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.


2012 in review

January 2, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 72,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Red and white in the snow

December 21, 2012

R and W in snow

Without words!

Merry Christmas to all my readers


2011 in review

January 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The many realities of life

January 10, 2012

The contrast between my life on the farm during the few weeks a year in Glenburn and my day-job as a “promoter of freedom”, as regional director for Southeast and East Asia in Bangkok could not be more striking.

There is a desk job with extensive travels in Asia on the one hand and a holiday “recreational program” on the farm, under the blue and at times not so blue sky in the fields, paddocks and the vineyard, on the other.

One day I study the Weekly Times, a local farm magazine, and read about farm gate prices, noxious weeds, cattle markets, vegetable growing, the newest farm machinery and the export projections for mutton and lambs. I talk to neighboring farmers about the weather, the hay harvest and beef prices. Vintners and wine-makers tell me about the last vintage and the prospects of the Australian grape and wine industry in the years to come. I learn about the current challenges, the successes and failures, the passions and sorrows of residents in our street, Two Hills Road, as well as the ups and downs of rural life in general.

The next day I am back on my desk in Bangkok and answer e-mails, make phone calls, study various progress reports, regional political analyses, accounts and financial documents. I read about parliaments, parties and policies, about the US influence in the Asia region, economic growth, the China factor and so on. I talk to project officers and partner personal, to political analysts and social activists, to Asian parliamentarians and business people.

My two realities could not be more different, I guess.

It takes some time to get used to either of them. I usually immerse myself in farm work the first few days after my arrival on Two Hills Vineyard, partly to forget the burdens and realities of my bread-winning work in Thailand- partly to experience myself what it means to sweat in the vineyard and concentrate on slashing the grass in the paddocks.

I very much enjoy the physical work, the exhaustion, the pleasure after the completion of a task. I can see the results of my efforts almost immediately. This is very satisfying and it is in stark contrast to my professional work about institutional, political and social change in complex transforming Asian societies in the region I am responsible for. These change processes take time (ages), in fact often much longer than our project planning permits and a very different kind of patience, persuasion and perseverance is required than in farm work.

In both I find conditions which I cannot change: the hail for instance which destroys my grapes or the change in global commodity prices, the fall of a government or the call for early elections. And in both I concentrate my efforts on the issues I can influence. I try to do “a good job”, try to be professional, diligent and hard working.

I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to experience these diverse realities; that I feel the pain and the joy which goes with them, and which reward my efforts – at times – or punish me for the lack of it and/or “bad” judgment.

The time on the farm together with family and friends is invaluable. It clears my mind as a beer clears a wine-makers palate. It refreshes me like a lime soda when I jump of the tractor. It connects me to people I love and treasure. It is proof that life is just beautiful.

Back to work now in Bangkok.


Thrown off the blog

September 21, 2010

Confused goat in the vineyard

Man, do I find it difficult to get back into my blogging routine this time. The longer I am prevented from writing for my beloved blog, The Man from Mosel River, the more difficult it is to get started again.

How can this happen after more than three years of blogging? Was I not until very recently extremely disciplined and full of stories?

Instead I feel sheepish and stupid now. Moreover, I have all this material collected, brochures, tasting notes, newspaper clippings, photos and so on, but I cannot make sense of it.

I do not find the entry point. “Where is the door”, I hear myself shout?

My concentration is gone, withered away as old grape leaves in late autumn.

I lost the famous red threat.

Bear with me, and give me some time to find my feet.

They must be somewhere.

PS: I took the above photo in the City museum of Paris in July this year.


A wine blogger’s weekend

March 6, 2010

Flower on my terrace garden in Bangkok

Finally, the weekend has arrived. I am stuffed today: boy what a week that was. I have not produced a single blog entry, which has not happened for a long time in my three years as a wine and food blogger. I thought of myself as having developed the discipline and technique of writing and uploading a piece every two/three days. I was always full of stories, which waited in my head to be written down. But not this week, this week my tank was empty. During the last week I felt chased. Not even the few bottles of wine I drank with my meals could relight my desire to write a blog entry. But today is Saturday, the sun is shining and my terrace is laughing at me.

Of course I have a few draft stories on my computer, but most of them require some further research, and somehow one has to be in the right state of mind to write them up and load them on. And the prospects for having enough time are not too good. Next week I am off to Vietnam and Cambodia. After that I have some intensive workshops in Thailand. The two-week holiday for Songkran, the water festival of the Thais, I will spend on my vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria. I will be busy doing post-harvest stuff, working the land on my new tractor, celebrating with family and friends, therefore, no time for writing. And after that I am off to Germany for 10 days meetings and consultations. March and April will be two lean months as far as blogging is concerned, I guess. And sure enough, this will give me a vast cornucopia to draw on, and the energy to regale you with stories from the vineyard.

I hope you stay tuned and continue to visit the “Man from Mosel River”. Cheers!