much fewer than I expected.  I hope there would have been more opportunities to taste.  I thought that LoCA would have a table there throughout the conference and would have participated in the wines of the world.  There were plenty of opportunities but they never materialised.  I think it was a missed opportunity.

I missed events that were held at venues off site–it was not easy to get from one event in the evening to the next and hence was a delimiter to get to a large number of events.

Overall comments

I was disappointed in there was no survey on the event to give feedback to the organizer-Zephyr Adventures .  I got a survey request from the hotel where I stayed a few days after my stay.  I think it is a key function and even expectation of participant and it is norm of business and customer service.  I don’t want to just “give” my feedback here as that was not my intent.  

In spite of several levels of disappointment of WBC16, I was delighted to see many people I know near and far.  I loved seeing my many friends and I did see many people late at the event but it was better to see late than not at all.  I also enjoyed many new friends as well.

Will I go to WBC17? Yes I will.  Will the content be upgraded? Probably not.  I will go to make what I can from it–at least next year it will be in Fall time in Autumn and I think there may be fewer people since it will be in November but hope I will see my many friends and again meet new friends.  I am hoping for a better WBC in 2017.  

Salute!

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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PS I Don’t Love Petite Sirah – James Melendez

Petite Sirah.jpg

I don’t love Petite Sirah but I don’t hate it either.   There are few varieties that I simply don’t like.  I updated my wine sample policy where I stated that I will no longer review Petite Sirah wines–I will continue to review where PS doesn’t take an overwhelming percentage and where overall I feel the wine needs a review.  Like many wine writers I don’t promise I’ll review all wines I receipt as samples or even that which I purchase.  

There is an organization called PS I Love You which I personally have never uttered those words.  I had attended one of their Petite Sirah Symposiums and tasted a number of the presenters Petite Sirahs.  It was a good symposium but it didn’t bring me closer to the words “I Love Petite Sirah.”  Petite Sirah for me tastes very linear–dense, inky, high alcohol and a narrow range of notes–if blind tasting Petite Sirah from across California I and anyone else would be hard pressed to pick up where the wines came from because of its low frequency of regional characterisation.  I think what I find interesting is that Petite Sirah can truly over take a cuvée even at small percentage levels say in the 25 to 40% levels which I think re-characterises the wines considerable and take a commanding lead anything at any level of 40% can only be thought of as a Petite Sirah wine.

I like a wine variety that can express its region, its site and has a vast variation and complexity both by earth and winemaker.  I know that some people think of PS as alluring and seductive.  I think high alcohol can sometimes add to seductiveness of a wine. Also a wine that can be drunk without food can be a good thing but I have not had my enjoyment of meal where Petite Sirah was the featured wine.  I felt that PS overtook the lead even in the food-wine pairing zone and for me I would have preferred another wine variety.

Consumers have had a love affair that is quickly dashed over the historical period of a couple of decades.  In the 1980’s there was approximately 14,000 acres in California going down to 2,000 in the mid-1990s.  Today the current acres planted to Petite Sirah are approximately 6,584 acres in California according to Wine Grapes (Robinson, et al.).   I look at Zinfandel which has approximately 47,000 acres planted in California as a grape that has a firm foothold as a variety.  I can say easily that I do love Zinfandel–it is a wonderful variety that has a vast range of variation.  Interesting a lot of Zinfandel producers might add single digit percentage of Petite Sirah.  Zinfandel can hold its own especially with a dash of Petite Sirah.  This I am not bothered by–if a wine is varietally labeled Zinfandel that is the chief expression that I am seeking.  Above single digits can overly influence the wine.  Back to Zinfandel–Zinfandel has had it’s ups and downs but I do think it is a cornerstone wine grape in California.  I think people who are fans remain a fan for the long run unlike Petite Sirah.  I do not think that is the case with Petite Sirah drinkers–someone and I hypothesize many people start here and go to other varieties – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Iberian and Italian varieties and stay in those camps.  If Petite Sirah had a base that consumed it year over year there would be many more acres planted.  Will we hit 18,000 acres in the near future?  No.  Will we hit this in the mid-term: No.  And the long run: most likely not.  

