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It’s awards season in Tinseltown, and we have not been disappointed by the dramahhhh. So far, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri cleaned up the Golden Globes, the Annual Critics’ Choice and the SAG Awards. Oprah delivered an acceptance speech that had the world begging her to run for president. The KWEENS of Hollywood wore black in solidarity to victims of sexual harassment and assault. And Mariah Carey accidentally stole Meryl Streep’s seat.

With a few nights still left of the 2018 season, drama is as guaranteed as red carpet. But there’s only one that we’ll really be paying attention to. Hollywood’s night of nights, the big one, the 90th Academy Awards… aka The Oscars.

Whether you’re a genuine fan or a hate-watcher, we’ve made like sommeliers to the stars and put together a drinks list for the evening. If only to distract you from the inevitable “Thank you, God,” speeches….


Best Musical/Comedy
Natural wine. Why? Because, like a musical or a comedy, it can make you laugh, it can make you cry, it can delight you, enlighten you and transform you.

Or it can just annoy the $^%& shit out of you.

Best Foreign Language
Something imported… obvs.

But it has to be something you can say with a lisp, a kiss or a sigh… preferably something you can tell your friends you discovered “the last time [you] were in *insert country*”…

Best Short Film
A half bottle of something. We’d go Champagne, because #oscars.

Best Music
A Martini, shaken not stirred, is the standard here (always), but this year it has to be whisky served in your favourite limited-edition replica tumblers that Jim Beam made especially for the original Bladerunner that you bought on eBay because it’s the Greatest. Movie. Ever. Period.*

Or Jawa juice. But no one knows WTF that is anyway.

*Anna’s editor note; Dan actually believes this and does own said glasses. #nerdalert

Best Visual Effects
A ridiculously complex cocktail mixed by your local fabulous mixologist. It’ll be impressive, fancy, full of flare, smoke and maybe even a mirror. Hopefully, it’ll taste good but after waiting 15 minutes for them to make this masterpiece you’ll wish you just ordered a gin and tonic.

Best Writing
This must be a wine a sommelier has written up on their wine list in an attempt to showcase their incredible vinous vocabulary. Preferably a wine that “juxtaposes the complex matrix of thyols with a… blah blah blah why are you still talking I just don’t care …”

But honestly, just take a punt on a wine you’ve never heard of, nor can pronounce, as honestly, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to forget what it was the minute you finish it anyway.

Much like whoever wins this award…. Zing!

Best Picture
Walk into the wine store and buy the wine with the prettiest wine label. We’ve all done it – this is the time to embrace it.

And heck, at this stage of the night, the label will probably be the only thing you remember anyway.

Best Actress
While the academy of old white men may suggest something aromatic, pretty, perfumed, delicate and perfectly poised, forget that shit and grab something bold, robust with a solid dose of sass. AMIRITE, SISTAS?!

Best Actor
For this Oscar vintage, it should be something shy and retiring, definitely reserved and with a quiet humility. Very. Quiet.

Or, perhaps, insist on something with a lack of back bone, bitter aftertaste and a touch of regret.

*double ahem*

Project Manager – Japan

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PROJECT MANAGER JAPAN for leading wine & food media/experience company
Full time, starting ASAP with one week training in Melbourne, Australia.



As our Project Manager at REVEL MediaJapan Inc., you’ll be a core part of an authentic, bold, and progressive global brand. We’re looking for an energetic and experienced event professional who displays confidence and empathy, thinks outside the box, and is ready to collaborate on remarkable experiences that people love and learn from.

現在急成長中のグローバルブランドの日本拠点「REVEL Media Japan」でプロジェクトマネジャーとして働きませんか?REVEL Media JAPANは、やる気がある経験豊富なイベントプロフェッショナルを探しています。真剣に仕事に取り組む方、クリエイティブで人の中心に立って働くことが出来る方、奮ってご応募下さい。

Reporting into the General Manager, Japan, your flawless planning skills and tech savvy know-how will equip you to lead project management of Japan events from conception to delivery. You will be required to work on the occasional Saturday or Sunday and be willing to travel to Melbourne Australia for our training in March.


You’re fluent in Japanese and English, super organised, have excellent project management skills, and the ability to prioritise and meet deadlines. Bouncing between strategy and hands on work energises you.


You are able to work autonomously and remotely from a co-working space in Shibuya (to be confirmed) but also work effectively with a global, virtual team.


This role will be hugely satisfying for the right individual, as you’ll be given the responsibility to be in a core role with an incredible, small but growing team based in Melbourne, Australia.

