Signe Meirane, creator of food and wine collaboration platform Cetrassezonas, finds the combination of local Latvian food and wine an excellent mix. In creating Cetrassezonas Meirane has discovered how to transform a beloved hobby into a business, while at the same time remaining independent in her work. As this online venture has provided Meirane with a torrent of tips and lessons on food and wine, Meirane hopes to share this information to other passionate followers of food and wine.
As one of the speakers at the 2011 International Wine Tourism Conference, we had the opportunity to speak with Meirane about wine information exchange and wine tourism. Below are Meirane’s responses to our questions:
1) As the 2011 Wine Conference takes place in Porto, Portugal this year, how do you view Porto, Portugal as a wine destination?
I think Porto is still an unappreciated wine, which is sad because there are some great examples of it and I think it has good potential to grow even bigger. Of course everybody knows Porto. And Portugal is still like an untouched country in terms of wines and also tourism which make it even more attractive for a wine loving tourist to go there.
2) What was your inspiration for Cetrassezonas, an online platform where people can connect and share information on food and wine, and in what way is wine culture a part of Cetrassezonas?
Our inspiration was my husband and my passion for food and wine, my experience working in restaurants and one of the biggest alcohol producer and importer companies in the world (Pernod Ricard group). With Cetrassezonas we wanted to make a place where people of any age and economical situation can gather to read recipes, about wines and travel, actually about everything connected to food while also sending in their travel stories and recipes. Why wine? Because we, Cetrassezonas.lv have a dream that after reading more about the grapes, wine and producers, also reading interviews with the people who make wine, reading about wineries to visit and which wine to buy when traveling, society will step by step start to appreciate the culture of wine and also understand the prices of wine so they can understand what is behind the creation of wine and start to love that.
3) As Cetrassezonas is a platform for your audience to share informtaion, how has the exchange of wine knowledge evolved? Do professionals in the Latvian wine industry speak directly to the consumer on your site, or is the exchange predominantly between one wine enthusiast and another?
In most way we provide information to the readers – we love a wine, a wine producer or have tried something new in the market and then we write about that. Then we start a dialog with importers to give us the information, put it together with their info that we know and can find out, and from that we make an article. The second way we communicate involves three groups – professionals, importers and also readers. We organize blind tastings every month where participants are sommeliers, the importers (those not presenting a wine at the tasting) and also our website readers. Out of that we choose a TOP wine which we publish on the website and I believe that this helps guide people who dont know what to choose in a shop. Through June 27th of 2010 we have had three tastings – Cabernet Sauvignon from all over the world (shelf price from 5 – 10 Ls), Sauvignon Blanc from all over the world (shelf price 5 – 10 Ls) and Rose. In august we will gave Chardonnay from South America (shelf life 5 -10 Ls). The third way we exchange wine information is in our cooking classes where info is exchanged between the chosen importer’s wine to match with food, between readers and between wine enthusiasts that meet in the cooking classes.
4) What would you tell our audience about the wine culture and tourism in Latvia, and the role Cetrassezonas can play?
Wine culture is growing – slowly but steadily. There was a crisis in that past that led to some steps back. But overall the culture has got a lot of potential, but just needs someone to guide people. Cetrassezonas plays the role of an educated teacher mainly because there is no other media that concentrate so well and at such a level on food and wine in Latvia. There are sommeliers and wine industry people who share their knowledge but sometimes they do it in such a hard and sophisticated language that people get scared away from wine. We are trying to present our information in the easiest possible way so that people dont turn away.
5) What wine destination would you suggest as the site for the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference?
Italy (Sicily), Austria or Germany.
Join the International Wine Tourism Conference and network with Signe and 200 – 300 more attendees. Signe will be delivering a talk at the Wine Tourism Conference titled: Four Seasons Internate Food and Wine Resource for Latvia