Tag Archives: Marisa hendricks

Bloggers’ Code of Conduct called for by wine blogger Emile Joubert

The current social media “wars” taking place both in the food and wine arena should be a reason for bloggers to get together, and to write a Code of Conduct for blogging.  This serious call came from Emile Joubert, a PR consultant to the wine industry, and writer of the Wine Goggle Blog, when he addressed the final and best attended meeting for this year of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club at the Grand Daddy Hotel in the Cape Town city centre.

Emile was a most entertaining speaker, and challenged wine bloggers in improving their ‘game’.  He had brought along two De Wetshof wines from Robertson-based winemaker Danie de Wet, the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as Kanonkop Pinotage, the only South African wine in a recent list of “100 most exciting wines in the world”, and a magnum of Glen Carlou Pinot Noir, which were tasted by the bloggers.   Emile praised the initiative of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, which was established in May this year.  He has seen the benefit that his wine clients have enjoyed through the increasing number of bloggers, all wine lovers with an opinion, he said.   Social media is a perfect platform for wine promotion.   Every wine has a story, he said, making it eminently ‘blogable”, unlike spirits or beer, which are more generic beverage categories.   Wines have a brand name, a culture and a personality, and these characteristics can be used to good advantage by wine bloggers.   Emile acknowledged the leadership of Mike Ratcliffe in being the first wine blogger ever, for Vilafonte, about six years ago.  

Emile was critical of wineries embracing social media by opening a Facebook page, and paying lip service to social media through poor writing on their blogs and in their Tweets, which give the wine industry a poor image, he said. He said that many wine bloggers “are more enthusiastic than talented in writing” about wine, wasting the time and space for serious wine lovers.  They are boring, he said, and if they contain spelling errors, they are an embarrassment.  He said that many bloggers are too obsessed with readership numbers, using links non-stop, no use he says if their blogs are lousy!    He encouraged bloggers to develop their “own voice”, and to create their own ‘blog brand’.   “Speak your own voice clearly, succinctly and passionately”, he urged.

Most social media programs of wineries lack a strategy, in his opinion.  He recommended that a 1/3 each of one’s action should be focused on SOCIAL, MEDIA and MARKETING.  He described the wine industry as ‘ego-sodden’ terrain, with over-intellectualisation of wines, for example, referring to wine tasting of “tar” and “figpaste”, having run out of new adjectives to describe the taste of wine!   Emile feels that bloggers will make traditional mainstream media wine writers obsolete, and that is why Neil Pendock too has taken to blogging.   He mentioned that the recent ‘Swartland Revolution’, a marketing activity by a number of Swartland wine producers in Riebeeck Kasteel to make their wine region “sexy” via social media marketing, had made TIME magazine.  

In developing a Bloggers’ Code of Conduct, Emile called firstly for anonymous comments to be disallowed, saying that this would never be allowed on a letters’ page in a newspaper.  He also called for a boycott of restaurants that ban writers!   When asked, he explained the split in the wine industry, based on wine writers being pro- or anti-Platter.   The anti-Platter writers are unhappy with sighted tastings to judge the stars awarded to each wine, as they can influence the livelihoods of those affected by lower star ratings.  He called Platter “the best phone book” for the wine industry.  It would appear that this group of writers is also critical of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), in that they feel that the monies spent on marketing South African wines is not effectively spent.  Accepting ‘freebies’, including airline tickets and more, is frowned upon, and leads the anti-Platter faction to expose their ‘colleagues’ guilty of this practice without disclosure.  This leads to backstabbing, infantile behaviour, and persons dishing out insults without being able to take them in turn. 

The Food Blogger Marisa Hendricks from The Creative Pot blog praised her Twitter and blogging friends for their friendly support and ‘chattiness’, which makes Social Media enjoyable to her. She was honest in saying that she is a ‘messy’ cook, that her family does not eat fancy food every night, and that there are irregular meal times in her household.   She focused on three aspects of a blog, in making it more successful. The design of the blog is paramount, as it expresses one’s personality. 

