FAQs about WineScribble Wine Videos

Here is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions about the WineScribble Wine Videos. If you want to know any more, feel free to contact us.

What is WineScribble?

WineScribble is a personal project documenting both my journey into the world of wine, and my development as an amateur film-maker. WineScribble was originally supposed to be a WordPress website, a wine tasting notes blog, maybe with a few bits of well-researched background information on wine storage, wine aromas, and wine facts.

However, when I took a look at everything else in the space, I realised that I couldn’t find the kind of wine videos that I would enjoy. So I decided to start making my own Wine Show, the kind of Wine Show that I wanted to watch. Rich story telling, great videography, a focus on quality of both the cinematography and the story weaving. Something that reflects the richness of wine as an experience.

Who is WineScribble?

WineScribble is a two-person team. We are partners at home and partners at work. WineScribble is the hobby project that we enjoy in our spare time. We both bring skills from different domains. Mine are from the space of story telling and story weaving. Formally, I qualified as a languages lecturer, however it has been a long time since I was in front of a lecture theatre. My partner is very technical, with qualifications in engineering and computing.

But, you probably want to know more about Annabelle McVine… Annabelle is a character that was created and exists mainly in front of the camera. Basically, Annabelle is a slightly larger than life version of me, without the day-to-day real life challenges. This allows me to place her in exaggerated situations that serve the point of the wine story that I am telling.

Why are these wine videos so unique?

Before we started to make videos, we watched maybe 200 other wine videos on YouTube. We realised that wine videos, in comparison to other YouTube vlogging genres, tended to be behind the curve. The more traditional format of a straight shoot, almost no editing, and a script that mainly dealt with a straightforward academic question relating to wine. No attempt was made to place the question within an engaging narrative context or to deliver the answer to the question in a way that was entertaining as well as factual. So, we went straight to the top of the vlogging genre.

At the time we started the project Casey Neistat was the number one YouTube vlogger, with 10 million subscribers. We studied his technique: clean cuts, fast edits, engaging story telling (usually in a 3 act structure), and started to build our own style. At this point, we have worked out our own unique video approach: b-roll to provide context, rocking music tracks, and the WineScribble story weaving. The feedback so far has been superb!

Where do you get the great music from?

Most of it has come from the YouTube free music library, I tend to start the search for an interesting piece of music with the filter set to ‘Funky’. Also, we have used free music from BenSound and from Free Stock Music. We are always very careful with the royalty free music licensing conditions. Passionate creators should be respected.

Any formal wine qualifications?

None. Neither of us. Although, having said that, I did recently complete a UC Davies Distance Learning course in Wine Tasting. I scored 86% overall, and I am pretty pleased with that.

Any formal film-making / photography qualifications?

Nope, entirely self taught. Loads of enthusiasm, and a willingness to output the best possible quality, given our limited budget and time.

How are you making money from these wine videos?

We are not. This is a hobby project. People take different things from different activities. We get to work together, which is great. And we get to focus on the same tasks, which is great. We are learning new things, which is great. And we get to play with techno-gadgets that we wouldn’t normally have, which is really great.

More importantly we maintain creative freedom, our style is pretty wacky in places. And we love that. Moreover, our viewers trust us to make our own videos, rather than ill-disguised adverts. We know what we like. We talk about what we like. And we have fun.

What’s going on with the amazing wardrobe?

Many fans tell me that they came for the wine and stayed for the wardrobe. This is very flattering! I have not bought any particular item of clothing or any footwear specifically for WineScribble. These are my real clothes. I’m so glad you like them! Cheers!

Where do you live? Where are you from?

I come from Cyprus and this is where I currently live, though I have also lived in the UK in the past. My partner is British, from England, and lives with me in Cyprus.

How long does it take to make the WineScribble wine videos?

How long is a piece of string? Haha. Okay, so the shortest time we made a video in, was probably the ‘What does Semillon taste like‘ video. That took about 3 hours of research, 2 hours of scripting, then about an hour on my own on the beach with the Canon Camera. This was followed by about an hour of cutting and editing and audio balancing. Then, it typically takes maybe 2 hours to upload to YouTube, make a thumbnail, clean up the subtitles, add endscreens, tags, description, playlist, etc. Total, maybe 9 hours for a 4 minute video.

A bigger video like the visit to Ktima Gerolemo took maybe 25 hours in total. A travel vlog like the Chania video was filmed over three days – I wore the same clothes the second day, and we edited on the laptop in the hotel room on the fly. It was cut and ready to upload before we got on the plane to come home from Chania.

Quality matters to us and quality requires time, attention to detail and many hours of work.

Do you work with a team?

No, just my partner and I. We need to shuffle scripting, filming and post-production around our real lives. But we have committed to releasing a high quality video every week, and so far we have not missed a deadline.

What gear do you use?

Well, my partner was into amateur photography long before I was. So, we already had a Canon 5D Mark II and a bunch of Canon lenses and accessories available before we started on the WineScribble project. We added a Canon 80D and a GorillaPod to the family in summer 2018. Very recently we have started to play with a GoPro Hero 7 Black, a gimbal, and now we are learning how to fly a DJI Mavic Air drone too (wooo-hoooo!)

How scripted are your wine videos?

Very. I tend to work very hard on the ‘front-end’ before any cameras are switched on. Let’s try an example, so the Chocolate Cake and Vineyard Terroir video: I wanted to talk about vineyard terroir, and International Merlot Day was coming up. So, I picked a theme for the video – Chaos and Order – and then worked from the inside out.

The core of the video was to be a whiteboard presentation about vineyard terroir, however, on its own that would be quite a simple and maybe dry video. So I wrapped that in a story about Chaos and Order that I could generate on my own in my filming space. Hence, the chaotic chocolate cake baking, the order of the cake mix at the end, the chaos of the power-cut and the order of the rescued cake that was turned into brownies.

The only thing that went off script during that filming, was that we failed to fail at making the cake, because it baked faster than we expected – check out the video – I actually took a really good looking cake out of the oven that day! I had to behead it and use the bottom half as brownies to keep to the script. The creme chocolate bit was complete improvisation – and more proof that I need to stick to my original script!