Live Wine Blogging is a fun, albeit extremely hectic, aspect of attending the Wine Media Conference. If you are new to the conference, or a seasoned vet who wants tips for making the whole speed blogging thing more manageable, we’ve got a whole host of tips to make your experience go more smoothly and to be a win-win for you and the wineries involved.
As first-time attendees of the Wine Media Conference (previously known as the Wine Bloggers Conference), we were more than a little intimidated by the prospect of the live wine blogging sessions. A single hour to hear about ten wines, taste them, get their elevator pitch and manage to produce some sort of semi-coherent content regarding the wines. Ack!
You can view our results here, with the Wine Media Conference 2018 Live Red Wine Blogging recap and the Wine Media Conference 2018 Live White Wine Blogging recap. (Previously known as the Wine Bloggers Conference, but I’m embracing the new name with open arms!). We definitely improved our game from day one to day two, but next year in Australia we are hoping to create even better output.
The Absolute Most Important Tip for Live Wine Blogging
Nancy Koziol summed it up best when she said, quite simply, “SPIT!”
Every. Single. One. of our five interviewees echoed this sentiment. Even when you spit, that is a LOT of alcohol to go through in a single hour! It definitely went straight to my head!
Make sure you sip/spit and dump!! – Drinky LaRue
How to Get Decent Pictures During Live Wine Blogging
You’ll note here that I said “decent” not “good,” and definitely not “excellent.” Sufficient? Reasonable? Those are better words!
Here’s what the experts have to say:
Embrace the chaos. It is difficult to frame a good picture as the winemaker is running around the table with the bottle and ten people are fighting over it for a photo. So, just aim to feature new angles, new people, etc. without stressing over the composition. Considering the whole “live blogging” thing, you audience is likely to forgive you for slightly-less-than-stellar photos. – Caitlin of Sips N Tips
Be quick! Other people will be shouting for that bottle! If you can, grab a photo of the winemaker holding it as they walk to the table! – Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles
Both Drinky LaRue and Jeff of Food Wine Click! recommend editing your photos, even if it is a fast edit:
Always edit your pics before posting. – Drinky LaRue
Learn how to use your phone camera and quick photo processing. I use Snapseed. At least learn quick adjustments to help your photo “pop”. – Jeff
Tame the Visual (and Mental) Chaos
It’s a chaotic mess but so much fun. Make your posts less chaotic by getting a portrait-orientated pic of each label, preferably sitting on the table. – Nancy Koziol
Editor’s Note: I have yet to dial in my photography game, but keeping the photos interesting is a challenge, bottle shots look like bottle shots at the end of the day. I like the suggestions to get a photo with the winery rep, as well as making sure you’re always taking photos oriented the same way. I’ll have to learn to edit better, too!
How to Actually DO Live Wine Blogging
For this, we’re going to go with our most veteran blogger for his tips and process. Jeff of Food Wine Click! has attended the Wine Media Conference three times now, so has practiced live wine blogging six different times.
super nice albarino from Uruguay, true to the variety, so tasty #Uruguaywines #wbc18 #wallawalla #speedtasting pic.twitter.com/R7UX6ZeScS
— Jeff Burrows (@foodwineclick) October 7, 2018
Here’s his process:
- Get the winery to send a photo bottle around ASAP while they are pouring and talking.
- Try to get a photo that is more than just a bottle shot – the winery rep., the pour, interesting view of the wine.
- Super quick evaluation of the wine.
- Quick, Twitter length write-up. Find something positive to say (not always easy).
- Deep breath, sip of water, next!
Next up is Crushed Grape Chronicles. Robin has been to this rodeo twice now, so has four live wine blogging events under her belt.
My tact this year was to snap a photo and then start a twitter post. I opted to not do tasting notes (I mean that’s what everybody was doing right?) and instead listened to the winemaker and jotted the notes on the wine that they wanted to share; the vineyard, the soils, the wine making process. I wanted to share their story of the wine.
Getting in the tags is important! If only I had realized they were on the back of the badge!
Editor’s Note: I like this approach. By the end of all of the wine tasting, it’s really hard to say more than “is wine. tastes good.” If you know the basic format and content type you want to post, before you start, it’s easier. Plus, if you’re not trying to come up with a tasting note immediately but instead tell the story, you have a lot less to try to mentally process!
Nancy has also been live wine blogging four different times and offers us some insights on different posting platforms:
I have done Twitter and Instagram stories. Personally, I find Instagram Stories better because the image is a great starting off point. I generally do a very quick, very abbreviated note with quick nose, quick palate, something I really notice and some sort of comment.
She goes on to say that her Insta Stories include some gems… and some duds!
Drinky LaRue figured out how to leverage the content from one event and one platform, to be useful on multiple platforms:
My process was to pick up key words about the wine (i.e., female winemaker, pineapples, pricing), take a pic, then post to Twitter. Later I posted to IG.
Editor’s Note: I also chose to combine the social media posts into roundups later, to show what both Jeff and I thought of the live red wine blogging and the live white wine blogging.
Caitlin of Sips N Tips (and myself as well) learned quickly to narrow down your goals:
Pick a medium and stick to it. The first day of live blogging (the reds), I tried taking a photo on my phone for my Instagram Story, also snapping a picture on my Sony camera for my blog later on, while also taking notes in my notebook on the details of the wine. It was chaos! I learned my lesson quickly. The next day I live blogged the white wines using only Instagram Stories. I took the photo on my phone and added notes right on top of it. It was an easy reference point when I looked back at my story, too!
Other Wine Media Conference Thoughts
Live blogging is my least favorite event, but it gives the wineries a chance to polish their elevator speeches
Editor’s Note: So true! It was chaotic, but it also introduced us to SO many wines!
@upshotwines. Red blend. Represents Sonoma county…started with zin, then merlot, riesling similar to viognier with syrah. Rodney Strong was a professional dancer in NYC. #wbc18. $28 #allthestories @rsvineyards pic.twitter.com/uwZBouCbSj
— CrushedGrapeChronicl (@CrushGrapeChron) October 5, 2018
A Summary of the Tips & Tricks
- Know what you plan to talk about for each winery in advance. Price point? Tasting note? Story of the wine?
- Pick one, quick platform
- Don’t forget the social handles are on the back of your name badge
- Have fun!
- Consider using your initial posts to create more content for another platform later, after the event
I’d like to end on this note, from Crushed Grape Chronicles
Have fun! It can be stressful for everyone. Don’t get too serious and revel in the chaos! – Robin