Drinking In and trying to Define Wine 2.0

There sure are a lot of people using the "Wine 2.0" label to help position their products and services. Nary a caution was issued at the Wine 2.0 get together in San Francisco on  Friday. All the speakers, including me, were in the mood to embrace, rather than really critique, this buzzword that seems to mean….something…if not most things.

The event itself was terrific. Cornelius and Jeff from RadCru.com did a damn fine job of creating a nice venue where a hefty collection of wine folk gathered. The event was at Club Sportiva in San Francisco. As part of the event, OnTheFly.com, an online mens outlet that sells beautiful clothing and men’s gear and schwag, opened a well appointed showroom where the wine was flowing. Through the doorway into the showroom of Club Sportiva, surrounded by Ferrari’s, Jags and more Ferrari’s, was the seminar room. Here two panels of speakers sounded off on their relationship with the wine 2.0 phenomenon and sounded somewhat sage in the process.

I think my only real  interesting contribution to the second panel, of which I was a part, was pointing out that the wine 2.0 phenomenon may be no more complex than a new set of technologies by which wineries communicate their story and product line to consumers, something they’ve been doing with some success with different technology long before the Internet. This would be the less reverent view of the wine 2.0 phenomenon. The most reverent view of this thing we celebrated on Friday would be the view that Online Social networking around wine will change the way all Americans understand the beverage and lead to a startling democratization of the beverage that will lead laggards to the partly in the dust.

The highlight of the panels was clearly Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV. Gary’s a star now. It appears he knows this too and I think that knowledge has made him an even better advocate for the kind of full frontal wine enthusiasm he is spawning via WineLibrary TV. This is an excitable man who balances cynicism with pure love for wine. He pulls no punches, is a good performer, a good advocate for wine and one of the smartest young men in wine today. And he cracks me up too.

This Wine 2.0 community is a small one; that is to say, those behind the technology driving the new ventures seem to know or be aware of one another. About half way through the event I stopped counting the number of folks who I’ve had previous email or comment conversations with or spoken to on the phone  but finally met face-to-face for the first time that night. I got the impression this was the experience of many of the folks in the room. What’s hard to tell is if I was in the middle of a gathering of the future brain trust of the American wine industry. It’s entirely possible. But one can’t be sure. Much will depend on the success of the various entrepreneurs that were in the room.

The next Wine 2.0 event, assuming the RadCru duo hold it again next year, will be bigger and better. Everyone I spoke to agreed this second gathering was much better and more useful than the first. I’m looking forward to it. These annual gatherings of wine’s tech-happy folk will be a good gauge of just how fast new technology and ideas catch on or slide by the wayside.

15 Responses

  1. TrevR - June 3, 2007

    Good stuff Tom, sounds like it was a great time. Sorry we missed it!

  2. Ken - June 3, 2007

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the insight, I found out about this too late to attend. I hope to be part of this gathering in the future.

  3. Dr. Debs - June 3, 2007

    Thanks for this report, Tom. For those of us who weren’t there these are invaluable!

  4. JB - June 3, 2007

    Wish we could have come. Next time…sounds like it was interesting and productive.

  5. tom merle - June 3, 2007

    My dear friend Paul Mabry and I got into a brief exchange recently on his company’s blog. He took MKF and Barbara Insel to task for stating “that almost all direct sales begin in the tasting room.” (in his rebuttal, Paul conventiently left out the word “almost”).
    Call me old age, but I agree with those research titans. No question, Wine 2.0 and the Internet add so much to extending both the reach of wineries and the creation of new communities of wine drinkers (i.e. loyalty). But it seems to me that the impact of wine 2.0 is greatly enhanced by finding ways to get particular wines into the mouths as well as into the minds of cyber surfers. To augment such traditional techniques as winemaker dinners, newer approaches to introduce the next generation of tech savvy individuals to the wine itself must be developed. Offline and online go together.
    In my estimation, the single best practitioner of such a joint effort is Twisted Oak and the brilliant marketing mind of El Jefe. Who works the social networking modus operandi better? He cajoles virtually anyone who posts wine commentary on the web to request samples. Then out goes Pimp Daddy from H.Q. in the Sierra Foothills to connect in real time and space with the cells of wine lovers in various metro regions around this huge country.
    And then there is the Roshambus….

  6. tom merle - June 3, 2007

    In other words, take the tasting room on the road (I used to say “bring the mountain to Mohammed, but references to the Prophet have fallen out of vogue; and anyway, it gets the original maxim backwards)

  7. JB - June 3, 2007

    it gets complicated…as a web-only retailer there are state licensing issues that sometimes get in the way of hosting events for the purposes of getting customers to taste. this is when strategic alliances (with wine bars, restaurants, other venues) become important.
    we completely agree that old fashioned and new fashioned must find some sort of happy meeting point. but it is tricky and not a no-brainer. lots of creativity will need to be involved, and el jefe seems to have no lack of that!

  8. Kathleen - June 3, 2007

    I agree with the reverent opinion on Web 2.0.
    I’m the assistant director of a Wine Enthusiast Meetup group in Albany, NY. New people join online every day and we meet monthly at a different local restaurant to drink wine and socialize.
    It’s a great way for newcomers to the Capital Region to meet new friends and wine lovers to find fellow enthusiasts.
    I have a review of Vintage New York on my blog, it’s a Hudson Valley winery operating a tasting bar and store in the SoHo neighborhood of NYC. I’m sure that the opportunity to ‘pop a few corks’ before buying wine is a big draw, the fact that the sell NY State wines is a boon to our state’s agriculture and wineries.
    Wine and Stories from the Vineyard Blog – http://www.myspace.com/gamay

  9. el jefe - June 3, 2007


  10. Jake - June 4, 2007

    I think someone has tried to hijack your content. http://blog.broksas.com/2007/06/03/wine-20/trackback.aspx

  11. Jake - June 4, 2007

    sorry, I was trying to force a trackback http://blog.broksas.com/2007/06/03/wine-20/

  12. Jake - June 4, 2007

    lol.. wow! Do you think you can add an edit comment feature.
    Hijacker’s URL for Post http://blog.broksas.com/2007/06/03/wine-20.aspx

  13. Viva-Vino Biowein Blog - June 6, 2007

    Nach Web 2.0 kommt Wine 2.0

    Was mag sich wohl hinter wine 2.0 verbergen? Interaktiver Wein? Tom Wark vom Fermentation Blog (englisch) machte mich auf diesen neuen Hype aufmerksam: man wisse nicht genau, was es sei, aber es msse sich irgend etwas hinter dem Begriff

  14. Mark Spangler - June 7, 2007

    I would love to get some of these events organized around the East Coast for us ‘Yanks!
    Great report Tom!
    Mark, WineMarketer.com/ClassicWines.com

  15. Kathleen - June 14, 2007

    I just stumbled upon this great video of the 2007 Nantucket wine festival.
    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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