jamie goode's wine blog: More on Wine Future

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More on Wine Future

I followed the recent Wine Future conference via a combination of Twitter and the live feed on the Catavino blog. I’m so glad I didn’t go. By all accounts, several of the speakers misjudged the event and simply used their slot as a promotional vehicle for their own ventures. That’s old thinking.

‘Old thinking’ media treat their audience as mildly stupid. It’s a mistake. Most of the emerging generation of media consumers are savvy enough to spot a commercial agenda at some distance. They hate this sort of self-promotional spiel. ‘New thinking’ is honest, open and, having grown up with spam, is acutely sensitised to marketing messages delivered without permission.

Old thinking ignores competitors and has an ungenerous spirit. New thinking acknowledges the competition, enters into conversation, and has an inclusive spirit. New thinking realizes that there is far more to be lost by showing potential readers that you’re a competitive twerp than there is to be gained from such ungenerous behaviour.

Old thinking is pushy. New thinking waits its turn. Old thinking sees competitors as enemies. New thinking realizes that their competitors’ success can benefit them too, because it expands and gives credibility to the category.

Kudos to Catavino and Wine Conversation for helping bring Wine Future to the rest of us, even if – as we thought might be the case – the conference largely failed to live up to its billing.


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an item of riddles. Did they or did they not contribute information of value to the wine world?

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Justin Roberts said...

Hmm, I'm not sure what Anonymous is trying to say. I followed WineFuture online and for the most part it was taken up by sales pitches and the dissemination of information which is already out there.

I thought the conference was supposed to be about the FUTURE. Throwing a few scenarios into the mix would have been very interesting. Where did they think we were heading? Teasing out trends which the participants believed might gain traction (and why they believed so) would have been interesting. Most of what I saw was not...

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Andrew Halliwell said...

I'm not sure if the event lived up to it's billing, as I didn't read up on it before I went.

It is true that some of the speakers mis-used the event to sell themselves and push their own agendas. But there were also some interesting presentations, e.g. "Emerging Markets". I also enjoyed the final question and answer session - with pretty much everyone on the panel having something interesting to say.

The best bit for me though was the opportunity to try a lot of great wines, such as Dr. Loosen, Marques de Grinon, Viu Manent, Clarendon Hills, Chateauneufs de Pape etc. etc. all under one roof and also the chance to meet some MWs and other interesting people. The Parker tasting was interesting too - Mr. Parker came across well and it was good to try 20 high-end Grenaches, a fairly niche tasting.

I live in Rioja and I worked some time on our stand in exchange for a free pass, and under those conditions, for me, it was definitely worth it.

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At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Jo Diaz said...

The old school and the new school are working their way into the playground to find a common ground.

I still see a lot of playing King on the Hill, though.

Some of us are taking the time to mentor those who don't engage in King on the Hill, and it will be they who rise to the top.

Life with competition is great, and keeping that as an internal mechanism is what makes cream rise to the top.

Eventually, all of us from the old school will be dead (yes, we will), and those who have played fair all along the way, like Robert Parker, will be the new, next stars.

Just be true to yourselves, and you'll inherit the landscape.

I'm telling it like it is, because it's beginning to be a bit boorish reading about how inept Robert Parker is. He's not. He's earned is stripes.

I won't defend all stars this way, either. Bob Parker is a very kind man at heart. He's just told people what works for him, or not. Something we all do.

Yes, he came out fighting, because he, too, probably got sick to death of those who easily want his power and influence, and have been jabbing at him... He lost his patience. He's human.

You will all eventually inherit the earth, so planting seeds now will guarantee the future of your positions. There's room for you all (If you're a good writer)... And I'll just keep on blogging my passions, and wish the best for you all.

Great little blog post, Jamie. Thanks.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Jo Diaz said...

Jaime, just as an afterthought, I've not read anything from you that is negative about Parker. It's come from others that I'm reacting to.

You have been around for a while, and have been playing fair. My thinking was predicated by going on with your links, to see how the expectations at the conference weren't met.

From the looks of Andrew Halliwell's comments, an attendee, expectations are in the eye of the beholders.

It's the expectations that let us down. Going into any conference, some things will work, and others won't.