Petite Sirah if not nearly extinct it is most likely extinct in it’s birthplace of France.  If this wine grape had been loved there there would be many examples of Petite Sirah or Durif (synonym) today in France.  I have had many samples run across my desk and I have decided to not review that which I do not love.  Also read into this that I do not hate Petite Sirah either.  I thought it was important to highlight my revised sample policy.

Let me know your thoughts on Petite Sirah–like, love, indifferent or hate the variety?

Salute!

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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So Many Wines: Never at a Loss of Content to Write or Video – James Melendez

busy

I have never have a shortage of topical matter to write and to complete video.  I think some subject matters there might be a struggle.  The opposite struggle exists for thoughtfully writing about wine and the time to do it.

No other consumer category is like wine–a strange and compelling product–strange in that there are a plethora of wines multiplied by vintage, vineyard, region and cuvée to name a few features.  My intention has been to write and video wine content (as example: a wine review of the same bottle) as I believe I do not always have the same audience–the audience self selects the media type they prefer – written or video.  I am constantly struggling to produce content–I don’t know where to begin and how to do this all in a timely manner.  I do get the occasional “where is the video review” query though I do not promise to complete a review either written or video.  I got one from a PR agency recently asking “are you going to review the wines or not?”  I often get an email before a sample is sent and I disclose that I may be traveling or to wait a certain time before sending.  But sometimes I just get a sample being delivered.  For this particular agency, I was going to review because the wines were compelling and I wanted to do that.  I, of course, did change when I was going to review these wines as I had a big queue and would get to them as soon as I reviewed previous receipts.

I rarely get an inquiry of this nature and when I do it is that I have often already produced the video or written piece.  I was taken aback by such a query–I didn’t want to not produce a video if it was for the agency itself I might not have based on the aggressiveness of tone.  I think this particular PR agency thinks all wine reviewers/writers are either paid or love doing things for free 24/7 or just because they are presenting them I’ll do it.  99% of all other PR agencies have had a very professional touch and have never made me feel I had to do something or they directed any piece I have ever written.  

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I don’t think anyone knows how many wines are produced today–but it easily 10x what it was a generation or two ago.  There are not enough publication or wine writers or videographers to cover everything.  And some wines receive multiple reviews and some of that is based on sampling programmes.  I don’t rely on samples and like the independence of acquiring wines on my own additionally and I am also gifted a good number by friends.  

I have looked at how I can cover more regions and varieties and am developing a method to review all wine regions of the world.  I have held back on samples when I get too full of one region because I have them staring at me on my review table and have been over assorted in some regions.

I have never thought I would only review one or a small handful of varieties or concentrate on one region.  Of all of the “specialist” I have met there seems to be a regret when doing so.  I think wine as a subject matter can best be addressed as a whole and not to only specialise in a region or two or only in a set of varieties.  I think for me it is the betrayal of my intellect if I only specialise in just one region.  Now for the people who do – it is their choice and I am not criticizing them but it is not my style or wish.

I have only excluded one variety in my sample policy and that is Petite Sirah.  I do not love Petite Sirah and it is something that I no longer want to do.  I still review every other wine variety except Petite Sirah.  I have had almost no comment on that choice.  I would love to see what people think.

Some people think all I do is review wine as my job–unfortunately–that is not the case.  I am sure I could produce substantially more content.  Being a full time reviewer is hard unless you have a site that produces ad revenue or other income streams.  

The only thing I can do is to continue to write and video and when I look at the blogger or vlogger sphere I am in rare company as I know I am top tier producer and that I know not every is producing at the same rate.  It is all about discover and finding patience with oneself and that others find in you as well.

Salute!

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2010, 2014, 2016 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Is there an Ideal Colour for Rosé? James Melendez

Rose

Is there an Ideal Colour for Rosé?

Well…. that is two questions:

Is there an ideal colour for Rosé: NO

Is there an idealised colour for Rosé: YES

I’ll start with the yes, first and foremost I do not believe there is one correct colour.  So many people get wrapped around a tree when they believe that a Provence coloration is the perfect and ideal colour.  That without the Provence pigment all Rosés are less than ideal.  Idealise other things that are worthy of it: world peace, cures for diseases and sensible work environments and great jobs to name a few.  Dramatic?  Maybe.  But many people believe in only one stylized colour–the very pale pink.