Secondly, food photography needs attention.  In her household photography is mainly done at night, which is complicated as far as lighting is concerned, making dishes look too yellow.  She says that cellphones are not made to give good photograph quality, and that one should choose the right camera (she uses a Cannon), read the manual that comes with the camera, and experiment with the camera settings.  Natural light is best, and it can be softened by gauze, she said.  Food should also be lit from the side, and not directly from above.   Food styling is equally important for successful photography, creating a desire of “I want to lick my screen”, she said!   Styling can be enhanced through the use of cutlery, glasses, doilies, napkins, etc.   White plates are classic in food styling, but bright plates offer a contrast for a one-colour food dish.   The styling should be natural, in how one would eat the dish.  This helps one when one submits one’s food photographs to what she called ‘foodporn” sites such as Foodgawker!  Thirdly Marisa spoke about advertising, and she only allows text-based ads.  She does not want her blog to look like a “billboard”.   She knows that advertising could be off-putting to her readers.  She also discussed affiliate links, to cookery books sold by Amazon, for example, which can work well if used properly.

In discussion it was mentioned that bloggers’ “user-generated content” is becoming more trusted for recipes and information than are recipe books and magazines.  Marisa called for better hardware to read blogs.   Disclosure of receiving free products is paramount, it was said, and PR companies should not expect bloggers to write about the products they have handed out, much like a print journalist will not guarantee that he/she will accept a media release. It was felt that one should not write about something one did not like.  

A competition amongst attendees to find the most frequent Tweeter during the two-hour Bloggers’ Club meeting led to a flood of Tweets.  Hila Jonker (who Tweets as @LadyRaven) won the prize of a bundle of fresh greens from the gardens of the wonderful new restaurant Babel at Babylonstoren.

The 2011 programme for the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club will be announced closer to the start of the new year.  The first meeting of the year will be hosted by Pigalle on 26 January.   More information is available from info@whalecottage.com.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club: ‘pairing’ The Creative Pot with the winegoggle

The 7th Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place on Wednesday 24 November, from 6 – 8 pm, at The Grand Daddy Hotel, and will pair Marisa Hendricks from The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert from the Wine Goggle Blog. 

Marisa Hendricks  is an accountant by day, and a food blogger by night.  She lives in Brackenfell and works in Stellenbosch.  She started her The Creative Pot blog in 2006 but only seriously starting posting in the first half of 2009.   She joined Twitter at the end of last year, and says that she is loving every minute of it.  “It’s really exciting to see the effect that social media has”, she says.   Marisa started experimenting in the kitchen from a young age, trying new recipes, ingredients and techniques.  She also likes to explore foreign cultures via the foods that they eat.  She sees blogging as a creative outlet, and is developing her photographic skills, something she saw as a “necessary evil” initially.  The Creative Pot Blog stands for “Explore – Innovate – Eat”.

Emile Joubert  is a controversial blogger, and may be written about more than he writes!  His Twitter avatar features him as topless!  He says that he started his winegoggle blog “for a laugh”.  He studied journalism and worked at Die Burger as arts and entertainment editor.  Moving onto Public Relations, he joined PR consultancy De Kock & Kerkoff, promoting cement, diesel engines, ostrich fathers and unit trusts, he writes.  He wanted the wine accounts, but these were in the ‘hands of pretty and smart girls”.   This resulted in him starting his own PR consultancy Media Vision, specialising in wine, hospitality and tourism PR, as well as financial services.  He has continued writing, for Die Burger, Insig and Media24.   The winegoggle Blog describes itself as “Wine, food and fun through rosé-tinted spectacles”. 

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Emile Joubert will introduce the wines served.  Snacks will be served.  The cost of attendance is R100.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

Venue: The Grand Daddy Hotel.   38 Long Street, Cape Town.

