How to understand media and digital innovation in the wine industry? At the EWBC Digital Wine Communications Conference held this year in Izmir (Turkey), it was by going back to The Source.
by Juel Mahoney
This was the fifth European Wine Blogger’s Conference, held in Izmir in Turkey, and for the first time the focus was not on the blogger as such – which can become navel-gazing, introspective and a bit insecure at times (says me, the blogger) – but about the broader idea of digital communications. There has even been a subtle change in name to the Digital Wine Communications Conference.
There are serious conversations going on at the moment about wine and digital. And when I mean serious, I don’t just mean on panel discussions; I could hardly walk across the hotel foyer without falling into a conversation about The Future of Wine Communication. By the time I got to the next seminar I had already discussed how the wine industry got to this point, the differences between social media in France and the US, and met a follower of our twitter feed. Intense.
With over 280 participants from over 40 countries, the discussions were eclectic – in an out of the seminar rooms. Turkey itself is a young and dynamic wine country, although as Dr Jose Vouillamoz , the grape geneticist who has co-authored Wine Grapes (along with Julia Harding and Jancis Robinson) explained, it has been the cradle of wine culture for millenia.
Return to the Source
The keynote speeches by master wine communicators on the theme of “The Source” laid the groundwork for the ideas in the days to come. There were three different riffs on the theme from Andrew Jefford, Randall Grahm (Boony Doon) and Christian “Documentally” Payne.
If too much information becomes noise, then it was a real pleasure to start the conference with the meditative speech from Andrew Jefford on the theme of the Conference, “The Source”. Andrew Jefford may be considered one of the giants of traditional wine writing but he has a profound sense of the social media and digital landscape in which we are communicating. He says:
“There’s a sense in which all communicators increasingly work for a single employer: the internet. It’s not an employer in the conventional sense, in that we still need to find our own income streams and then package and sell our own products, but the internet provides direct and potentially equal access to those who are looking for communicative help and entertainment.”
Whether you work in wine, or just love talking about wine, I urge you to read Jefford’s speech. After the speech I went onto twitter to ask if there was a transcript so I could read it again when Documentally asked me from the stage (via twitter), would a video work for you?
It was a non-stop 3 days. Nearly every seminar and presentation at EWBC provided some sort of insight into communications, communications and wine, or Turkey and Turkish wine.
My personal thoughts on #ewbc: Why has social media been such a natural fit with the wine industry? I believe it is because it is a social business, wine is a social drink (and if it isn’t seek help), and the best people on social media are often already quite social themselves, putting the “social” into the social media. For the past ten years it has been about people connecting online. The next ten years will be about using digital to make more things happen offline. That is why some of the best ideas at #ewbc were from people well met In Real Life.
Check out the #ewbc twitter stream where new content is being created almost every hour.
#EWBC Key Note Speeches