Overview of duties

  • Develop and implement a strategic project management and resource plan
  • Develop budgets and forecasts for event activity income and expenditure
  • Manage and oversee contractors and venues for events
  • Produce necessary event documentation for each event such as run-sheets, project plans, producer briefing, training documentation for staff
  • Manage and coordinate all compliance requirements
  • Communicate and liaise with all producers (wine, food, beer etc) to ensure relevant documentation is received and fees paid
  • Conduct financial/compliance closing and reporting
  • Oversee, write and proof marketing collateral
  • Provide PR, digital, and social media support
  • Monitor and report on progress of each project every two weeks


  • 戦略的プロジェクトマネジメントとリソースプランの計画立案と実行
  • 各イベントの収益と費用を予測し的確な予算策定
  • イベント実施に必要な業者及び施設の管理監督
  • イベントに必要な文書(進行表、プロジェクト計画、イベント参加生産者への説明、スタッフのトレーニングに関する文書など)作成
  • コンプライアンス要件の管理とコーディネート
  • イベント参加生産者(ワイン、食品、ビールなど)との連絡、必要書類や手数料の支払管理
  • 会計・コンプライアンス関連の実施と報告
  • マーケティング資料の作成、チェック、管理
  • PR、デジタ・ソーシャルメディアサポート
  • 2週間ごとに各プロジェクトの進行状況のモニターと報告

Skills and Experience:
3+ years hands-on experience in an events role encompassing multiple projects
Able to translate documents and social media posts into Japanese
Be self-motivated and willing to work hard to achieve results
Superior organisation, project management, negotiation, and time management skills
Proven reliability, assertiveness and confidence as well as creativity and flexibility
Communicate with professionalism, across all levels, both internally and externally;
Be adaptable, able to mould to an ever-changing environment;
Flexibility to work after hours at events and travel as needed
Excellent writing skills
Excellent client management skills
Excellent social media, digital and PR skills
Relevant tertiary qualifications in Marketing, Business Admin or Events is desirable
Keen knowledge of current and emerging technologies relevant to projects as well as advanced computer & word processing skills
Embrace the Revel culture
A basic understanding of wine
Must be a Permanent Resident
Able to supply own laptop


For a full position description, get in touch with your CV, salary expectations, and tell us why you would be perfect for this role to



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Thirty seconds to a minute is all the time a sommelier has to work out what wine a person might like, and that also matches both their dish and price point. When you consider the large, encyclopaedic lists many restaurants have, it sounds as daunting as it does impossible.

But it isn’t.

The skill resides in effective communication. Asking a few key questions and, most importantly, listening to the answers helps you guide a guest to where they feel comfortable, or to their exploratory boundaries.

In all my time as a sommelier, I have never sold a bottle a wine based on facts and figures; always on style and story. When it comes down to it, your customers are not there to have dinner with you and they’re certainly not there for a masterclass, so good sommeliers know to keep it simple without dumbing it down. With such limited time, bamboozling people with winemaking bullshit is neither helpful nor useful.

I used to drill this into my sommelier staff by asking them to describe a wine and timing their responses. Often it would be along the lines of: “Well, it was picked at 13.5 baume, did its primary fermentation in stainless before being transferred to new French oak, from Seguin Moreau with a light toast, before a little battonage to build some texture as well as a partial malolactic fermentation of 30%…” You get the drift.

Say that to someone who knows wine and they’ll look at you, annoyed, and say: “Please go away and get me a glass of wine.”

Say that to someone who doesn’t know wine, and they’ll still look at you, annoyed, and say: “Please go away and get me a glass of wine.”

The issue is getting caught up in the winemaking process without giving your customers a connection to people, place or story. We remember stories more than facts and figures. Why? Because they’re more interesting than stainless steel tanks.

A scenario …

Imagine enquiring about the steak in a restaurant, and hearing this from your waiter in response: “This is grass-fed Angus beef from Gippsland, that was put it on a truck and taken to the abattoir, where it was stunned, its throat was slit, its blood was drained and it was stripped of its skin before being sawed into smaller pieces. It was then cryovaced and left in a warehouse before being sent here, where we dry aged it until it had a light covering of grey rot. We then scraped that off and cut it into steaks.” Still want to order it?

Don’t get me wrong, what happens from paddock to plate is vitally important, but I don’t necessarily want to hear about it over dinner. As a diner, I’d like to assume your produce is from ethical and sustainable sources and I feel confident in that because I trust the chef. It’s the same with a wine or wine list. Assume the sommelier has already done the hard work. Trust and be guided by what they share with you.

Before our events, we say to our wine producers: “… if we hear one mention of baume levels, trestling systems, clonal selections or any other of that winemaking bullshit, we’ll yellow card you.”

While a tad militant, our point is the winemaking process shouldn’t be the default nor opening line.

Why not start with “Hello?”

Much like a sommelier in a restaurant, at an event a producer has between 30 seconds to a minute to tell their story and make a connection with the guest in front of them. Telling them who they are, where they’re from, why they’re there and what style of wine they make will have far more resonance than any production method.

It’s the vinous equivalent of an elevator pitch.

Is yours good enough?

New Year, New Facebook: What these new changes could mean for your wine brand

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Like the rest of us, Facebook has a New Year’s resolution, but guess what? It’s all about you.

Facebook is rolling out a new algorithm to better connect you with your friends on your News Feed. In short, this new algorithm will prioritise posts, stories and photos based on what your friends “…react to, comment on or share” in order to facilitate “deeper, more meaningful conversations with the people you care about”.

