The power of social media

September 7, 2012

As you know, I usually do not write about negative things. Wines which I did not like, I do not report about. Similarly I deal with restaurants I visited and dishes which I found wanting.

In more than 5 1/2 years as food and wine blogger, the Man from Mosel River has only twice issued a critique. In both cases it was about wineries I visited where I felt ill treated. One was about Punt Road Winery in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. The second about Weingut Von Othegraven in Kanzem, Saar, Germany.

In both cases senior management of the wineries in question has apologized to me. Punt Road got back to me within days, Von Othegraven respondedn within two weeks. In both cases I have accepted the apology. And in both cases I was invited to visit again. The wine-maker of Von Othegraven offered a wine tasting to make good for the sloppy service I encountered when visiting the place last July.

I find this very remarkable. It shows that in the time of the fast internet and social media, businesses cannot afford not to respond to queries. This is a very positive thing. Consumers have not only purchasing power but also the power to influence the public perception, the image of a company.

This experience confirms that my cautious use of negative critique is justified, and effective.

Cheers everybody


Food blogs: The culinary world acknowledges bloggers!

October 28, 2010

A rather Spartan breakfast

I was very pleased today when I read in the Wall Street Journal that food blogs have come of age and that the culinary world acknowledges food bloggers. Great news indeed. Finally, one could say.

Bruce Palling is writing that food bloggers knowledge of haute cuisine is quite remarkable and that the impact of food blogs is significant. For the first time the New York based James Beard Foundation includes in its food writing awards (Bruce calls it: the “Oscars of the Food World”) not only mainstream print media but also blogs.

Bruce cites a couple of outstanding food blogs. For instance Ms. Aiste Miseviciute, a 28 year old fashion model from Lithuania. She writes about what models eat (Who said models don’t eat?). Moreover, Bruce brings example of bloggers eating regularly at Michelin star restaurants such as Felix Hirsch (from Luxembourg, a neighbour so to say for us people from Trier) and Andy Hayler. Their blogs receive 400 respective 2,000 unique visitors a day! Amazing.

Nowadays, food bloggers are even invited by restaurants to eat free of charge and then write about the food and the eating experience as a marketing strategy. This reflects the fact that bloggers are trusted sources of information and as such a valuable avenue for advertisements.

Bruce Palling ends his essay with the following words:
“We should all be grateful that there has never been such a profusion of fascinating accounts of fine dining so available – and provided free of charge”.

Although I cannot claim to have as many visitors as the two gentlemen above, it somehow fill me with pride to be one of the club. I guess motivation to continue blogging should not be a problem for a while.

PS: I have learned to appreciate the Wall Street Journal as a newspaper, although I never played in my life at any stock exchange. I am somehow averse to gambling.


The mighty wine bloggers

June 10, 2008

Two Hills Vineyard: newly planted Chardonnay

Blogging is all in vogue these days. Millions of people write in their free time entries into their electronic diaries or online journals as they are called.

The founder of “Vinography” a reward winning wine blog, Alder Yarrow is the pioneer of wine blogging. His blog won various awards over the last years. In 2008 it received the American Wine Blog Awards for ‘best overall wine blog’ and ‘best writing’; in 2007 the same award was bestowed on him for ‘best wine reviews’. Vinography won accolades by the Salon des Vins de la Loire Wine Blog (2007) and Food Blogging Awards (2006, 2005, 2004).

Vinography is more than a private blog (www.vinography.com), it is a professional undertaking with various distinguished contributors. But apart from very interesting information about wine, wineries and vineyards, food and everything related to wine, Alder also collects blogs and he assembled a list of wine blogs, which you can find on his website. This list is of course not complete. An undertaking like this is never completed, there are always new people starting their blogs out there, and it is tedious to find them.

The list of about 600 or so odd blogs and wine podcasts is a very interesting piece of information.

There are about 65 winery blogs and 43 wine podcasts, some of them quite entertaining. The remainder are blogs in various languages. English is of course the most common language used by wine bloggers; the next most prominent is Italian followed by French. There are even wine bloggers writing in Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that some of these bloggers are pretty organised and that they do things together. For instance the German wine blogger organise so called “wine rallys”, where they write about a common theme selected by the members and hosted by one of the bloggers where all pieces produced about this theme are collected, analyzed and propagated.

The Vinography list of wine blogs according to language goes as follows:

404 English
41 Italian
36 French
29 German
22 Spanish
11 Portuguese
5 Chinese
4 Dutch
2 Japanese
2 Hungarian
2 Norwegian
1 Indonesian
1 Slovak

There is a wealth of information to be found about wine, wine regions, wine-making, etc. Some of these blog are humble private tools for enjoyment and distraction, others are professional instruments for marketing, information, analysis, presentation and sale.

Check it out yourself and have fun. It’s worth it.