I am developing a split personality. I am not quite sure where this blog is heading. It started out as a way to track our wines through the year after harvest, but it seems more of a Social Media commentary each time I post to it!
Each day I am amazed how much there is to learn about social media and story-telling, and the communication vehicles that are available. Today I just watched the launch video for Google Wave, and the technological advances were mind-boggling. How I put that together with my small steps in Twitter and Facebook I'm not sure yet. What I do know is that all this stuff is converging , and it will get easier day-by-day for the user to communicate with people interested in their products (in our case, wines obviously). I am also learning that there are good and bad ways to use these tools. I guess the single most important learning is that one cannot use these media to 'push' your product at people. There is no better way to turn them off. But, if you can share valuable and credible information with the internet community, the folk who like what they see will contact you. People often say that social media takes too much time. My view is that the the 'time' bit is correct, but not the 'too' bit! Who would not want to talk directly with their customers? There is no doubt we are getting tour booking and winery sales from these initiatives. Not a lot, but growing slowly. Just as important are the on-line relationships I now have with wine lovers all around the world. We share information about our wines, other wines, images, experiences and our locations. It brings us closer together in a relationship that certainly has a commercial element to it, but in which the commercial side follows on from a meaningful and more comprehensive relationship based on information exchanges.
On the wine side, we had a bit of a bad week last week when we had a blend of Pinot Noir all ready for bottling and the labels were a 'no-show'. Luckily we found out about that before we had pumped the wine (13,000 litres!) into the tanker for transport down to the bottling plant. So, just put a layer of protective argon on top of the wine in tank until the labels turn up. Argon is a gas that sits on top of the wine, and does not dissolve in it. The gas forms a protective layer between the wine and the air. Still a bummer to lose the bottling date. Now we need to wait until another one is available; hopefully not too long as we have export customers waiting for the wine
Went for a stroll in the vineyard to get over the stress (mine was not as bad as Winemaker Carl's though!), and cheered myself up when I saw how good the 2010 Pinot Gris, is looking - as the image above shows. I often get asked about the differences between Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and the answer is not a lot. The name comes from the fact the berries are not as dark as Pinot Noir. They are grey in colour, not black and Gris is simply the French word for grey; as is Grigio in Italian. That said, the berries are quite dark this year, but we will separate the skins from the juice quite quickly so the wine will still be white.
You have all read my earlier grumbles about the cool weather slowing ripening in older posts. Well the last week has been great with a warm, dry start to autumn, which just as well as we are seeing colour changes in the poplars now. The grapes won't be far behind. Every warm day is a big plus. In the winery we are setting up the equipment ready to handle the harvest; destemmer, ferments, tanks, etc, so the excitement for crush 2010 is building!