An event report from Wine to Web
Vinexpo Bordeaux 2019
The future of wine
Vinexpo is one of the largest B2B trade fairs for wine & spirits from all over the world: The trade fair venue itself already invites you to linger due to its ambience. But there is so much more to discover within the facility, restful breaks are not to be thought of at all. Even though, according to long-time exhibitors, the show itself is getting smaller and more manageable, it's still an experience in itself. Not only great wines are presented here, but also the future of wine production itself is discussed. As is well known, wine growing is subject to climatic changes. But not only viticulture, also wine journalism & sales have to face new digital challenges. But what does this mean in practice?
The fact check
Climate change & wine production
The changes in our climate can no longer be denied. Agriculture and viticulture will continue to face many challenges in the coming decades. Vines are very sensitive plants, strong temperature fluctuations can cause great damage during the ripening process. In the future, water supply for vines will become a challenging task. To address climate change, sustainable development goals must find their way into agricultural production & viticulture. At the same time, the question of how wine production can adapt to changing climatic conditions must be addressed. A possible answer to this question can be found at the fair a few steps away at a descendant of one of the oldest and largest winemaking dynasties in Austria.
Biodynamic wines from Sepp Moser from the Krems Valley
The Moser family has made a name for itself in viticulture a long time ago. The first ancestors began to engage in wine production centuries ago. Around 1950, Lenz Moser (father of Sepp Moser) made a name for himself with his way of raising vines. The present winery in Rohrendorf was founded in 1987 by Sepp Moser and is now managed by his son Nikolaus. I came to enjoy the Grüner Veltliner Minimal vintage 2016. A surprising bouquet and a sonorous finish. What a Grüner Veltliner! However, it is not only in terms of taste that this wine is convincing, but it is also fascinating due to its completely biodynamic cultivation method:
This is where the name Minimal comes from. An unfiltered and spontaneously fermented palate pleasure of special class! So can biodynamic viticulture make a positive contribution to sustainable production? This question can be answered with a resounding yes. All the more exciting is that biodynamic wine production also makes the vines themselves more resistant, giving them greater adaptability to climatic conditions. Biodynamic viticulture therefore not (only) assumes responsibility towards future generations, but contributes to sustainable production.
Wine journalism in the digital age
The lecture by the well-known wine journalist Wolfgang Junglas offered an interesting overview from ancient to current wine journalism in digital times. The focus of the presentation was above all on the change processes to which wine journalists are subject. In the recent past, they have often been the only ones to offer specific information on various wines. But the most powerful sales tool in the world, word-of-mouth, has also been "digitized":
Social media & other digital media have arrived at all levels of buyers and are changing the landscape of wine journalism itself. The increased digital orientation has thus not only left its mark on (online) purchasing behavior:
Wine journalism has also changed as a result. While knowledgeable wine experts are certainly ahead in terms of content, the power of democratic or digital media should not be underestimated.
The main effects of the (of course not complete) switch from print media to digital media are above all the speed of information distribution and the democratization of journalists toward "new" critics who became known through their popularity on social media & co.
Trends in wine journalism
A global trend is also the ever-increasing personal focus in semi-professional wine journalism. One can literally speak of a boom of wine platforms on the web. The following is a brief summary of the most important online trends:
Here you can find, for example, specific newsletter offers, reviews or even recommendations for certain wine regions.
In our fast-moving times, a move away from complexity towards simplicity can clearly be observed.
Those who pay attention to this online and are also technically positioned will also have a higher reach and thus more readers.
Professional wine journalism cannot be replaced, of course, but can very well be enhanced by online media. Information and testimonials on various wines are in fact tailored to specific target groups in these. Due to the personal focus (on certain preferences, price ranges, etc.) of different wine websites, comparison sites & forums, wines also often find more appeal among a broader mass. Many wine journalistic reports are often written in a purely technical language and are thus not as easy to understand for a large part of the end consumers as personal and target group-oriented contributions.
Wine Online Marketing as an independent alternative
Coming from a wine online marketing background myself, I can not only confirm these trends, but would go much further. Personalization is certainly one of the big buzzwords of the next few years. Google has been used for quite some time now. This frequent use has also changed the search behavior and intention of users. Google reacts to this through algorithmic updates in order to make its own service offer more and more personalized for the user. In addition, digitization also produces many winners, i.e. competitors. Those who use digital opportunities have a clear advantage. This creates both new opportunities for (high-quality) wine production and new challenges.
However, this personalization is also accompanied by a local focus: If you want to be in the fast lane internationally, you also have to optimize your web presence locally for search engines. This not only comes across as professional, but also has a good effect on the Google ranking. So if you want to increase awareness & sales beyond regional borders, you have to ensure excellent architecture online. This is because Google not only assesses user feedback signals, but also the basic structure of the website. This not only gives wine blogs & co new opportunities, but above all wineries themselves.
Port wine from Quinta das Lamelas
Portugal has a long and traditional history in wine production. The first thing that comes to the mind of the wine connoisseur in connection with Portugal is port wine and Vinho Verde. But with over 250 different grape varieties, Portugal has much more variety to offer. But let's stay with port, at least in this article. One of the highlights of Vinexpo was the port wines of Quinta das Lamelas. The traditional Quinta is located in the Douro region and since the year 1836 run as a family business. Here the traditional varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Sousão, Malvasia Fina and also Gouveia are processed. I could hardly believe my luck when I was allowed to taste 200 years of port wine history.
This dream come true started with a 10 year old white port, followed by a 20 year old, then a 30 year old and finally the tasting was rounded off by a white port over 40 years old. The same luck again in red. The tawnies were, of course, in no way inferior to the white ports. Tasting several decades of a port wine in a row is truly a journey for the senses. Especially when the proud artist behind it is present and eagerly watching his own reaction to it. Because he was not the only one involved in the production of the older port wines: These are the work of 2 generations of lived port wine tradition
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