Why is this of concern or at least note?  Last month I talked with a large number of wine importers and distributors and a common theme was buying Rosé and concern of selling deeper hued Rosé.  I asked what the problems were with darker hues and it was that anything too deep in colour doesn’t sell.  Now the importers and distributors were not just from the US but also all around Europe.

I thought why should one style influence other producers around the world.  I think many consumers are seeking dry Rosé and I do think many writers and reviewers have over time had a love affair with Provence Rosé hence the influence does rub off.

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Now onto the raison d’etre for this article: Is there an ideal colour for Rosé: NO

I do prefer only dry Rosé – though I have seen pallet of the sweet pink stuff at a warehouse retailer near you.  I do think thoughtful producers are giving us good and sometimes great dry Rosé wines both sparkling and still.  I don’t get hung up nor should you on colour alone.  In fact, I love to taste multiples of the same variety Rosé and I can see that skin contact and hence the colour itself is affected–and there is an influence to the characterisation.  I do love a mid-hue colour that I call cathedral stained glass window.  And I also must declare that, of course, I love Provence Rosé – I never put down one style in place of another–I see beauty in many wine styles sans sweet wines when they are not dessert wines.

I do think wine makers someday will be freer to make the colour of Rosé the colour they want it to be and that wine importers/distributors won’t hesitate to make a buy.  I hope this article encourages you to try different hues of Rosé and you will be instrumental in that some day this won’t even be a topic.

Until then enjoy your Rosé the way you want to enjoy them.

Salute!

James

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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State of Wine Producers and Wine Promotional Groups in Regards to Wine Video and Blogs

I write this as a both a wine writer and videographer to both producers and wine promotion groups.  I think wine articles and video I create aren’t leveraged by the producer or wine promotion groups*.

What I mean by promotion is wine producers should maximize their investment in both the written form (blogs) and the video medium as well from people who write or video about their wines or about their site, facilities, events, etc.   After all many wine producers give samples and I think there is an expectation of a review.  While brands like Wine Spectator, Parker, Wine Enthusiast are often utilised for the point scores they give many more people who write about respective wines aren’t leveraged not even for their point scores let alone their content.  I do have a great number of wine producers who have featured me on their website, my point scores that I have given in tasting rooms, and tweet, retweeting and liking Tweets or videos on YouTube.  Out of over 2,300 wine videos I think only a small percentage take the opportunity to leverage content.  I have easily over 75% of what I have talked about not leveraged the brand I am reviewing–no Tweet, no mention and not take the time to recognise the content.  This is by no means a ‘please acknowledge me’ plea it is why not as a producer or a wine promotion group use this material—it’s free promotion and publicity.  I think many producers and wine region promotional groups are unaware of content–especially if I buy wine and it is not given by a sampling program.

Basically many online wine writers and videographers are giving away a valuable product for free. Here are so basic suggestions to have producer to leverage content that is about their product:

For Producers

  • Google Alerts – input your labels to see what might be out there
  • In addition to RT the content producers Tweet/video send your own out
  • Give a like and share the video – a meaningful touch to help video get a better return on search and it also shows support.  Producers are often aware of video but incredibly don’t watch the video of their product–even if the video content is positive
  • Subscribe to person who just completed a video on your wine – perhaps another video of your product will be featured
  • Add to your website under a “latest press” section – the accolade, a link to video or article
  • If you or your PR agency didn’t give sample–perhaps this person might be good to feature in future sampling drops
  • Bring up video in staff meetings and have people give a like a share

Here is for what wine promotional groups/trade groups to leverage content about their regions:

For Wine Promotion Groups

  • Add your region in Google Alerts – might be interesting how much talk is happening about your region or not; if not you have a great opportunity
  • Give a like of video and share video
  • List this in your websites accolades or press section
  • Follow producer on Twitter; there are many wine regions–a great way of showing support and engagement.
  • Subscribe to channel and see what they will be producing in future

