Q&A with a Wine Influencer: Luiz Alberto & Social Media
Luiz Alberto has been an extremely busy man lately, taking the Master of Wine exam just a few days ago. Whatever the results will be, and even though this is the highest qualification in the world of wine, it won’t be his first remarkable impact on the world’s wine community.
Brazilian by birth and living in the Boston area of the United States, Luiz is the founder of the #Winelover community, a Member of the Circle of Wine Writers, a Judge at international wine competitions, a wine educator, and a communicator. He has gathered over the years a large following on social media placing him as a prominent figure of our Top 20 Worldwide Wine Influencers.
Despite this frightening schedule and the incredibly demanding preparation for the MZ exams, Luiz accepted a few weeks back (yes, I’ve been very slow in publishing ;-)) to answer our Q&A and give us his views on social media and how he uses it.
Q: You are ranked within the Top 10 worldwide wine influencers on Social Media, does that mean anything to you?
It means a lot to me. There are many people doing a great job with social media (including you) and it’s an honor to be at the top among famous wine communicators such as Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkin (both MWs).
Q: How do you generally define your role in the wine industry?
I work as an educator, a judge in international wine competitions and I write (I’m a member of the prestigious Circle of Wine Writers of London). However, I like to see myself as a communicator. Someone who uses social media to share my passion for wine. As the founder of the #winelover community, this is the mission I created: “We are people from around the world sharing a passion for wine, invested in social media to facilitate greater communication, education, and promote wine based business for all facets of the wine industry, from vineyard to glass.” And this is exactly what I’m trying to do.
Q: Do you now find social media is a good way for you to serve the wine community the way you mean to?
Few could argue that social media has changed the way wine is communicated in the world today (the decline in usage of traditional consumer communication forms, such as print and broadcast, proves it.) I believe social media is the future to communicate about wine. Still there are many things that we need to improve, but I believe that we (very active social media users) are moving in the right direction to provide accurate, high quality information to the wine community. I also believe that we are more and more acting as catalysts in bringing producers and consumers together. This is one of the best services we can provide.
Q: Has social media influenced your editorial on TheWineHub.com? Has it encouraged you to cover certain topic because you knew your audience on these specific channels would like it and share it?
I don’t think it changed my style… but it made me post things exclusively for social media. Articles about the highest Klout scores in the wine industry are the best examples.
Q: Social media is very time-consuming when you have a large audience like you have. Plus you’re studying for one of the highest and hardest qualifications in the world of wine: the Master of Wine exam. How do you deal with social media on a daily basis?
I’m counting the days for the exam now. As of today (March, 28th), there are only 73 days left… so I had to reduce drastically my use of social media. For instance, I’m still tweeting a little bit daily, but my last post on Facebook was on March 23rd, when I announced that I’ll not be using FB until the exams in June.
Q: Do you learn from the feedback given on social media? If yes, what? How is it different from what you would learn meeting people in person?
Absolutely. Social media is global and it brings different perspectives to all wine-related subjects. The way people make wine, the wines we drink, the closures that are used… they all bring discussions (most of the time in a positive way). No matter how much one travels (trust me, I’ve travelled a lot in the last decade!), it’s impossible to see everything and everyone. Social media brings a vast array of opinions and beliefs to the screen of my computer. With that being said, I’m a big believer in “real life” events. As much as I love social media, it doesn’t replace (and never will) the beauty of sharing a bottle of wine and a good conversation with friends.
Q: And lastly, do you think we will continue seeing you influencing the wine community on social media in the same way you have so far within the next 10 years? What would change if you pass your MW?
I sure hope so! 🙂 As I said, I love social media and I hope I can keep doing what I love for many years to come. Everyone knows that I’m passionate about wine but, nevertheless, I believe that passing the MW would be extremely helpful to make people believe (the ones that still don’t) that we – #winelover-s – are very serious about wine. For instance, I just passed a very difficult exam to become an Italian Wine Ambassador with a top 5 score on a class of 50 very qualified wine professionals from all over the world. When it was announced during the opening of Vinitaly last Saturday, I could see on the faces of the Italian producers that were present at the event that they admired and respected my achievement. The truth is, people love titles and, if I become an MW, I’m sure many doors will open… not only to me, but to many other people in the community that communicate about wine. So… cross your fingers and please tweet to your followers to do the same in June! I’ll need all the positive energy I can get… 🙂
Read more interviews with wine personalities from our Top 20 Wine Influencers.