FohBoh – The Wine Community and the future of blogging

March 10, 2013

FohBoh web small

The FohBoh Wine Community website

It’s about four years ago that I joined the Open Wine Consortium which was later renamed the FohBoh Wine Community. Membership is about 5,951 when I checked today, so only a few short of six thousand people and/or companies.

The group provides a global platform for food and wine professionals and attempts to help them in their business. It’s a kind of network of people passionate about wine and the wine industry. I am a member but not a very active one. I update my page only very seldom.

As a (mostly enthusiastic) hobby blogger I have to manage my own time even more carefully. My day job requires me to be on twitter and facebook, direct the production of content for our company websites, video clips, write short stories, and coach our team to do PR work on social media. This leaves little time for my own existence as a food and wine blogger. Moreover, having spent so much time in front of a device, I just cannot help it in the evenings and prefer to have ‘time without gadgets’.

I constantly contemplate about stopping my own blog, The Man from Mosel River, despite the fact that when people identify me as “The Man from the Mosel”, I am thrilled and motivated to soldier on. Fact is that I would maybe be better off with a facebook page to which my twitter account “Man from Mosel River” could be synchronised.

I could become quicker, provide shorter inputs, but especially more pictures and video clips. My android hand phone would be the device where most of the input would go through, so no need for a laptop or anything bulky.

Nowadays professional wine bloggers have teams of writers, freelancers etc. to fill their wine blogs. Just think of Jancis Robinson, Dr. Vino or James Halliday. And as time goes by, I am getting slack regarding a regular up-date of my blog. Consequently my numbers are going down as well. I also might have to ‘re-vamp’ my Man from Mosel River, make it more funky and have moving pictures.

Headlines in newspapers and magazines muse and contemplate about the power of food and bloggers. At the same time it is so easy to leave feedback and comments on sites such as trip advisor. Why bother with a fully fledged blog?

Hmmm, I might do something else. But the cracks in my armour are getting slightly bigger. I have to think. As always bear with me.

What would you suggest, by the way?

PS: What I like is my archive which has become quite big over the years and allows me to trace sunken memories and paths of my past.

Blogging from a blogger’s desert

August 24, 2009


The conference banner outside the BICC

Another week without a blog entry from me. There is a simple explanation for it. I attended an international conference in Beijing, China, which was a great success also for the host, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS).

But whereas blogging from rural Australia was just an infrastructural challenge, this time the great firewall of China prevented me from communicating and reaching my blogging platform:

It prevented me also from accessing my facebook and twitter accounts and various other sites of interest, for instance the Open Wine Consortium (which uses a NING platform format). Needless to say that youtube was also down.

I am not a political blogger, just a wine and food enthusiast, and by training an agricultural economist which was the main reason why I attended the 27th International Conference of the Association of Agricultural Economists (16-22 August 2009) titled: “The new landscape of global agriculture”.


Experts on the dais

To say it from the outset, the conference was a full success. It was just great. I cannot but praise our Chinese host and the organizing committee as well as the Chinese agricultural organizations involved in its preparation and conduct.

The highest level of the Chinese government gave full support to the event and thereby to a field in public policy which had been largely neglected by the global financial institutions and many national governments alike during the last two decades. Vice premier Hui Lianyu, a native of Jilin province and a Chinese Muslim (Hui nationality), officially opened the event.

The great firewall of China, however, prevented me from publicly heaping praise on the Chinese government and the organizers, because I could not access the internet. Well, to be precise I could access some sites of the internet. We also had wlan-wifi connections during the duration of the event but the censorship exercised by the Chinese government did not allow for life reporting. A shame, good things could not enter the bloggosshere. There is a cost to such kind of censorship policy. China misses a chance to improve its public image.

Moreover, I wonder how many of the world’s top creative people would bother coming to a place where they are cut off from the world, their creative batteries, their inspiration and their audience for so long and from where the results of creative processes could not immediately find their way into the world wide web. This is another part of the costs incurred by the censorship policy.

We all know that the control of the internet by governments is a rat’s race. The whiz-kids, digital natives and techno freaks of this world, the Davids, to speak in biblical terms, are magically drawn to places like China in order to show and test their skills in beating Goliath: the Communist government. And therefore it is no surprise that there is ample support out there for trapped bloggers and others to circumvent the censors and jump over the great firewall of China by using proxy servers, and software designed to avert control. Alas, we are not alone in this tech-world of the 21st century.

Congratulations again to our Chinese partners for hosting such an important international event. May your government realize that it has more to gain than to fear from co-operation, sharing and the reciprocity through the inter connectivity of the world community and finally give up the censorship of the internet.

And then there is the saying of Mahatma Gandhi:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always triumphed. There have been tyrants and autocrats, and for a time they seem to be invincible but in the end they always fail.”

It’s better to change when there is time for it. The communist party of China has shown wisdom in the past when it came to points of no return, for instance when they tolerated that farmers dissolved communes on their own accord and without prior sanctioning of the party. Let us hope they can draw on this wisdom also when considering the censorship policy.

First Anniversary: Open Wine Consortium

March 3, 2009


The Open Wine Consortium is now one year old. Congratulations folks! On this innovative social network platform more than 3100 wine aficionados from all around the world, some of them from the wine industry (grape producers, vintners, wine-makers, as well as wine and food marketing people), some of them just passionate wine lovers and consumers, regularly meet and exchange ideas and information.

When I became a members, I honestly did not know what to do out there. And frankly speaking, I still do not grasp the full potential of this new way for social exchange. It also somehow conflicts with my writing and reading habits on the internet, and of course with my blogging work. I just do not have the time to do both.


There is even more out there in the virtual world. New things which I have not explored as yet. For instance there is a group called “Twitter Taste Live”. On this platform you can tweet your latest tasting notes. I will try it right now for the first time.

And? it worked, hurrah. Web 2.0 in full swing. Here is the proof.


I guess I will have to extend the hours of the day from 24 to 28, or something like it.
I suggest: try it out.

US Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma County, California

October 25, 2008

Today, the American Wine Bloggers openend their conference in Sonoma County, California. I would have loved to be there, instead I am here on the island of Taiwan teaching a course on “good governance in land administration”. In fact I love it here; it’s one of my “regular events”. Participants come from all over the world just as at the wine bloggers events.

Though it is somehow very tempting, I must admit. If you know that all these interesting wine bloggers convene and share their experiences, hmm. But one day, I will be there and see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears and feel and taste the wines with my own taste buds. Alas, there is the internet and information can be accessed.

Among the many sponsors of the Sonama event is also a group I have joined recently: The Open Wine Consortium. It’s an interesting bunch of people, very dedicated to the promotion of wine and wine culture. Though being a rather a new member, I have not yet interacted much with them. But I will. It’s just to tempting. Log on to the conference and experience it yourself.