EWBC needs a rebrand

The popularity of the European Wine Bloggers Conference is growing so fast I am expecting it to be leading the voting on X-Factor next week.  Yet it is going through something of an identity crisis.

For a start, I am not sure any of the attendees would define themselves as bloggers; such an old-fashioned term that covers perhaps 10% of social media these days.

It is not really a conference and struggles to find themes that blend the wide varietal of participants together, other than the ubiquitous enthusiasm for drinking wine. As one of the forefathers from 2008, I was a bit confused as to why I enjoyed the event so much and I am still not sure why I find it so compelling, having now attended all four.

I must admit that I did question, and was shocked by the defensive reaction, that the 2011 edition had attracted about 50% of its audience from outside Europe. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered this week that the 2012 “conference” is to be held in Turkey, which is neither politically nor geographically part of Europe (not yet, anyway).

I even hear rumours that the scope is being widened to include those that use social media to communicate about things other than wine – food for example.

All fair enough, but if it is not in Europe, attendees come from all over the world and are not exclusively focussed on wine, blogging forms only 10% of content, and it is not really a conference, don’t we have a problem with nomenclature?

As if to rub salt into the wound, the European Wooden Boat Club has stolen the acronym.

So, I propose that it should be renamed “Social Media Unconference on Taste”. But do Gabi, Rob and Ryan have the balls to turn EWBC into SMUT?

10 Responses to “EWBC needs a rebrand”

  1. Justin Roberts Says:

    Best old-fashioned 10%er blog post I’ve read in a while!

  2. Andrew Says:

    Food has always taken a roll – with wine in general – but also with attendees, Back in Lisbon there were a fair few ‘food bloggers’. As to the compulsion to attend; its ‘wine’, that social/sharing/fascinating stuff at its best…

    Must admit a little apprehensiveve about Turkey…

  3. Dave Menzies Says:

    I guess the edges are bound to become a little blurred at an event which is after all predominently about drinking wine! Not sure about Turkey but I did some sampling in Cyprus recently – not great

  4. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Andrew – apprehensive because of the wine, the distance, the culture, the currency, or is it just having to fork out for global travel insurance?

  5. TheWinesleuth Says:

    Andrew, I like how food has always had a “roll” with wine 🙂

    As for the post, Alistair, I think you hit the nail on the head. While it is great to meet up with like minded wine geeks, the EWBC needs a rebrand as it’s more about social media and “wine communication,” which could be anything. On the website, it’s subtitled the “Digital Wine Communications Conference” so why not drop all pretense and drop “EWBC”, since blogging is not the focus of the event, it would be more honest. Or they could call it, “The conference formerly known as EWBC”.

    I attended the American Wine Bloggers Conference this past July in Virginia and while there was grumbling about the content, it did pertain primarily to wine and how writing about it affected US-based bloggers/writers. There were seminars on wine tax, shipping, wine laws in the US and how to deal with them as bloggers, etc as well as upcoming trends in wine on the internet. The keynote speakers Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov while not bloggers per se, are wine writers and cognizant of the impact of the internet on wine and writing and was overall the theme of both their keynote addresses. It was also attended primarily by winebloggers and wineries and, of course, in a North American wine region.

    As for Turkey, while it is an upcoming wine region, it’s not in Europe nor is it a traditional European wine growing region vis-a-vis Bordeaux, Burgundy, etc. It is exciting but I have spoken to other wine bloggers who feel it should be in Europe, there are plenty of wine growing regions that many would be interested in visiting for a few days within the EU.

    I’m sure the conference will be a sell-out but will I be going? I haven’t decided yet, depends on how much networking I get done in 2012.

    As for SMUT, well, I don’t know about that….

  6. When is the EWBC not the EWBC? | EWBC 2012 - "Sources" Says:

    […] of the EWBC’s longest standing supporters (and we use “standing” advisedly), Alastair Bathgate (aka @tiptoptaps), posted an interesting question yesterday, addressing an important issue, the […]

  7. Gabriella Opaz Says:

    Hey Alistair,

    Thanks for your insight, and in response, we’ve crafted an extensive explanation that we hope will better explain our reasoning.



  8. Robert McIntosh (@thirstforwine) Says:

    thanks for the post Alastair. We had tried to address a great many of these points in a reply on the facebook group, but not everyone will have seen these, so I wrote a longer response which I hope clarifies where we are today with regard to this issue.

    Hope it helps:


    I’m not sure there was ever any “pretense” with the name, it is simply the name we started with and will keep until we can agree on a new name that people will like and understand … then see how long that lasts 🙂

    Hope to see you and everyone else in Turkey

  9. Alastair Bathgate Says:


    Good response. I think “EWBC” fitted the bill in 2008 but the world moves at an astonishing pace these days. The rate of change is doubling every year I reckon, and social media, or “digital communications” to broaden the medium further is still in its infancy and will no doubt develop further even before EWBC2012.
    Having created a “brand” it is difficult and painful to make a significant change. Looks like you are thinking of doing so slowly which makes sense. As for me, I have not confirmed for 2012 yet but I wouldn’t lay long odds against me doing so. We need to retain some ever present stalwarts from the “old” days, eh?

  10. Gabriella Opaz Says:


    If you don’t come, I’ll cry. Seriously. I really will. Don’t tempt me. I’ll also find a cheap bottle of Boones Farm and drink that too, just out of spite. Don’t make me do it! 😉

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