A week after returning home, the immediacy of wine tasting in Vienna and the Wine Bloggers Convention is fading fast in the rush of work and projects and holiday plans.

In Austria the wines were great. New friendships terrific. But the most important thing I got out of this trip was a sense of community with wine aficionados and bloggers worldwide.

Actually a small group. Wildly diverse. But linked by an interest in wine and its relationship to culture. And as a key to community that crossed the 30 countries represented. It bridged language. Bridged national boundaries. Bridged different approaches to wine making. Just brought people together in a common bond.

Amazing actually.

Wine becomes a language in itself. A core vocabulary and grammar of agriculture in the vineyard and vinification in the cave. A global movement to discover terroir–one chunk of land and one vineyard after another.

More amazing though is the social web as the communications link to extending these dynamic connections past the experience.

Quite a dichotomy. An ageless agricultural and cultural drive to make great wine and share it, intersecting with the brand new medium of the social web, less than a decade old and still in its infancy

My take is that wine and community were always joined at the hip. Whether in an Austrian Heuriger, a wine bar, a vintner’s dinner or a local wine shop. The social web just globalizes that local experience. It flattens time and space and makes communications the lingering finish, if you will. A community note of taste that memorializes the occasion.

As a platform, in a very short time, the web and now the social web have changed much of the world into a referral-based economy. From Amazon to Yelp to Facebook. It’s been missing in the wine world but seems to be getting a start.

At the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Austria certainly. But on a larger scale, in blogs and niche communities springing up all over the online wine world. Even my blog posts on the trip have reconnected me with new and old friends who had lurking passion for Austrian wine and now, through my blog, have a place to connect.

I’ve always believed that the wine world had all the essential components for a rich community dynamic. On and offline connections. Deep passion. Global interest. Ties into food and culture. Love and desire for information and knowledge. And a strong, multi-cultural community base at a local level.

Seems like finally this intersection between wine and community is starting to be made.

The next step is pure economic evolution. The wine industry needs to follow in the wake of core industries that have reconfigured themselves–books, music, automobiles, travel, artwork, specialty foods, crafts and more.

It’s coming and I’m searching for new models that uniquely connect the wine community with social commence. The time seems right.


This is the third post coming out of my wonderful experience in Austria at the European Wine Bloggers Conference. The first post is “Austrian Wines…a quick glance at an old wine culture (Part 1)”. The second post is my recommendations on wine from multiple tastings, “Austrian Wines…tasting notes and recommendations (Part 2)”.