But what does this mean for publishers, brands and business pages? Well, it could mean a significant drop in page traffic if you don’t pay to play. Getting your message out there could get very expensive very quickly.


On the positive side, the new algorithm should clean out your personal News Feed quite a lot, hiding posts from pages you really aren’t interested in anymore but are too lazy to ‘unfollow’ or ‘unlike’. But by the same token, the content you’re sharing from your page is just as likely to go unseen.

So now, more than ever, the content you create must put your audience first.

It is no longer good enough to simply broadcast updates, facts, stats or promote ‘Buy Me’ call-to-actions. Do so, and the struggle will be real. If you focus on meaningful engagement, your audience will react with comments, tags and shares, and your content will perform much better.

But this shouldn’t be anything new. This type of content should always be the primary focus of your content strategy.

The first questions you should ask yourself when you’re creating a post for your page is ‘Why will people care?’ and ‘Is this shareable?’

According to Facebook data, on average we scroll through 93 metres of Facebook News Feed every day. To put that in context, that’s the height of New York City’s Statue of Liberty.

That’s an insane volume of content we’re scanning and consuming, so what you produce needs to be compelling and attention-grabbing not only in order to get someone to stop, even for a few seconds, but look at, read and interact with before they scroll on.

You must give your audience a reason to both engage with and share your content. Luckily, there is one simple way to do so: Solve. People’s. Problems.

For wine brands, it is no longer enough to just say ‘Visit our Cellar Door’ or ‘Buy my wine’. Your focus should be a broader narrative about who you are and where you’re from. How do you live?

As an example, if you want me to buy your wine, tell me why I should buy it, how I can buy it, where else is it available, in what wine bars, retail stores or restaurants and where are they in my area?

Then, once I’ve bought it, what should I cook with it? What recipe do you recommend? What kind of meat and where should I buy it? And if what you recommend is local produce, then who and where are they? Tell me about them. Tell me a complete narrative. How can your product integrate into my life?

The biggest problem we all have is a lack of time so help people solve it.

Everyone is busy, after all.

“OK. I’ll just boost my posts to my page fans.”

Sure. That’s an option, but it’s very much a scatter gun approach, and you’ll only really reach those who already like your page. Even then, you might not be reaching the people you actually want.

Data tells us only 3.9% of people who ‘like’ a festival’s brand page actually purchase tickets to that festival. Something to consider if you’re trying to sell your wine via your Facebook page or attempting to target someone else’s.

Strategic Facebook audience targeting is now more critical than ever in ensuring you reach the right people so the dollars you spend can go the distance. You literally cannot afford not to.

And the best way to start is to create compelling, engaging content that solves people’s problems.

The Internal Wine War: Apollo vs Dionysus

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On a recent flight back from Perth on Qantas’s very comfortable A330, I decided to watch Stephen Fry’s live show, recorded in Sydney on his most recent tour.

In it, he spoke of the Apollonian and Dionysian philosophies highlighted in Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. The Apollonian is the form, structure and rational thought of man. The opposite is the Dionysian, where emotion, drunkenness, madness, enthusiasm and ecstasy influence individual will. For those of the vinous mind among us, this may sound familiar. Dionysus is, after all, the god of wine.

Fry then went on to explain, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that most things in life can be explained using Star Trek. On one side Captain Kirk had his fiercely logical friend Spock (Apollo), offering rational and impassive solutions to the issues he faced. On the other was Bones (Dionysus), full of emotion, passionately and unequivocally opposed and frustrated by the unaffected Spock. Each argued their point and position at every crisis the Enterprise faced and it was up to Kirk (us) to find the balanced solution. Often with scantily clad aliens.

Onto my third glass of Chardonnay, I started thinking about how true this is for wider world of wine and why there is a constant battle between the two philosophies: the analytical and the emotional.

It made me think of the various vinous camps of MWs, MSs, sommeliers, writers, analysts, retailers, importers, wholesalers, reps, winemakers, viticulturists, marketers and PRs, all attempting to bring a sense of reason and logical thought to the Dionysian consumer.

The critic, for example, attempts to analyse and dissect a wine, applying reason to what should be an emotional response. Even people who don’t know wine still know what they like. Our default is Dionysiac. Wine gives us pleasure.

As wine professionals, it’s our job to take on the burden of analysing and dissecting a wine in order to wholly understand it. But we do this so others don’t have to. Even within us, there lies an animalistic desire to just switch off and consume. Far too often the quest for reason, understanding and knowledge is at the expense of our emotions.

While some of the best wine writers are able to pull on our emotional strings (Andrea Frost especially), sadly they are few and far between. If the aim is to engage consumers, it is so important that the language used engages them on an emotional level first.

Winemaking jargon not only intimidates, it isolates. Leave the reasoning to the converted.

We can’t be emotional all the time, and finding the balance between (the Captain Kirk, to use Fry’s metaphor) the emotional and analytical is one of life’s great challenges.

But, keep in mind that there’s no more appropriate place to submit to our inner Dionysus than wine.



Originally published on Dan’s personal blog in 2014. Still relevant today we would suggest.