And here is what wine video producers and wine articles/blogs can do to also promote content being produced:

For Video and Article Producers

  • Tweet your article; include the producer’s handle, PR agency (if they have one) and wine promotion group handle
  • Give a like to your video–you are allowed to vote for your own video – so take advantage of that and also all of your channels are allowed one vote–so use all that are available to you
  • Include information on producer in description and other information of interest about product or producer
  • Just because you published a video–your work is not done; having a vast bank is time consuming but it is also an advantage to have a wealth of information to retweet and re-promote
  • Continue to promote your video not just one time job but ongoing; just because you tweeted once doesn’t mean your community has seen nor does it mean that an interested party has seen it
  • Add to the respective playlists; playlists in YouTube are important; make sure they line with as many helpful playlist descriptors as possible; also you can enable an “auto add” function to search content and add automatically to playlist; and auto add’s will only search for exact information including diacritics – hence add one line with diacritics and one without
  • If they you built it doesn’t mean wine producer saw your content nor did the PR agency; you can send an email just incase they they didn’t RT or like your Tweet; I have had countless people contact me and I let them know I had already published
  • You can also add your video to any of your written article for a maximum impact
  • If you are producing videos–make them concise and easy to understand i.e. add a point score; make sure you do not have any file names in your title name (I see this often and instead of hitting play I run to any other video producer).
  • Videos should have an intro and outro
  • Video content should be edited; no one wants to see camera move around touch much, uninteresting or even irrelevant material; edit video for watchability
  • Play some music in video
  • Written articles–include photos that you have taken and if you have completed article–add it!

I believe that wine videos and the wine blogs and articles are truly not activated–what I mean by this is that a lot of content but there is relatively no community to support and collaborate with each other.  And I think many people built their content and expect people to just open it immediately; while opening content is a big ask—have a relevant title.  As mentioned above I have seen people using a file name instead of the subject matter of video.  No one will view these videos.  

When I say community in the video world it is people not reaching across the aisle and asking someone to appear in video.  I have asked many people to be in my video and they are not comfortable–hence I will only include video that want to be in my video.  Vlogging videos have been very popular and have perfect many aspects including collaboration to cross promote each other’s channel.

There is relatively little collaboration in the YouTube world as it relates to wine and it shows–it is a sleepy category but one where I think there is an opportunity for many more hits.  I use my example–my most popular wine video has nearly 5,000 hits and of course many in the double digits.  All of my top ten are north of 1,000 and say why not for an even higher percentage of my videos.  

So let’s get on this category and move it to another level–active engagement on all parties is needed for both the wine, wine article, video consumer to embrace the medias.  Built it and they will come is not a recipe of engagement but one of the current state.  I think if many beverage arts videos are nicely popular–why not wine?

*Example of a wine promotion group are groups like:

  • LoCA Lodi Wine Grape Commission http://www.lodiwine.com
  • Oregon Wine: www.lodiwine.com
  • Wine Country Ontario: winecountryontario.ca
  • Rías Baixas – www.riasbaixaswines.com/

And there are many more out there.

Salute,

James

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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James the Wine Guy Surpasses Jancis Robinson on YouTube – James Melendez

This is my first wine video: Murphy-Goode contest “A Really Goode Job” in 2009; this shows as my number 3 video in YouTube; I thought I better upload this video as it will disappear from the Murphy-Goode site 

As of today, Sunday 27-June-2016, I have surpassed Jancis Robinson for total clicks on YouTube – me – 248,446 and Jancis at 248,423.  While this may not seem like a large number at least in the wine video world it is very difficult to get in the hundreds of thousands and to surpass a well known wine personality.

While the number may be a small difference it is based on trending that this has been building over time and will continue to surpass.  Jancis has not published for at least a year–she continues to get clicks–my only assumption is that she may no longer be interested in producing wine videos.  I work hard and constantly on wine and video.  My clicks have been by effort and sweat.  Jancis has stated that she doesn’t think of wine video as a spectator sport.  I do think this sentiment truly reflects a negative view of wine videos.  I am a different generation than Jancis and have a very different view of wine and video.  Jancis has a traditional print perspective and I think both has not truly been tuned in on video and wine. I have poured over my own metrics as well as looking at other wine video producers for characteristic viewing behaviours.  I have a core belief in being flexible with video and comfortable with it as well as chief believer that my channel is about community.  I also believe that there is an appetite for vlogged style videos.  If beer, whiskey do well in terms of clicks why not wine.

