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The Single Greatest Piece of Business Advice I’ve Ever Received

By The Rant No Comments

The phrase “No one has a monopoly on busy” is one I seem to use a lot. But last week it was thrown right back at me by a friend who was chasing me (again) for information that she needed — information that would be beneficial to me, too (it’s on its way, Angela!). And my response to her?

“I’m busy.”

In my defence, I’ve been working hard trying to get enough done that I’ll be able to take a well-earned break over Christmas, and come back refreshed in the new year.

But even as I used this all-too-familiar excuse, I could feel how poor it sounded. And it got me thinking about what I regard as the single most important piece of business advice I’ve ever received.

Allow me tell you a story.

It was about three years ago, and I was having one of those weeks. Everything was just a bit too much. So what did I do? Grabbed a glass of wine (or six) with my wine legend mate Andrea Frost, and tried to complain the stress away.

I dumped all of my woes, frustrations, doubts, challenges, and general stresses surrounding my (then) fairly new business right onto her. Once I was done, Andrea turned to me and said:

“Dan. You need to remember, no one asked you to do this.”

I was floored. Silenced. I’d just been dealt a proverbial tsunami of truth.

No one asked me to run one wine event (let alone multiple events in various cities and countries) in the same way no one asked you to plant grapes and make wine. Or open that shop or start that brand or other business. The world will go on quite well without any of us.

We are the only people who decided to do this thing. So it’s up to me to take responsibility for mine and own it, and for you to own yours.

Don’t get me wrong — I get it. Business is a tough, relentless, all-consuming beast. It can be lonely and sometimes all you want to do is scream, “What the FUCK am I doing this for?!”

But we both know we wouldn’t have it any other way because we bloody love what we do. And if you don’t love what you do, then stop doing it right now.

This advice was, for me, truly humbling and brought me back into the present reality. Much like the ancient Roman generals who ordered slaves to stand behind them after a victorious battle and whisper repeatedly, “You are still mortal.”

We are all busy.

We’re all working our butts off trying to get things done and the struggle is very real. But remember, in those moments of small business panic, breathe and whisper the words “No one asked me to do this.” Make it your mantra. Then, regroup and get on with it.

No one has a monopoly on busy. Even at this time of year.


By News, The Rant No Comments

A few weeks ago, Wine Communicators of Australia held a follow-up to their successful Under the Influence: Who really holds sway in wine buying decisions? seminar.

The session was moderated by the veritable Angie Bradbury (Dig & Fish) and panelled by wine legend Clare Burder, Max Allen (representing what he called the “heritage media”), Johnno Harris from Mitchell Harris Wines and Paul Ghaie of Blackhearts & Sparrows.

From Max’s always erudite column to Clare’s excellent wine (and drinks) courses and Blackhearts & Sparrows wonderful stores, all regularly come into contact with a broad range of wine drinkers.

The discussion was fascinating. The conversation flowed from what people are drinking right now to how they heard about it. The panels’ experience was essential in learning more about how people consume both wine and wine media.

Ultimately, it comes down to the wine drinker.

I have a few ideas surrounding this. We (REVEL) interact and engage with a heck of a lot of wine drinkers at our events, so when it was my turn to speak I asked the room to name their top three Instagram wine influencers in Australia. The room was effectively silent, highlighting the exact point I was trying to make: There is no ‘one’ influence in wine, but multiple. And this is a bloody good thing.

If you like art, you don’t follow just one artist. If you like music, you don’t just follow just one band.

You follow all related people and personalities that surround the category. Whether it be commentators, radio stations, DJs, record stores, festivals, platforms, digital publications, Apps, and, perhaps most importantly, you follow what your friends are listening to, and share it.

Wine is no different.

So while some may see a frustrating market fragmentation, I see multiple opportunities. There is an incredible opportunity out there for wine brands to explore and find their own niche and engage with their community on a variety of levels and platforms. Bloody cool, huh!

Never before have people been more engaged when it comes to what they imbibe, and they want to learn and experience it the same way they consume it: socially.

Wine is social. You open a bottle of wine to share with friends, so why should it be any different when it comes to the way people communicate and learn about it?

It is why I truly believe people* are the new wine media.

So if you’re a wine brand, drop what you’re doing and focus your attention on the people who actually drink your wine. And fast.

People don’t just follow one writer, maker, sommelier, retailer or event, they follow multiple. They follow their friends, their community, wine bars, restaurants, events, colleagues, waiters or anyone else they choose.

Why? Because it’s a part of their daily lives. Could you really ask for more?

It is not to say critical assessment, education or in-depth articles of wine are irrelevant, they’re not. Yet they should be seen as one of many multiple niches speaking to its own (primarily wine) audience. An audience that only represents 5-8% of the wine-drinking public. So try not to get too frustrated when your post about “the complex matrix of thiols” or “microbial yeast selections in the winery” doesn’t get much reach.

The good news is you already have an audience.

It’s now just a matter of how you communicate and engage with it.

*I deliberately say ‘people’ here and not ‘consumers’. Cows consume. People drink and talk and ask questions and have fun. They are the majority in wine, damn it, so please stop talking about them like they’re some sort of weird frustrating anomaly. Talk to them. They respond.


