Flying is just about the only time I can’t get distracted by the internet – for now, at least – so it’s a good time to write and reflect about the few days I’ve just spent at the Digital Wine Communications Conference.

I was there to deliver two speeches, both of which went well (I’ll be putting my Disrupt! talk about wine and humour up on the blog tomorrow), but I also had the opportunity to attend the other sessions, as well as talk to people about all sorts of wine-related topics. These included blogging, books, general advice on the most useful apps and websites, spitting technique (really) and how to win at blackjack - there was a casino in the hotel - and plenty of others.

For anyone who communicates about wine, the conference has a lot to offer, and the easy-going attitude of the organisers makes it a thoroughly enjoyable time. The main things I learned are as follows:

  • Treat blogging as you would a business. Plan a five-year strategy and ask yourself what and who it’s for. If that doesn’t work out, you’ve got a bad strategy – change it!
  • Even though the wine industry is bad at discussing profitability, it’s okay to do something for reasons other than money – though certain observers would say this attitude is exactly what’s wrong with the wine industry.
  • What editors and publishers want is very often opposite to what wine writers are offering. To get more work, writers should think much more about story-telling and journalistic technique.
  • Mass produced Bulgarian whisky is not very nice and the casino always wins. And yes, those two facts are related.

Here are a few pics taken from the plane as we flew over London. Twickenham stadium was just about to host the Rugby World Cup semi-final between Argentina and Australia.

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