I have been involved in the Spanish wine business for 33 years, first as the export manager for three wineries, then as the managing director of the US subsidiary of a Spanish winery group, Bodegas & Bebidas. I’ve been the managing director of the Rioja Wine Exporters Association since 1994. Part of my job was handling international PR and press relations for the Rioja wine district until 2006 when the Rioja Regulatory Council assumed responsibility for it. We continue to work as lobbyists to defend the interests of our members as well as provide services and industry information to the wineries.
Why is wine blogging relevant to you?
I’m about to undergo a career change and want to share my 25 years of experience and knowledge of the Rioja region with people interested in reading an insider’s view of the people, places and things here (wine, food, tourism).
Besides, blogging seems like a lot of fun!
What is the main difference between print and wine blogging?
As someone very familiar with wine writers and print journalism, I think “print” makes it hard to have an immediate, ongoing dialog with your readers. They are passive, unless you’re addicted to the Letters to the Editor section of a given magazine. Blogging offers immediate feedback and the chance to reach a wider audience (wine magazines have a notoriously small circulation).
Wine magazines tend to be stuffy, making the enjoyment and understanding of wine almost too complicated for the average wine lover. Blogs, on the other hand, are written in a more colloquial, informal style, making them more approachable for wine enthusiasts. I think this is especially important for attracting young adults to wine.
Are wineries, retailers, importers, etc. open to blogs in your culture?
Wineries in Spain are definitely open to being written about in blogs but I’m not aware of wineries here with blogs on their websites. My feeling about retailers, importers and distributors is that they are blissfully ignorant of the whole blogging phenomenon.
As a non-blogger at the moment, how important do you think wine blogging is today?
I haven’t had a lot of time up to now to read wine blogs on a daily basis and consequently can’t give a qualified opinion about their importance. I suppose I’ll learn as soon as I start my blog! Like everything else on the web, things are pretty disorganized, making it hard to find what you want, except by trial and error. This makes it hard to put bloggers and their target audience together.
Where do you see wine blogging in 10 years’ time?
I’m sure that wine blogs will become more mainstream as on-line overtakes print. Individual blogs will probably become more specialized, focusing on narrower topics than today.
What do you hope to gain from attending the conference?
To learn as much as I can about the world of wine blogging as well as meet real bloggers!
Do you read wine blogs (if so, can you give us a few of your favorites)?