I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions and retrospectives. I used to be, when I was younger, but then I realised how bad I am at sticking to my lofty ambitions of bettering myself. So I stopped bothering. I pondered this post for a while. The idea was to write an end-of-year post before 31 December 2014. That never happened, partly because of my professional level of procrastination and partly because internet connectivity in Stilbaai was practically non-existent this year. Then I wondered if writing a 2014/2015 New Year’s post wasn’t going to be utterly boring and predictable; was I going to write one just because EVERYONE is writing one? Do I really have something to say, or would I just be rehashing the year and end up sounding hopelessly beige?
2014 was quite a year, both personally and professionally. Despite all the ups and downs, I had a big idea for 2014: Incogvino (you can read about how it all got started here, I won’t re-tell the story now). With some help from talented friends and by joining up with Andy Hadfield, we breathed life into a domain I had registered on a whim years earlier. It was a place where I could write freely on my favourite hobby: wine. The essence of Incogvino has been and will continue to be spreading word on all things wine: that wine is fun; that wine doesn’t have to be smothered in pompousness and snobbery.
Most importantly, I wanted to drive home the idea that wine is for everyone and anyone. We Are Incogvino. An unassuming character. With oft unassuming tastes. Sure, boxed wine isn’t for everyone. But then neither is Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Why should anyone be shamed for what they drink? To each their own, live and let drink etc. etc. Just because I don’t drink katembas doesn’t mean somebody else can’t.
2014 was a good year for Incogvino. From our first post in April, we’ve managed to drink some fabulous wines, visit some amazing wine farms, send our SuperFANS to some exciting events, give away some free things and continue the tremendous Twitter tastings.
None of this would have been possible without our incredibly impressive member farms: Warwick & Vilafonté, Haut Espoir, Beau Joubert, Lithos and Môreson. The concept of the Incogvino Twitter tastings (as begun by Real Time Wine) just took off this year. We had massively successful, fun and exciting tastings with Lithos, Haut Espoir, Beau Joubert and Vilafonté – the latter taking it to the next level with an interactive tasting seeing Mike, Sophia and co. setting up a webcam and leading the tasting via live stream. Tastings had 20 to 30 people from all over SA joining at any one time. Dinner parties were set up, menus planned and prepared to pair with the wines, restaurant bookings made and tweets and photos flying everywhere. That’s a far cry from the five or six app users that used to gather fleetingly – and without much ceremony – to sip two or three wines and send three or four tweets about them.
So that’s it for the look back. Now I have to look ahead to 2015. And to be truthful, I don’t know what to expect. I have plans and ideas. I have a small but capable army of immensely talented people who are backing Incogvino. I want to grow this little passion project and I want to see it turn the wine industry, or at least the writing/blogging part of it, on its head. Ok, maybe that’s me tilting at windmills. But I want to try.
I want to shake things up. I want to do more. Say more. Write more. More wines. More farms. More of the usual fun stuff. More events. More hidden gems. More giveaways. More people. But also more opinions. More on the things I disagree with. More on the things that are controversial. More on the things that really grate my proverbial cheese (or crush my proverbial grapes?). And learning. Lots of learning. Wine is magic; I don’t think anyone can ever really know ALL the secrets. But we can give it a damn good try.
Pop those corks, lovelies. Decant and let breathe. Polish the glasses. And hang on to your Panama hats.