Every time I put one on, I line up my conference with stars. Some do better as public speakers than others. If someone doesn't hit my personal expectation level mark, I write it off. Whadaya gonna do? Nothing is perfect, but the learnings of what did work is what one had to take away.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie is too famous to comment on other peoples blogs.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments are a bit hypocritical - when you were panel chair at the Sauvignon Blanc conference you gave the man from Winegrowers of Ara free rein to promote his own winery, rather than discuss clones which was the title of the session.
Exactly the "self-promotional spiel" you are now critising.

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous saying "jamie is too famous" is clearly jealous.....

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of that Roger Hargreaves book, Are you a Roundie or a Squarie? Roundies like to splash in puddles. Squaries don't like water. Roundies like to taste raindrops. Squaries don't like nasty weather. Roundies like to go to Wine Future. Squaries don't like conferences... and so on.

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bitching about a conference because you weren't invited to it is all very playground in my opinion. I would have expected better of you, Jamie.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie is getting a bit too big for his boots, methinks.

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous ryan said...

I do think this was a conference about wine future, and I do think this lived up to it's name. If you look at what the output is, it's a reexamination of what we see as our priorities.

While there was plenty of BS, there was too a ton of good conversation taking place in the meantime between meals, and talks...

Could it have been better? Without a doubt. Will we get something out of it? Most definitely

That said, there is plenty of room to improve.

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Gabriella Opaz said...

I'm with Ryan on this. It is without a doubt that I was tired of typing "Our company is great because...". However, there were plenty of people who were insightful, purposeful and worthy of the podium.

All conferences, the EWBC included, needs a launching point to know what worked and what didn't work. The best example I can use is "assuming" that a staff at a 5 start hotel would know how to serve wine. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that this was not the case, motivating us to do a "Wine Serving 101" course for the following day's tasting. I can't completely fault the organizers for not giving this same talk to the speakers, as I'm not convinced they were entirely clear as to what the final outcome would be.

Live and learn. If the same level of self-promotion happens the following conference, okay, we've got a justified gripe, but for now, I would say that they did a stellar job for a 1st year's run.

At the very least, many people were thoroughly inspired by some of the talks, and many gained some great networking opportunities. My suggestion for the wine community: let's encourage solutions rather than narrowing our focus on the problems.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Robert Joseph said...

As one of the speakers at Wine Future, I can see both sides of the question. Some people undoubtedly missed the point of the event and both failed to address the future and focused - in some cases shamefully - on paddling their or their organisation's canoe. But Gary Vaynerchuk - the star of the show - was someone many of the audience had never even heard of. Gary was shooting way over many people's heads in his Web 2.0 presentation, but he was brilliantly entertaining and compelling. Ryan Opiz was great on the same subject and Tim Hanni not only revealed some fascinating stuff about the way we all actually taste - but also made some controversial suggestions for the way the wine industry might evolve to attract a wider range of drinkers. And there were plenty of other good things there for anyone who was really listening... Ultimately, it was the proverbial curate's egg - with enough good bits to make up for the disappointing ones...

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Ben Smith said...

Perhaps it did live up to its billing of Wine Future, as so many of us used a 'futuristic' means of following it (by reading live blogs online) rather than sitting through the whole thing in person.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Robert McIntosh said...

I'm with the "the most interesting stuff at conferences rarely comes from the stage" crowd too - although Gary Vaynerchuck, Ryan Opaz and Robert Joseph did a great job to try and prove that wrong. However, even these guys probably got more out of the informal chats with the 'right people' who were in the audience during the breaks.

There is a lot to criticise about the way certain talks were delivered, but I guess that it was to be expected when you put such personalities in a room together.

Thanks for keeping everyone on their toes Jamie, no-one should rest on their laurels in the current climate so let's choose to work together to keep the discussion flowing.

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really quite disappointing Wine Future. As you said, old thinking is still fresh in the wine industry. New generations are a threat for their professional status and they hold that position strongly.
There were no answer to the topics and in my opinion it did not achieved the expected professional level from that panel of wine industry gurus.
Disappointing, won't go next time. Wasted money and time.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Lizzy said...

I was at WineFuture. Totally agree with you!
May speakers talked about present, many about past, very feew about future.
It's old thinking, really. But very widespread.

Lizzy (from Italy)


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