Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

What makes a wine great isn’t a number or a score

March 17, 2019 Comments off
03182019 FD wine art 1

Steep hillside vineyards near Bolzano, Italy, illustrate the lengths to which wine makers will  go to produce a memorable bottle of wine. Photos and story – Dave Buchanan.

Please indulge me while I share two separate conversations I heard recently.

The first from an acquaintance who recently returned from a late-fall trip to Napa Valley.

He and his wife, both discerning wine people with an appreciation for California-style wines, were visiting friends who introduced our couple to a fairly new but already successful winemaker.

During that initial conversation, the three quickly bonded and soon the winemaker was inviting his new friends to visit his winery, which normally isn’t open to the public. During a late lunch after touring his vineyards and winery, the winemaker graciously opened a couple of bottles from his personal library.

No sales pitch, no pressure, simply a gesture of friendship at our friends’ interest.

The wine, said my friend, “was  a Cabernet (Sauvignon) and was simply stunning.”

Not surprisingly, at least to me, our well-funded friends brought a couple of these bottles back home to Colorado.

The second conversation, similar but with its roots 6,000 miles away, began when another acquaintance, this one a wine importer from Denver, remarked how he had met “too many to count” winemakers and their representatives while attending a wine festival in Verona, Italy.

“Almost everyone implored me to visit their winery and hear their story,” this friend recalled. So my friend, an impulsive sort, decided to take advantage of a couple of invitations.

“I saw some amazing estates and some tiny places where one family did all the work,” he said. “And mostly I tasted the same wines there that I tasted in Verona.”

But while sharing lunches and dinners in out-of-way bistros and private homes, he also got an insider’s peek at how Italians view their wines and its role in the everyday life. He gladly paid the extra baggage fees after being gifted a few bottles of Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Here is where our stories converge.

03182019 FD wine art 2

Nothing says ‘Welcome’ better than a friendly sign outside a neatly run winery.

Both men said that after arriving home, they invited over some friend to share the wines and hear their stories.  And both, unknowingly but in similar words, told how the wines showed well but somehow something was missing.

“It’s not that the wines were less than great, they just weren’t that great, not like I remember,” said one.

“Everyone said nice things about the wine and were entertained to hear about how the winemaker’s grandfather had saved his wine from the Germans during World War II by hiding it under the stable,” said the other. “But to me, it just wasn’t the same wine.”

I was fortunate to taste both wines and both were way above what I normally drink. So it probably wasn’t the wines that were lacking. It was, both men affirmed, the experience of being there that made these wines memorable.

Seeing the vineyards, walking through the cellars, listening to the wine as it ages in the barrels, sharing a man’s or a family’s story. This, in great part, is what makes an unforgettable wine. Fortunately, both of these man realize that and neither is in any way disappointed by the wines.

“It’s always expectations versus reality,” one mused. “I know it won’t be the same once I get home but I want so much to share the experience.”

Today, social media (and extra baggage fees) allow us to share, from a distance both special and temporal, some of that experience. Still, it’s but a tantalizing taste of what wines are, what they can be, and what they mean to the people who make them.


New wine blog from Rivetto a welcome addition

May 5, 2010 1 comment

After listening for several hours last February to a panel discuss the impact social media such as blogging, Twitter and Facebook are having in today’s wine-marketing world VINO 2010 in New York City, and then recently reading The Italian Wine Guy and his comments on a similar panel at VinItaly, I was pleased to receive a new blog from Azienda Agricola Rivetto in Italy’s Piemonte.

Italian winemakers have long been pushing to get more of the U.S. market, and after hearing comments at VINO 2010 and VinItaly that younger Italians aren’t drinking as much wine as past generations, it’s seem now more than ever those Italian producers are looking to fill that gap through the U.S. wine market. But until the Rivetto blog, the only Italian winemaker I know with a blog is Susanna Crociani from Montepulciano.

Susanna is a delightful person and very talented winemaker, as you’ll discover by reading this blog by our good friend, well-known wine blogger and Italian wine lover Susannah at Avvinare. Susanna Crociani said during VINO 2010 that her blog helped increase her business noticeably. Not only her wine business but here agriturismo, as well.

I also read Franco Ziliani’s Vino Al Vino blog but I feel that it’s more news oriented, not necessarily something written from the heart and eyes of a winemaker, as are the blogs by Susanna Crociani and Enrico Rivetto.

So why don’t more Italian winemakers post on blog sites? Maybe, for one, it’s time consuming and there’s never much rest in the winemaking or grape growing business, as you’ll also find out by reading Enrico Rivertto’s blog entries. But also by reading Enrico’s posts, you get a real idea of who he and his family are and what they are doing.

It was interesting, too, to discover his blog was presented to an international journalism audience at a conference in Perugia and was described as “an example of wine marketing best practice.” Enrico also engages the world through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

Enrico’s comments: “Wine producers with blogs in Italy are really few, I think you could count them on one hand; I believe it’s a good way to bring the consumer closer to the complicated world of wine, making it easier for them to understand what lays behind and inside the glass.”

Those comments really hit home for many wine lovers. And winemakers, too, who want their customers to know what goes on in the vineyard and the winery. That’s probably every Italian winemaker I’ve ever met, and after hearing how blogging helped Susanna’s business, it’s almost a given for any winemaker who wants to get their name out to the public.

My feeling is, if any producer, whether it’s wine, cars or legislation, tries to hide the process, there probably is something wrong with the final product. It’s fun and refreshing to read blogs from Susanna Crociani and Enrico Rivetto. Let’s hope more Italian winemakers join the social media world.