Monday, May 26, 2008

UK Blog Fest

In my last post about the LIWF I mentioned that I happened to run into lots of interesting people at the show.

Whilst I'm sure most of the people I spoke to had interesting stories to tell, I did not know them well enough to make much of the 5 minutes we had together beyond trying to tell them the story of my wines.

On the other hand, having got to "know" them over the last few years by reading their output, the vast majority of the most interesting people I spoke to happened to be other UK wine bloggers.

What was interesting to me was the fact that last year none of us might have bothered to seek the others out, or maybe even present ourselves as "wine bloggers", but this year we are joining forces, proud of our medium and even getting some benefit from it.

Maybe it is my own experience alone, but it feels like this year marked a BIG change for wine blogs in the UK wine trade. I think I might propose that next year Brintex host a UK Wine Bloggers Area, where we wine bloggers can hang out and meet those who regularly read our blogs. What do you think?

In the three days of the show I bumped into:

Peter May; The Pinotage Club
Peter was kind enough to come to the stand to meet me. He was meeting up for lunch with other contributors and wondered whether I wanted to come along. It was great to meet "Mr. Pinotage" even if he failed to turn up with the fedora I hoped he would be wearing.

Thank you Peter for some great comments and for insightful questions. We are still due our own catch-up!

Douglas Blyde; The Daily Wine

Douglas thought he could sneak by my stand, but unfortunately for him I make up for an absolutely dreadful memory for names with a pretty damn good one for faces, and having seen a photo or two of him on his site, he was snared!

I really like Douglas' reviewing style, often somewhat cruelly direct, but I'm sure not undeserved. He turned out to be a much mellower, polite and reserved person when face-to-face, but pretty much as I had pictured him.

Keep investigating Douglas, we need more individual and insightful reviews like yours!

Andrew Barrow;
Jeanne Horak;

Andrew and Jeanne turned up together which was fun, a bit like a reunion of our visit to Vivat Bacchus. I suspect that the LIWF was a little overwhelming for Jeanne, but hopefully she enjoyed it (?).

Jamie Goode; Wine Anorak

Jamie was far too busy to stop and taste (if you read his blog you'll understand why), but he did "pass by", so I think it is fair to add him in (he did seem rushed, and that is saying something by LIWF standards).

And since the event I have also heard from a blogger that I didn't manage to meet as he too was stressed out on his stand, but was kind enough to leave me a note:

Colin Smith; Grapefan
Good luck with your Diploma!

Thank you to all the bloggers for helping to make this a much more interesting, and personal, show. I hope those who stopped to taste with me enjoyed the wines and the chat, and I do hope we can all plan a bigger UK get-together in the near future

I wonder whether we might even create our own, blogger-led tasting for consumers in the near future. What do you think?

UPDATE: Damn! Forgot to mention Olly Smith. His own 'regular'-ish Hot Bottle email seems to be on-hold, but I think Olly should DEFINITELY start his own wine blog as I honestly think he is one of the most genuinely entertaining and funny people in the wine trade at the moment. Olly, we still need to speak about that business about the loo!


Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Hi Robert

It was good to see you. Re a bloggers space at LIWF, seems a good idea. Its a shame that Stormhoek imploded as in previous years they've had internet connections and may have been willing to sponsor. I'm sure Brintex would be delighted to rent space but not sure they'll offer it free...

BTW - pics of our lunch are at;f=1;t=015803

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Forgot to mention that by complete coincidence I was seated next to Douglas Blyde at the Amorim faults seminar. As I lowered myself into the seat he read my name badge and introduced himself...

Never saw either Andy or Jamie who I know by sight

Robert McIntosh said...

thanks peter - nice photos

as with blogging, it is good to see the faces to match the names we chat with so often

Gabriella Opaz said...

How fabulous Robert. I'm really excited to hear that UK wine bloggers are starting to feel the weight and power of their medium.

Although we are lone soldiers at our last wine fair, Alimentaria, unable to find our crew, we did feel that wineries were taking us more seriously than they ever had before, going so far to say, "Ah, I've read your site." It's a great feeling, and I can only hope for more of this good vibe to continue for all of us in the future!

Jeanne said...

LOL - I'm afraid you saw me withing 5 minutes of arriving at the LIFW and I was still feeling a little disorientated a) by changing from my "day job" into a person wearing a press badge; and b) realising that I had forgotten my nice pocket notebook for tasting notes at home! I promise that I loosened up a bit after we left your stand :)

Andrew and I had a ball - thanks so much for hosting us so graciously at your stand. After that, I led him off to explore South Africa - Springfield was a huge hit which I was glad about as they have been one of my favourite estates for the past 10 years.

We also bumped into Douglas but I sadly missed Peter. Ah well, next year :)

Douglas Blyde said...

Warm words - thanks. They come as a welcome relief after Jay Rayner said some horrid things about my blog!