I have written that previously that when Gary Vee exited at his 1,000th video the industry gave up on wine and video (though not everyone).  I think that there is plenty of room for more wine video content–there are too many demographics that one person cannot support all of them.  My demo is very different than Gary’s as example.  I too think some people have been very dismissive about me and my wine videos hence I created a video James…are you still making THOSE videos!?! and those who ask that question–my video content is for those who want to see it–perhaps there is jealousy?

I think many people give up prematurely on wine videos–and perhaps because there is a misconception in terms of click builds – ‘create it and they will come’.  Wine videos just like any other content needs to be promoted.  Also expectation weights in more than it should.  I will hardly be the first video producer who has said what you expect to be successful rarely is and that which you don’t have a great expectation exceeds it.  Also wine is one of the most unique products in the world today based on vintage, variety, region and limited product and this is both a challenge and blessing for wine video content.  And not surprisingly well known brands or subjects tend to do better than lesser known topics or wines.

Being a video producer means having a very thick skin–comments and those who exercise judgement against you or your comments via video are those who willing to try themselves.

Jancis has done well in my opinion in the YouTube sphere for not believing in it and have a high click rate.  She has succeeded but not truly being active.  Her column and written voice is well known and I think there is video consumer who is seeking video her video content whether it is current or not.

I have come from an opposite experience–not in any major column and having to build my community one subscriber and viewer at a time.  I have had to and will need to be experimental and flexible as wine video content is concerned.  I have had to also explain to the casual observer that not all wine videos are going to have a great click rate–and that wine video clicks are earned over time not in the first month of publish.  Wine videos are almost the opposite of all other video category on YouTube.

I continue this journey and who knows who I might surpass in the future–maybe no one else?  But in the mean time I keep my eye steady on the horizon and have a core belief that wine and video are a good thing.

Thank you for watching!

One of my latest videos on YouTube

Salute,

James

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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Evolution of Wine Blogging to a More Inclusive All Wine Media Front – James Melendez

I have thought for sometime that the standard wine blog is due for evolution.

The Wine Bloggers Conference is an event that I attend yearly (thought this year I may not be attending due to the logistics of getting there) – so close but yet so far away.  No I don’t own a car and the organizer is using Sacramento as their preferred pick up point–never mind that people are flying in from Vancouver, New York, Toronto and so fourth and there are no non-stops to SAC but there are non-stops to SFO.  Wine Bloggers Conference pays a scant attention to video and generally focuses on the written blog.  I have complained about and to no avail will not have my lobby video meet up.  I am sure I will see video friends there and we will chat.  I am doing this because wine video is not a subject that should be ushered into the hallway or lobby as if it is an unworthy subject matter.

While the European wine bloggers became Digital Wine Communication Conference in recognition that it may not be the standard written blog as the only way to communicate about wine online.  I have not seen a 2016 conference planned on the website–not sure if they are going to do one.  But I think there was that recognition of ‘wine blogging” as an evolving subject.

I write this because there is a community of people who scoff at someone like me who both writes and completes video on wine.  I have people who have said to me “James are you still making ‘those’ videos” To which I responded which of ‘those’ videos are you speaking of… I had to complete a video.

I have heard this dismissive statement and I think these ways of talking about video and in particular my channel in a demeaning fashion.

Even producers and those that promote wine have not been embracing.  Thought I do have a very nice community and certainly get invites and samples and sometimes site visits.  But I do get the distinct feeling some people would prefer that I write only.

I look at the beer, whiskey, even coffee and tea communities on YouTube and look upon with awe and wander.  I also point to the food community which is superbly active, engaged and engaging.  I have written about many times that wine isn’t there–I have not thrown in the towel–I think there are some interesting aspects to wine that make it so much more difficult than any other category.

