I love the natural wine world.

A community of people who make my life a lot more interesting wherever in the world I happen to be.

We all speak the same language. Of grape and place, romance and taste, and liquid memory that ties it all together.

The truth is that we speak a language that very few others do.

The gap is not between the natural wine world and the mass market. It is between this truly minuscule group of trade and enthusiasts and everyone else. With ‘everyone else’ being many of the very people who are buying and drinking these wines themselves.

My buddy William and I staged an event to try something a bit different.

A pre-event party to a cryptocurrency conference he was hosting, themed as a Natural Wine gathering.

350 individuals from all over the world, aged 20s to their 60s, 60/40 male/female. Highly educated, deeply articulate, wine loving, entrepreneurs, and investors.

We structured this with me as the crossover tech and wine speaker.

100 bottles, curated cross 9 highly natural choices, most with no added SO2 with a variety of styles.( See post here.)

Framed around the overall back story of how two niche movements—crytocurrency and natural wine run parallel to each other in some areas.

A lot of fun with a twist of inspiration and education.

Our approach:

-Invite only with a focus on the theme and the speaker. (It was oversold and people being turned away at the door.)

-Simple backstory blog post with an intro to natural wine, the reasons why the niches melded and a short story each of the bottles.

Simple structure:

-I worked the room hard for an hour or so, talking to over a hundred people in groups of 5-10. Introing myself, having the wait staff bring bottles I chose, filling glasses and telling stories of the bottles around the theme.

-Then a 30-minute talk to the group of 350 (with unplanned horrid audio).

The topics we focused on:

-Getting the terms down as most people have no idea that organic in wine is different from than organic in a red pepper. Nor in reality what wine is. Snapshot definitions of what Organic, BioD, SO2 and sulfites are.

-Natural wine is not a cert, but a platform of shared beliefs that encourages creativity. To a person, this was understood, as that is the very core of open source as a community commerce structure within and without of the crypto world.

-This movement is a response to technology (industrialized farming) and made possible by technology (social web). In effect, natural wine is part of the marker revolution (ala Etsy) at its very core, giving economics to unscalable arts and craftspeople and farmers.

-This is all about community, a new scale of value, and fun.

Specific communications goals:

I wanted each and every person to look at the bottle I was pouring from and realize that it was from somewhere—Portland or Ribeira Sacra or the mountains outside Madrid.

That it’s just fermented juice made by individuals, like them, with a passion, with intent for them to enjoy it. That it is delicious and unique and back to the future with a twist, with similarities to the world they were creating with crypto.

-That it is a niche, like theirs a long time coming (20+ years for natural wine btw) yet highly influential and an inclusive community. Unlike theirs, completely unscalable by nature.

My evaluation:

It felt like a success quantified by the excitement in the room, that 100 bottles of wine disappeared into a crowd of 350 in less than two hours.

By a slew of personal emails to me asking questions, thanking us. People got different parts of it, with many commenting on my explanation of why the skin contact whites I choose tasted different yet familiar to them.

Many online Thank You’s and that in blog after blog our theme, was repeated as the start of the conference.

Maybe we were lucky and hit the balance between inspiring folks and educating them.

Maybe some tiny percent of attendees will now maybe go to wine dinners and structured tastings. Maybe a larger percent will buy more of these great producers. And find some language that is natural to them to express why they like what is in their glass.

If so, we all win.

Us in the community and every person who enjoys a bottle and maybe finds a connection to what they do and who they are.

That’s what makes natural wine so special.


Big thanks to William and the team at Chambers Street Wines, especially Ariana and Eben.