Monday, May 9, 2011

‘The Keyboard is mightier than the Sword’-The case of Olivier B

Talk about changing means of communication in business and social media features high on every list. Critics and traditionalists might underrate the power of this platform but when you hear about winemakers like Olivier B., the case for avenues such as blogs just gets stronger.

The wines with Oivier's signature hat
The story of Olivier B, a winemaker in the Rhone valley is an inspiring one. After almost decade of making wines, the dispirited Olivier decided to discontinue. In his words “it is too difficult to do all this alone”. There are other related reasons to the problem too that he talks about on his blog (it is in French). One public announcement from the petit vigneron sparked a series of write-ups and blogs that talked on how a quality winemaker is losing out due to his helplessness. Followed by a series of more communications about Olivier’s plight, the entire online (even television and radio) French community got together to appeal for Olivier’s case. Tastings were conducted and more discussions within bloggers continued. The result was an increase in his wine sales while at the same time bringing him to limelight which otherwise would have been just an ordinary case in point. From Le Monde to as far as US where Tyler Colman recently mentioned about this, the equation has changed dramatically in favour of Olivier over the past few months. Talking to the man himself when I met him shows how thankful he is to the entire web fraternity. Notes such as these express his gratitude which he happily carries to every city he visits with his wine repertoire.

I met him on the day of Easter which I think aptly symbolises the resurrection of a vigneron and who like many others started as an enthusiastic lover of wines but fell apart as an unsung hero due to the wonderful yet testing wine industry. While Olivier is still not sure if he’ll carry on making wines but the incident has certainly brought to notice the power of social media which I am sure would keep alive the hopes of many vintners in crossing the troubled waters with success!