The programme for the 2011meetings for future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings will be announced in January.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter: @WhaleCottage

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club: ‘pairing’ Simon Back from Backsberg Blog with Tom Robbins of eatcapetown Blog

The sixth Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place on Wednesday 20 October, from 6 – 8 pm, at the Rainbow Room at Mandela Rhodes Place, and will pair Tom Robbins from eatcapetown Blog, a restaurant review blog, and Simon Back, from Backsberg Blog

Tom Robbins  was born on a dairy farm in Karkloof in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.  Tom hot-footed to live in cities as soon as he was old enough, though has never lost his rural roots.  He has spent most of his career working as a journalist with one disastrous exception when he opened a café-bar in Pietermaritzburg in 1999.  Tom’s career in journalism has spanned most beats from politics and the courts to travel and engineering.  Most recently he worked as a financial journalist, covering the retail and consumer goods sectors for Business Report.  A year ago Tom established the restaurant review website eatcapetown and continues to do odd jobs as a financial journalist.  He has no formal training in cooking: he is a writer who enjoys cooking rather than a cook who enjoys cooking.  Tom’s current addiction is roasting (both pot roasting and open roasting).  What he knows about wine is dangerous, he says!   Tom will be talking about restaurant reviewing, often a contentious topic, and will discuss review writing styles.   He will also address the difference between PR and journalism in respect of blogging, and how this affects disclosure of gifts/freebies received. 

Simon Back  has a Business Science degree, majoring in Economics, from UCT.  He joined Backsberg, the family farm, in 2008.  He is responsible for all aspects of marketing, and sales to North America.  Backsberg is well-known for its environmentally-friendly approach to wine farming, being very focused on its carbon footprint, and how to neutralise it.  The wine estate recently launched the first South African wines in plastic bottles, under the Tread Lightly sub-brand.  Simon is particularly interested in the role of Social Media in the Marketing Mix. He was invited to represent South Africa in Germany earlier this year, as part of a panel at Prowein 2010 on ‘Social Media and other Marketing Innovations’.  Simon will be talking about the future of blogging and social media.  He will challenge bloggers in asking them to consider how blog readers will change over time, and how their blogs need to evolve to reflect these changes. He is looking to stimulate debate on the future of blogging and social media.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Simon Back will introduce the Backsberg wines served.  Snacks will be served.  The cost of attendance is R100.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

Venue: Rainbow Room, Mandela Rhodes Place (next to Taj Hotel), Wale Street.

Other bloggers that will be talking at future Bloggers’ Club meetings are the following:

Wednesday 24 November:  Marisa Hendricks of The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog, at the Grand Daddy Hotel, 6 – 8 pm.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter: @WhaleCottage

Food Blogger Relax-with-Dax paired with Wine Blogger Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte

The fifth Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place on Wednesday 22 September, from 6 – 8 pm, at the Salt Vodka Bar in Bantry Bay, and will pair Dax Villanueva of Relax with Dax blog , and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and of Hein on Wine Blog.

Hein Koegelenberg grew up in the Karoo, and then on a family wine farm in Vredendal. He has an Honours degree in viticulture cellar technology from Elsenberg outside Stellenbosch. He became a winemaker, and then CEO of Windheuwel Cellars in Paarl. He was appointed as a director of La Motte in 1998. In 2000 he launched the Leopard’s Leap wine brand, a mass market product produced from the grapes of three Rupert wine farms in the Franschhoek area, selling 600 000 cases a year, largely through Meridian Wines, which he established to distribute his and 27 other top South African wine brands internationally. Under Hein’s guidance, the La Motte wine estate has recently undergone extensive changes, with an art gallery as well as a dedicated Pierneef Gallery, a Rupert family museum, and the Pierneef Ã  La Motte restaurant opening – he has created a world-class wine tourism destination at La Motte, and still finds time to blog and Tweet actively, understanding that social media marketing is the marketing force of the future.

Dax Villanueva writes the popular Relax-with-Dax blog, which documents what is happening in Cape Town. Dax moved to Cape Town, after growing up in Port Elizabeth and working in Durban, and loves Cape Town for its beauty, diversity and cultural wealth, loving to share what he is experiencing with others. His blog started as a newsletter seven years ago, and is one of the oldest in South Africa. He was a runner-up in the 2009 SA Blog Awards, and is a Finalist in the 2010 SA Blog Awards in the Twitter Microblogger category. He serves on the Slow Food Mother City Convivium committee. During the World Cup he was a blogger for the V&A Waterfront. He has more than 150 restaurant reviews on his blog.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Other writers that will be talking at future Bloggers Club meetings are the following:

Wednesday 20 October: Simon Back of Backsberg Blog

Wednesday 24 November:  Marisa Hendricks of The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Hein will introduce the La Motte wines served.  Snacks will be served.  The cost of attendance is R100.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

Venue: Salt Vodka Bar, above Salt Deli, across the road from Ambassador Hotel, Victoria Road, Bantry Bay.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Sam Wilson of Food24 Blogs “paired” with Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir

The fourth Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place on Wednesday 18 August, from 18h00 – 20h00, at Brio Restaurant, and will pair Sam Wilson of Food24 food blogs, and Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir wines in Franschhoek.

