In an effort to start writing more, this occasional series dips into the thoughts, plans and reflections of our MD, Ben Franks. The first of these muses on the topic of writing, Pinot Bianco, and big plans for YouTube.
One of the main reasons I’d revamped my consultancy – and this website – was to force myself to write more often. I grew up aspiring to be a writer; of fiction, at first, and later as a journalist. While part of my writing dream to be read seems to have been translated into a dream to make some sort of impact in wine, I think about being a writer every day.
So for all its worth let’s start something. One of the driving forces for creative people is some form of accountability. I tend to only create actively in two scenarios: boredom (a rare privilege when you’re running three businesses) and to a deadline (the beauty of stress pressure, I suppose – if it were to have any beauty at all). I get that calling this ‘The occasional Sunday musings of a wine merchant’ is setting myself up to excuse my way out of writing it, but hey if start-up life has made me anything it’s a realist. Stuff’s going to get in the way.
Picking where to start is my next challenge. A colleague of mine at Novel Wines says to do away with introductions and jump right in. I guess if you’re on here you know who I am, or you can find out in a couple of clicks, so let’s take his advice and launch into Pinot Bianco.
I went on honeymoon almost a year ago now. During that time I had a bottle of Cantina Terlano’s 2015 Vorberg Terlaner DOC-Gebiet Pinot Bianco, which I’ve not stopped raving about. I know that sipping a wine like that on the Positano coastline has a ring of special context about it, but the effort of the restaurant to sit on this vintage and show their punters what Pinot Bianco can do with a bit of time in bottle was a gorgeous moment. Those nutty, mature notes that surround the electric lemony tones of Pinot Bianco were succulent and vivacious. It should be a commendation enough that my ears perk up at the sound of Pinot Blanc every time someone’s mentioned it since.
Now this week I’ve been sketching up some ideas to launch the next stage of BFW’s media. I’m honoured to have a plethora of amazing voices join me on this site to share their thoughts on wine and spirits, and I loved producing the first series of our first podcast, Wine Flight with Sophia and Ben. What next? Well, Youtube. I don’t want to sip and swirl wines and chat tasting notes but to do something different. I love what SortedFood do for cooking, James Hoffmann for coffee, and the Whisky Tribe do for spirits, but let’s face it they’re committed full time and they’ve been at it for years, morphed by their audience and followers. It would be naïve, if not narcistic, to pitch that high. That doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting. And that’s where Pinot Bianco flies in. The enduring beauty of wine is passion, as that’s the moment people remember what they were drinking – whether it’s a bottle of wine evoking an emotional debate, or a glass shared over a date when your heart skips a beat, or whether the juice itself elevates the food and wine experience to pure thrill. If a Pinot Bianco can make me obsess like a pig with its trotter in the soil looking for truffles then let’s make the first video about Pinot Bianco.
I’m sure, as a businessman, my thinking should be deeper somehow. What’s the commercial angle? Ah, who knows. Maybe it’s brand awareness, but then that only really works if anyone watches it – and this is video one. I think, probably, it’s an opportunity to work with people I have loved to working with (I’ll let you know who they are once they agree to collaborate, otherwise this won’t age well!) and do what we all got into wine for… share something that tastes great and have a bloody good time doing so.
See you next week. Hopefully.