Michael Wangbickler on April 16th, 2009

Wine 2.0A few weeks ago I attended the Wine 2.0 event in San Francisco at Crushpad. The folks who run Wine 2.0, Cornelius Geary, Smoke Wallin, and Abdi Humphries were kind enough to provide me with a blogger pass to the event. I had originally intended to blog live from the event, but it proved too distracting and hell, I wanted to have fun tasting wine with my friends and shooting the breeze. My friend Lisa de Bruin has a funny photo of me in my attempt.

While I believe the focus was on targeting consumers, there were a fair amount of trade there as well. It was definitely well attended. Following the event, I had several thoughts on the event and Wine 2.0 in general:

  1. The folks at Wine 2.0 have done a great job in courting bloggers. They have made a point to make them feel special, with tactics such as free passes and hosting a “bloggers lounge” at the event. Consequently, these sorts of events have been well attended by wine bloggers. Those wineries who are interested in increasing their online presence should take note.
  2. The concept of bringing together wine and technology is a good one. It was definitely the most high-tech tasting event I’ve ever attended with both wineries and tech providers. They also attempted to use social media to generate interest both at the event and with those who couldn’t attend. I’m not sure how successful this turned out to be, but seemed a good effort. One of he coolest things was one of the wineries teleconferencing with the winemaker in Australia.
  3. There were a few hiccups with organization. The registration process seemed quite disorganized with the folks behind the desk having to refer to multiple hard-copy lists. This all caused a slow-down at the registration table and security had to hold people outside until the bottleneck was cleared. I froze my ass off, since I didn’t expect to wait on the sidewalk. For a technology advocate, it would make more sense to me to streamline the process and automate it.
  4. It would seem to me that Wine 2.0 and their events would be perfectly suited to Millennial wine buyers. In fact, I often advise my clients that these venues would be perfect for them if they wish to target that market. I was surprised, however, to see that the crowd attending this event seemed to be more mixed with the “usual suspects” and not at all many Millennials. Somewhere there is a disconnect.

My Conclusion? The jury is still out. I think that the folks at Wine 2.0 are heading in the right direction and have the right idea, but I think that they could still use a little more work on both promotion and execution. Forward thinking wineries would be wise to at least establish a relationship with the organization and get in early with a group that clearly has a lot of upside.

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