Saturday Oct. 31st was THE day of the EWBC conference. We actually worked hard going from one session to an other one, getting in touch with each other and working on important topics: what is a social wine brand? What is the impact of the social media on wine travel? How can wineries answer the challenging issues brought by social media? What kind of relationship can wineries and wine bloggers build? What is the future of the social media in the wine industry?
Of course none of us brought a definitive answer to any of those questions. But a few ideas emerged of the lively and sometimes contradictory discussions while some problems were clearly addressed. Wineries in Europe are not really set to receive consumers and travelers. With the rise of the social media, can they afford to turn away a consumer and risk their reputation through a blog post (Winery X could not receive me for a tasting: how rude!), a Tweet or aFacebook notification (Don’t go to winery X)?
The way we use social media was also widely discussed. Should we have a very large and indiscriminated circle of friends on Twitter and Facebook or be more selective? Should we all try to be Gary V. or be ourselves? Should we make money with our blog or social media use or should we be more “conservative”? The session on “Monetising the social media” did not provide THE answer but helped clarifying the various issues: a commercial endeavour (nakedwines.com, a retailer such as Bibendum Wines or a wine travel site) will make a commercial use of the social media and they’re right to do so. But what about a wine blogger? How should (s)he use his/her influence if (s)he has any?
Doug Cook, founder of Ablegrape.com and now head of the Twitter Search, comforted a more selective approach of search engine and developed what he called “search engine friendliness”. He gave us useful tips on how to get good search engine results: trying to get the widest traffic might not be the best strategy as the web visitors are not qualified or relevant to the topic of our site or blog.
After so many hours of work, we needed a nice break which Charles Metcalfe, the “wine singer”, provided through a tasting of amazing Portuguese wines. We then ended the day at the Eleven Restaurant on their beautiful terrace overlooking “Lisbon by night” and nibbling on their delicate food.
EWBC might be over technically today. But there are still many things that happened we’ll discuss in the next few days. EWBC is just the once a year meeting allowing us bloggers, wineries, Facebook and Twitter friends to meet face to face and talk about social media, blogging and wine but it keeps linking us over the year until the next conference. The discussion will keep going on through social media between us and next year, when we’ll meet again (hopefully), we’ll have even more topics to talk about.