I attended a tasting last night in St. Paul where about 20 wine lovers gathered to taste barrel samples with the winemaker. The young wine, a Pinot from Wentzel Vineyard, showed a lot of potential for being an interesting wine once it’s blended and bottled late next year.
Nothing about this gathering was out of the ordinary except in the way the attendees came to be invited. We all are members of Alan Baker’s Rat Pack at Crushpad who are part investor, part collaborator and part customer; welcome to the world of micro cult wines, Wine 2.0 style.
So it occurred to me that this kind of “high-touch”, online communities who form into occasional face-to-face gatherings, is an element of Wine 2.0 that I haven’t yet touched on. Everyone in the room was there to taste some of “their wine” and talk about how it is being shaped by the winemaker; a really interesting example of wine education and collaboration facilitated by the internet. These kind of gatherings will be more common as the lines between “professional” and “enthusiast” are blurred by places like Crushpad.
More established wineries can also benefit from the synergy between online communities and real world gatherings through blogs, podcasts and even old school groups like wine clubs. All they need to do is plan an event and show up with some wine to taste and an educational attitude. Examples might be a blending session with the winemaker or barrel tastings. The sales will come after customers become “part of the family.”
That’s high-touch from a Wine 2.0 perspective.