Wine is different–one characteristic is vintage–few products have a vintage or at least the same way wine does.  I can look at my videos at popular labels get more hits –lesser known ones get less.  Wine behaves vastly differently.  When I attend VidCon the conference is for popular categories.  And the framework and even data points evolve popular subjects and even the way the YouTube algorithm is different for wine–not because it is singularly targeted–it isn’t.   For example, most videos that are released gain most of their momentum and clicks in the first week to two–after that it is trailer off time.  This is simple because some of it is about being current.  Wine is the opposite–it builds over time as there is someone looking for this content.  Wine has a great shelf life than other categories.

I have written about it before that some of the wine world hasn’t gotten over that Gary Vaynerchuk is no longer producing wine videos as he once use to.  I did challenge wine distributors of the value in just holding Gary Vee up to a certain light–as it doesn’t allow others to come up and only Gary could do this media well.  Gary had limitations in his demographic and content that is dated simply by talking about football games of days past.  Gary did ‘jump the shark’ when he was eating the soil in a vineyard.

I think that wine is so expansive–that we still don’t have the coverage for all demographics.  I see many people start and then taper off and discontinue.  I think YouTube probably has a whole rainbow of difficult video content that is “not popular” yet because the algorithm is only designed for ‘winning’ numbers.  I do think YouTube is interested in promoting it’s producer base.  I do think that they do at some point should look at tough categories and help to make them less tough–allowing talent to use a YouTube studio, algorithmic recognition of the lesser known categories.

I do see the evolution of just blogging as something that needs an evolution.  There are plenty of ways to expanding that scope–Vine, Periscope, YouTube and Vimeo to name a few.  I think the more successful wine writers who have or will explore other medias will be better able to give dimensionality to wine and that is a frontier that has been barely scratched.

When I do a wine video I publish on all my medias and reference in my playlists.  I do hope that the producer will at minimum RT the video on Twitter and post on their respective social medias.

I do think it is inevitable that readers, audience members, community members that we have developed will be asking/seeking more…if not those people may upgrade to other people.

I will be reaching a milestone soon on my YouTube channel in a few days–I’ll announce later.

What are your thoughts about all online medias?

Is the written blog about wine needing an evolution?

Are people reading at the same rate as they once did about wine in the blog format?

Drop me a line in this article or in the social media’s I list below.

Salute,

Salute,

James

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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There are Simply Too Many Wine ‘Days’ – James Melendez

World Wide Wine Day Rev

There are simply too many wine days–the wine days I speak of days marking Tempranillo, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel etc.  I am pro wine and for wine promotion.  I am for all of the organising bodies who have developed each of the days.  And I still think there are too many “days of” celebrations.

Not only are there too many wine days there are too many promotional product days from donuts to oysters to books from the known to the obscure.   I am a fan of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel (too name a few) and I am not picking on this beautiful varieties.  I created World Wide Wine day to recognise all varieties as a more inclusive “Day of” celebration.  I started this day in 2011 for each July 1.  The idea was to celebrate and focus on wine; all varieties, all regions and all styles–July 1 is a way to look back and to look forward–it is the middle of the year.  I thought there was potential but after half a decade I know there is little interest.  I do not think there is a tipping point.  I wonder if the varieties I just mentioned have the traction they want?  I would say probably not.  I think there is a severe fatigue on “Day of” celebration are so overwhelmed with a day for everything.  And with wine–as I saw on Twitter someone said “Isn’t every day wine day.”  I think there is merit to that comment.  I think it can be a day to remind someone about say Albariño but it may not necessarily make me open a bottle on this day–I may open on another day.  I also think there are many varieties that are wondrous and will never have their day: Nebbiolo, Negroamaro, Aglianco, St. Laurent, or Schioppettino amongst others.

My page on Facebook has a small “like” base of 500+ and is gaining at a higher rate than my own presence on Facebook (James the Wine Guy).  But I do expect that my own presence will eclipse World Wide Wine day at some point.

I think “days of” have a limited appeal and marketability–I don’t detract and on occasion I’ll open up a bottle on those days especially if I have a sample.  I do think thought that every day is a wine day.  So open up a bottle of what you want to open.

Salute,

James

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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