By The Rant No Comments

“Want to know what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur? Well, let me tell you. It’s hard. It’s fucking lonely,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, kicking off his keynote at the Business Squared event at the MCEC.

For those in the know, Gary is a formidable online force whose fast-talking, forward-thinking ideas and perspective have made him into one of the planet’s most sought-after public speakers.

For the wine folk among us, you will no doubt remember him from his Wine Library TV episodes (of which there are over a thousand) and will recall how capably he commands your attention.

So, as he took stage at Business Squared, the full house was literally on its feet and cheering. It was clear it was he, out of all the speakers, who they were there to see. So was I.

On a day which seemed full of self-congratulatory, ‘I can make you a million if you buy my $4000 program’ speakers, Gary’s humble approach was a welcome reprieve.

“Empathy is a strength, not a weakness,” he begins, telling us that mindfulness and self-awareness are the anchors in any successful business. Hard work, rather than a ‘Look at me and my fucking bling on social’ attitude, is how you make it. “Get on team optimism, not pessimism.” Amen, brother.

His insights, incredibly well-articulated, came at us thick and fast and we couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency and excitement to just get out there and do it.

“If you do not learn all you can about Facebook, Instagram and audio right this second, you will miss it all,” he implored. “The speed and pace of now is phenomenal. Do not get left behind. Put the work in or you’ll be replaced and you’ll regret it. And regret is death.”

The urgency in which he says this is contagious. “The technology we’re seeing right now is everything. It’s oxygen. It’s coming and sure, I get it, learning about it is like learning how to swim in a tsunami.”

As we spend 50% of our time on a mobile device staring at social media, it is all about the ‘currency of attention’. We need to be where the eyeballs are. And Facebook and Instagram is (still) where it’s at.

“Information is worthless. Experience is the game as we have everything at our finger tips and in our pockets. Experience becomes vitally important in capturing and maintaining attention. Compelling storytelling is key here. ‘Content, content, content,’ may be the catch cry, but to be effective it must be compelling.”

What’s next, says Gary, is a very emphatic call to audio. Why? Because “it trades on selling us back time”. Time that we are so limited with. “If you haven’t got a podcast yet, do it.”

Sales of Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are going nuts (Alexia is already in 11 million homes in the USA), so we’ll be having those in our homes increasingly more in the next three to four years. Do yourself a favour and learn an Alexia skill right NOW, he says.

But whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, Spotify, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, or whatever, do it all. But make it compelling.

Because if you don’t, “You’re going to miss the greatest attention land-grab we’ve ever seen”.

Why does he give away these insights? “Because 99% of you won’t do anything with them”.

Will you?

We are REVEL

By News One Comment

Every REVELation starts with a spark …

In our case, it was more of a lightning bolt … back in 2012 we were, well, bored of wine tastings and decided there had to be a better way of engaging people with wine.

Make it fun, even. Imagine that!

So, instead of moaning, we took matters into our own hands and started throwing our own wine tasting events. They were… different. A music festival atmosphere, young everyday people having fun, DJs, the odd dress up, and good food … it was a winning combination. Before we knew it, we were running a full calendar of experiences across Australia and New Zealand all around making wine simple and fun to sip, learn and share.

Today we’re celebrating our next REVELation as we welcome the dawn of a brand new day with the renewed focus, purpose and energy of a new brand … REVEL.

Building upon our experience, success and commitment of Bottle Shop Concepts and creating and delivering remarkable experiences, our new brand marries the very best elements of yesterday with a fresh outlook to create something that’s well, a bit more us these days (we aren’t actually a bottle shop you know).

Our new name, REVEL, represents our love of bringing people together for a good time. It says fun. It says celebration. It says cut loose and leave your troubles at the door.

We love it and we hope you do, too.

Our new logo is deliberately simple.  Fresh and clean, this new look will carry us into new global markets in the coming weeks, months and years and captures our forward-thinking attitude and, well, maturity. We’re serious about what we do so we want to look like that, too.

But our brand is much more than a new name and logo … it’s the roadmap that helps guide our actions, behaviours and communications to ensure we’re always creating, running and sharing the world’s best, most creative wine and food experiences …

We live to create remarkable experiences that people love and learn from. This is our REVEL brand purpose.

We’re here to change the way wine (and food) is experienced and communicated on a global scale. That is our mission (no small feat but we’re up for the challenge).

Anchored in hospitality, we literally pour our hearts into what we do. We genuinely give a shit about the community we’ve grown over the years. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

So in essence, what we’re all about is the concept of … Share the Love. This is the big idea that unites us and drives everything that we do. From the experiences we create to the revelutionary network of winemakers, suppliers, partners and loyal revellers (that’s you!) we’ve been fortunate to build; we’re here to share our passion and know-how with one and all. Peer to peer.

So, to everybody who’s helped, supported and laughed with us before, during or after our gigs over the last 5 years … thank you … we look forward to reveling with you all as we continue changing the game and sharing the love!

We are REVEL. Global.