Sam Wilson is the Editor-in-Chief of Woman24, Parent24 and Food24.  Food24 has a special page on its website to provide a platform for 440 food bloggers, with 50000 readers and 200000 page impressions per month.  Sam was previously a commercial lawyer, and turned to freelance writing after the birth of her sons, before joining Media24. She was a speaker at the Food Bloggers’ Conference earlier this year.  She has also worked as a copywriter, a customer publishing strategist, a columnist and a cocktail bartender. Her websites collectively attract over 500 000 readers, and she says she “specialises in community management and the art of oversharing”.

Rob Armstrong has a BA in Archeology and Environmental and Geographical Science, and runs Haut Espoir in Franschhoek.  It is celebrating the 10th anniversary of turning this family farm into a red wine farm and planting it with Franschhoek Fynbos.  Rob is committed to “minimal intervention” with “mother earth”, both in terms of winemaking and their farming.  He is a proud member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Other writers that will be talking at future Bloggers Club meetings are the following:

Wednesday 22 September: Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax Blog, and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and Hein Koegelenberg Blog

Wednesday 20 October: Clare Mack of Spill Blog, and Simon Back of Backsberg Blog

Wednesday 24 November:  Marisa Hendricks of The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Rob will introduce the Haut Espoir wines served.  Snacks will be served.  The cost of attendance is R 100.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

Venue: Brio Restaurant, 130 Adderley Street (ex-Riboville), two doors down from the Twankey Bar of the Taj Hotel.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Warwick/Vilafonte wine and Scrumptious food bloggers paired

The third Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place next Wednesday 28 July, from 18h00 – 20h00, and will pair Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner of Scrumptious food blog, and Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick and Vilafonte wine blog.

Mike Ratcliffe is the Managing Director of Warwick wine estate and Managing Partner of Vilafonte.  He has a B.Comm (Economics) from the University of Stellenbosch and a Graduate Diploma in Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide. He is a Board member of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), has been involved on the marketing committee of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, is the Deputy Chairman of the South African Wine Industry Trust (encouraging black economic empowerment and land redistribution), and is President of the United States/South Africa Foundation, a fundraising charity based in the USA.  He is an international wine judge, industry commentator and marketing co-ordinator, and is an industry leader in embracing social media marketing in the marketing of his wines.

Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner of Scrumptious blog is a freelance journalist, editor, author of three books (on local touring routes, and on raising toddlers), cook, food writer and recipe developer.  She writes as Juno, and her blog is independent, in that she does not accept any advertising or sponsorship, nor does she accept freebies.  She does use Google Adsense.  She is passionate about “food, fresh local ingredients and punchy flavours”. She loves writing recipes.  Jane-Anne was a speaker at the Food Bloggers’ Conference earlier this year. 

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Other writers that will be talking at future Bloggers Club meetings are the following:

Wednesday 18 August:       Sam Wilson of Food24 Blogs, and Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir 

Wednesday 22 September: Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax Blog, and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and Hein Koegelenberg Blog

Wednesday 20 October:     Clare Mack of Spill Blog, and Simon Back of Backsberg Blog

Wednesday 24 November:  Marisa Hendricks of The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Mike will introduce the Warwick wines served.  Snacks will be served to match the Warwick wines.  The cost of attendance is R 150.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

The meeting of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club will be held at Cafe Max, 126 Waterkant Street, in De Waterkant, Cape Town.   From Somerset Road turn up Highfield Street (opposite Green Point Traffic Department), alongside the Tafelberg Furnishers/Kfm building, and turn left into Waterkant Street.  Cafe Max is about 200 meters further down the road, on the left.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com