Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

Passion on the Vine – a review

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

When one looks at a vineyard – you’re not looking at it in the same way as you would look at an orange orchard. Instead one sees a multitude of experiences past and of moments yet to come – moments of intimacy, memorable occasions, conversations and treasured friendships. Since time immemorial, vineyards have not only been the touchstone of certain regions, but have often been the lifeblood of local communities and the cornerstone of entire generations of families. Every vineyard contains a family, a , a and a . This was at least, the sentiment I had before embarking on a mission to City, where I would promote and sell ’s connected to my family in some ways, and more importantly – from my country. During that time – having spent much time in for the mission, I left with those stories and sentiments of culture and family fresh in my blood. But with every -call and wine I began to feel further and further from the vineyard. Soon it was about laid in cost, case-discounts and what kind of Point of Sale material was on offer. I travelled the country in a rental car with a case of wine, a corskrew and a -point presentation along the way having people from Westchester Wine Warehouse cruelly spit wine on my shoe after having left me waiting for an hour, sitting in cold-rooms of cellars in Maryland, helping do stock-takes in Ohio, presenting to Wholefoods buyers in North Carolina and pushing on-premise retail in : and with every step I became a bit more confused and lost the focus of what I was doing. Having believed that wine was so important to my country and stepping into the States to tell the story of South African wine, it was very dispiriting to suddenly be faced with the fact that no one really cared so long as they could make a profit.

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Dining Out?

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Last week New York Magazine ran the special ‘New York vs. London‘, calling London ‘the other ,’ an honour to be sure, and the article was accompanied with a glowing of London – the undisputed capital city of Europe.

New York Magazine is obviously regional, and abroad, if one wants to get the pulse of a city there’s simply no substitute for Time Out, which has always been an invaluable resource to me – whether I’m in London, New York, Paris, or Chicago, I make sure to consult with the website and find out what’s going on, where to eat, where to dine and where to hang out. Time Out rocks plain and simple. Whether you’re in Helsinki or Hong Kong, Time Out’s got insider advice and is the Lonely Planet for footloose socialites.

But what about when you stop by to visit a friend in Raleigh-Durham or stop in to , or Baltimore, Princeton or any other of the thousands of possible places you may be going? In this day and age, click to enlargeculinary expertise is becoming an international standard, and while Wolfgang Puck, Rocco DiSpirito,Todd English, Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsuhisa and Emeril Lagasse bang out their drum-beat across the international stage of fine-dining, there are many local gems with high-quality and knock out ambience that the outsider will never find. Local dining sites, reviewers and blogs are a dime a dozen, but up until now, there hasn’t been a community that embodies the the within and around restaurateuring, specialty foods, dining, socialising, and wine.

Who better to tell you about a neighbourhood, specialty store, or new wine than someone who knows you? Whilst Amateur Gourmet, Friends Eat, Menu Pages, Chow Hound, Restaurant Spy, CIA, Accidental Hedonist, Amy, Rob, Food Goat, Epicurious and Fork and Bottle are all awesome resources, there’s something missing. My feeling is that these sites all have to be specifically book-marked or recommended, as I’m doing here, in order to be found. So many great , wines or food shops have that ‘we just stumbled upon it’ feel, but there’s something very pre-meditated about going to a blog such that one feels that the blogosphere is preaching to the blogosphere. Food blogs so often miss out on providing wine recommendations, whilst wine blogs seldom mention food and both rarely provide a tool for getting the food or getting the wine.

When I’m on Amazon or browsing the iTunes Store, I often come away with something unexpected, which is why I keep going back. Reading food or wine blogs however, is not much different to reading a food or wine magazine, in that’s it’s a one-way communication channel. Perhaps I’m too juiced up on the current digitial explosion, but the food and wine blogosphere leaves me wanting more: more content, personalisation, interaction, recommendations… more community.

In there is a word, Ubuntu, and it means ‘I am because we are,’ which is spirit of any community, and is perhaps less succinctly put by John Donne in ‘no man is an island.’ Indeed, then, no blog is an island – a food blog needs restaurants or recipes, and a wine blog needs and they all need people to enjoy them. Isn’t it time then that there was a community which embodied food, wine, restuarants, vineyards, and wine lovers all in one?

Grape Thinking is working to build a platform to do just that – providing a community that will guide you to anywhere where wine is served, enjoyed, treasured and appreciated for everything it is. Through personal profiles and personal reviews, in the true sense of the word ‘community’, users, restaurants, and wineries will share personal knowledge and reveal the delights of their cities and hang-outs to the world.This is the ultimate goal of Grape Thinking, to bring wine and its surrounds together. We want grapethinkers to discover not only their taste: but to help a world of taste find them.

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