More personal connection, less snobbery - Impressions from Wine 2.0
First and foremost, I should start by saying that I began my career as a wine enthusiast in the “Wine 0.0 - Wine 0.5″ era. It was 1989, I had just graduated from college and my boyfriend and I stopped off at a very famous winery on Highway 29 to try their 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon…my first introduction to something other than the wine coolers my parents used to drink. There was no “e-commerce”, no “e-mail” and certainly no Gary Vaynerchuk, so my experiences of learning about, tasting and purchasing wines were based on published ratings, tasting room visits and some word of mouth recommendations. I can also remember feeling somewhat intimidated in those early days - I encountered plenty of “e-go” - so much lingo I was unfamiliar with, few places to go to educate myself, a fear of choosing the “wrong” wine and a certain level of snobbery about what were considered “good” wines.
I was thinking about all these early wine experiences as I reviewed the evening’s agenda, listened to the panel discussions and surveyed the room of attendees. How times change! Look at the technology that brought us all together at the event - email, websites, blogs, GoogleMaps and cell phones. Look at all the companies building and aggregating content, developing technology solutions, bringing unbiased wine reviews to the masses, finding ways to attract the next generation of wine consumers and collectors and fighting the good fight to open up the direct to consumer channel all over the country.
And much of the conversation I heard was about getting to know customers - who they are, what their preferences are, how to incent them to join a wine club and how to keep them coming back and buying wine. There was discussion of how best to connect with customers - what medium, how frequently, what kind of information to share….and all without a hint of snobbery. Look at the success of someone like Gary - tasting wines and broadcasting his reviews - good, bad or indifferent - bucking the establishment in a way that appeals to a very broad audience who look to him and others like him for real opinions on wine that have nothing to do with conventional and established ratings systems. He speaks a language and utilizes a format that’s breaking new ground in this industry - a welcome breath of fresh air.
I think I like this Wine 2.0 era….it’s about using technology to give us all equal access to the information we need to educate ourselves about wine, it’s about giving us choices and access to the wines we love (no matter the price, producer or varietal) and it’s about opening up the world of wine to the next generation to enjoy.