Sarah Buitendach sat down with Andy Hadfield, founder of of Real Time Wine and all-round, self-proclaimed “digital native”. They discussed all things wine-related while HL also got some tweeting tips…
What’s the deal with Real Time Wines? Real Time Wine. Minus the S. But I like the sound of wines… Maybe that’ll be the name of the distribution arm one day 🙂 So, it’s a cute story. One day I actually opened the Platters book I had and started to read it. That lasted about 3 minutes, because aside from the star rating, I didn’t understand a single bloody word. The wine review industry has quite an inner-circle nature to it. If you’ve done the degree, got the certificate and can hold your nose up high, you’re allowed in. And you understand what the bloody hell they are saying. Basically, I went through Platters that very day and wrote down every word I didn’t understand. That became the banned words list. Then I started tweeting wine reviews. Twitter limits you to 140 characters – so that’s very little opportunity to be erudite and wispy in your wine description. We’ve kept that character limit and although it gets tough at times, tends to make for some very amusing writing – the hard-nosed humorous stuff! Then I started encouraging other people to review (that’s the dream baby, anyone can be a wine reviewer if given the correct platform). The tweeting started to gather a following and eventually turned into a website and a Facebook page. And that’s where we are now. Plotting and scheming about Real Time Wine version 2!
And how has it been received? Incredibly well. Almost too well and too quickly. The site up right now isn’t much more than a pilot, a repository for all the reviews from the Winos (we have 6 official Winos) and Fans. Within the first couple of months we’d been featured in The Daily Maverick, The Sunday Times, countless blog posts (my favourite were the pissed off professional wine reviewers – I have a feeling the words “arrogant whippersnapper” were thought, if not actually used!) – and I see we’ve made the New Age recently as well. Helluva ride.
Do you know a lot about wine and could you, if forced to, have very poncy, intimidating conversations about it? I know NOTHING (said in best Russian accent)! And plan to keep it that way. You know, it’s interesting, I’ve been very lucky to guest on the WineStyle panel once or twice – they share a similar philosophy of non-wanky wine reviewing. I think I’ve got a fairly good set of taste buds – but the big advantage in my opinion, is my language is clouded with understanding too much behind-the-scenes technical info. Don’t get me wrong – professional wine reviewing has a place, and a community… I’m just after a different kind of drinker. No. I don’t know a lot about wine. And no, I couldn’t have poncy conversations about it. I’m all about good, honest drinking. Set me down at a dinner table, following the Real Time Wine mantra of no banned words and tasting guidelines… and we’ll have a jolly old time. The guidelines by the way: smells like, tastes like, feels like. Put that in your 140 characters and smoke it.
Red or White? Red… although some tell me I’m more strict on my red wine reviews than the white. Interesting. I’ve just discovered Chardonnay – which is an interesting turn of events – because I could’ve sworn they taste like the rear section of a cat before.
The wine that changed your life? As a student, my girlfriend at the time happened upon this wine called Steenberg Catarina. It was about R100/R120 a bottle – which in our student world was stark raving flaming bonkers. So we saved up for a year, and bought one. It touched me in all the right naughty places (the wine, not the girlfriend, well, she became my wife – but I digress…)
Give us an example of a Real Time Wine review. How about of the last wine you drank? With pleasure… This is the latest one (as of Friday 10 June 2011)… “2010 Clos Malverne Le Café Pinotage. Oh yeah! Coffee mocha thing slides down like cream. If Pinotage has many Britneys, this is the Madonna. 9/10. R80.” My favourite review of all time comes from one of our esteemed Wino’s (and slightly more qualified than the rest of us reprobates). We keep waving the banned words list at him, and he hasn’t faulted yet. Wino Harry Haddon early this year: “2010 Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc. Smell: Kiwi & granadilla. Taste: grassy herbs & pineapple. End result: Fist pump. Splendidly balanced; tight, but at ease. 8/10.” Now come on! That’s funny… and more importantly, you know exactly what to expect. No banned words. No wispy technical descriptors. Just good, solid Real Time Wine reviewing.
Three wines you’re rating closest to a 10 right now? I’ll give you the 3 before the Clos Malverne… 1. 2007 Louisvale Chardonnay 2. 2010 Groote Post Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 3. 2005 Haut Espoir Shiraz I noticed there was a Diemersfontein Pinotage in that list of 9/10’s as well. That’s an argument I love to have. It’s such a polarising wine. Most normal wine drinkers love it. Most trained wine drinkers hate it. That’s the disjunct Real Time Wine seeks to solve. There’s wisdom in the crowd 🙂
@Realtimewine tweet that’s had the biggest response? Crickey. I have no idea. Ummm… It was probably the one where I sent out a call, looking for Food and Wine bloggers because we wanted to take them to dinner and bounce some ideas off them. There was a bit of Cape Town / Jozi cat fighting there as well 🙂 In Joburg, we eat and drink too you know. Plus we earn triple the salary. So we can do it more often. Wah! I kid! Was a great event, and met some awesome local Foodies and Winos.
Your favourite food and wine tweeps to follow? So many! I’m going to say the lovely people I met at the first Real Time Wine / WineStyle event…
The Peeps & Tweeps
- me 🙂
And favourite local food and wine blogs? Them links above!
Perfect winter meal (and what you’d drink with it)? Potjie. I have another pet project, Extreme Potjie. I recently did a lamb, mint and yoghurt potjie. Holly bollocks, it was nice. Serve with beer to start. Then a thick, spicy Shiraz. Best restaurant? Family vibe: Funtastico’s in Bryanston New favourite: HQ in Sandton What do you love about Joburg? The weather is awesome. The people are even better (this coming from a Capetonian). Stuff happens in Joburg. The business culture is cool, just don’t sell your soul to the rat race. The sunsets. The cosmopolitan culture. And lastly, where do you buy wine? Supermarkets mostly! Like the rest of South Africa. *bows* It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me. I’ll be here all week. To find out more about Andy and his ventures please see the following links: about andy headlines