Takeaways from DrinkLocalWine.com Conference: Missouri Wines – Day 1 Overview
It’s been a whirlwind two days that began on Friday, April 1. It all started in early morning light as I zipped out two tweets:
VintageTexas: “On plane to drinklocalwine.com Missouri wine conference in #stl Lead social networking session 2day and Twitter Taste-off tomorrow #DLWMO”
VintageTexas: “Est. over 100,000 Twitter impressions so far for drinklocalwine.com 2011 and #MOwine follow #DLWMO”
As I exited St. Louis’s airport (STL), my warmth-loving, H-town brain was confronted with a blast of northern chill. As I waited for the hotel shuttle, my nearly numb fingers could barely type my tweet:
VintageTexas: “Man it’s cold up here in #STL! Didn’t sign up for this Need #MOwine, soon. #dlwmo”
There are some out there in the Blogosphere that will infer that conference organizers Jeff Siegel and Dave McIntyre picked this date for their third DrinkLocalWine.com conference precisely because local wines are nothing more than an April Fools Day enological hoax. However, only a few seconds after my tweet, Jeff assured with:
DrinkLocalWine: “#DLWMO — No April Fool’s”
I can also assure you that our new “locapour” movement will eventually join “locavore” as it’s new conjoined twin. While it will admittedly take some time [and admittedly some education], these two forces have the ability to intertwine and grow into an interesting, no EXCITING, part of the evolving American food and wine culture if given the chance.
Social Media for Wineries
By one o’clock Friday afternoon, Rick and I were presenting: Social Media – 2.0 for Missouri Wineries. Social Media 2.0 is the use of the Internet and assorted web-tools to promote wineries and vineyards, and to sell local wines. It’s the great equalizer no matter if your winery is in California, Missouri, Texas or Timbuktu. From our experience in Texas, social media is a way for wineries from any locale to promote themselves and build a relationship with their customers. Our Texas wineries finally realized and admitted that the mainstream national wine media didn’t care about their wines, but they found out that they could craft their own message and get the word to interested consumers that quality local wines are being made in their region. How, with Social Media. That’s how.
As I now look back at the Titter feed from our social media presentation, it’s interesting to see what the attendees found to be their takeaways. For example, Dave McIntrye said:
dmwine: “@VintageTexas says “word of mouth spending” may render wine critics obsolete #wine #DLWMO”
Here, I suggested that wine consumers are listening to their online friends more than major wine critics as evidenced by one comment I received from young taster at the DrinkLocalWine.com Twitter event in 2009 –“Who’s Robert Parker anyway!”
During my presentation, Rick caught the question that I asked the audience and tweeted:
RickRockwell: “@VintageTexas wants to know if anyone has said he’s nuts yet. So far, not yet. #dlwmo [Good!]
The Wine and Food Extravaganza
To continue the DrinkLocalWine.com event timeline, the media gathered Friday evening for a reception and dinner after the Social Networking seminar. We were bussed to Annie Gunn’s for the full monty of local wine and food experiences. Restaurateur and Missouri wine aficionado, Glenn Bardgett, assembled nine, fine Missouri wines (ten if you count the sparkler served on the bus ride to the dinner venue) and a special pairing menu prepared to work in combination with the local Missouri wines.
We had a giggle or two when we asked our server about two of the appetizers (fried oysters and smoked jumbo prawns). We asked, “Were they locally sourced from the mighty Mississippi?” After all, it flows like a pulsing artery along Missouri’s eastern shore. “No”, she said, but we were assured that the smoked trout was from the nearby Lake of the Ozarks and the lamb sausage and chops served as the main course were all certified “Locavoric”.
I jokingly asked for assurance that I couldn’t overdose on hybrid wine because every one of the Missouri wines was made from hybrid (non-vinifera) grapes. Mike Wangbickler retweeted me:
mwangbickler: RT @VintageTexas: “I’ve been assured that I can’t overdose on hybrid wine; if I do, I can give the universal sign and they will bring I-V of CA cabernet stat! #dlwmo “
After dinner we regrouped back at the hotel in a hospitality suite to share a nightcap (or two, or three) with fellow conference goers. The nightcap consisted of a selection of Texas and Missouri wines. As I recall, there were also a few wines brought by DrinkLocalWine.com conference attendees from their native homelands of Maryland, Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma. The last comment that I remember making that evening was about a new wine descriptor for well aged Norton wine suggested by Todd Kliman, author of The Wild Vine:
VintageTexas: “12:10 am saying goodnite with a bottle of 2001 Norton with a sent of “feral cat?” Or at least that is the mass opinion at #dlwmo (#mowine)
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