Here Ryan O'Connell explains how he has used the internet and tools such as online video, blogs and photography to promote his parents' vineyard in Languedoc, Ryan writes:
I'm only 24 so all this interactive communications technology has been a part of my life since the first time I saw my friends playing Doom II against EACH OTHER on different computers miles apart from each other using a mysterious process that involved plugging their computers into fax machines.
My six year old mine was blown.
The hardest part of using online tools to help my vineyard wasn't adopting Facebook (since I was attending one of the first Universities that got access to the website).
The hard part for me has been figuring out how to use this as a business tool instead of a keeping-up-with-childhood-friends tool.
When I met Gary Vaynerchuk, something clicked inside my head. He's been touring and talking about what a wonderful world we live in. Because today, a person can make money by doing something they really care about in an honest and enthusiastic way.
But I have had a hard time integrating into the neighbourhood and even the greater winemaking community.
There's a lot of hesitance and apprehension when a new winemaker shows up out of the blue in an area that is often considered en crise.
I've tried a lot of different web-based projects that had very lofty and very specific goals. None of them really took off. But all that changed after my Vaynerchuk epiphany.
I just put interesting people in front of a camera and something good will come of it. Then I put that online, and more good comes. I throw a holiday party at my winery, and maybe some neighbours come and I meet new people. I put the invitation online, and only more good can come of it.
Flickr Fest is an example of how I can very simply integrate online tools into my already existing life to make everything a little bit better.
I'm not sure how many people will come to the Flickr Fest. But the point isn't to make some spectacular looking event for an impressive press release. The point is to let an online community influence the way my party unfolds.
Whether people want to visit Carcassonne's ramparts or just laze around a cosy fire with a glass of wine, I will be ecstatic to be in a group of people who just met and want to have some fun in the Languedoc.
This party allows me to meet strangers who are active Internet-users and have an eye for photography/aesthetics. And it also creates an opportunity to get my neighbours to come and party and sign up for Flickr. And it's all done at almost no cost.
Ryan and his parents founded O’Vineyards in 2004 when they settled down in the Cabardes, with its inland position in the Languedoc the family is able to grow Atlantic varietals like Merlot and Cabernet and Mediterranean varietals more typical to the Languedoc such as Syrah and Grenache.
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