Indulging in high quality Cypriot and Greek wines is one way Despina Tilemachou is getting through the lockdown, each day discovering the textures and tastes produced at local wineries and sharing them with her 17,000 Instagram followers (@winescribble).
In her #lockdownwine series Despina, or Anna to be more exact as that’s her online persona, shares a wine almost daily, describing its taste and what it pairs well with. Her audience, the tasters as she calls them, have quickly fallen in love with this series of almost flippant descriptions in layman’s terms, eagerly anticipating the next upload.
As a storytelling project, WineScribble with channels on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, focuses on telling the stories of the producers and the people involved in the wine culture of Cyprus and other Mediterranean countries.
Initially, this was meant to be a wine-tasting blog to share the knowledge Despina acquired as she educated herself in the tastes of Cypriot and Greek wines. However, when realising that consumers, millennials especially, prefer media in visual and video format, she made the switch to weekly YouTube videos, something she calls the Mediterranean Wine Show. It’s safe to say that it’s doing well as in just 18 months WineScribble has reached thousands of subscribers.
With immense respect for the work of local wine producers and with a desire to build a Cyprus wine community and brand that is internationally recognisable, WineScribble concentrates on the Cypriot wine industry. The Instagram Lockdown wines series is the latest expression of this.
Her Instagram feed is filled with photos of wine bottles, half-full glasses and her cheery face with hundreds of likes and a comments on each one. Creating the Lockdown Wine series was a way for Despina to stay creative and bring some entertainment into people’s at-home reality, while fulfilling her ultimate goal of sharing the works of local wineries.
“The Lockdown Wines series has enabled me to stay closely connected to my audience during this challenging time,” she commented. “The posts and Instagram stories have been very well received, and it has given me an opportunity to be very creative with my limited time and space during this lockdown. Many wine lovers have reached out to me to say they look forward to these posts every day.”
Catching one of her cheerful Instagram stories can put viewers in a good mood as she’s upbeat and theatrical. Yet what you see online isn’t Despina but her online character, Annabelle McVine, though the two interlink.
“WineScribble is a show, not reality TV,” she explains. “Think of this as the Top Gear of Cyprus Wine. The character I created for this show, Annabelle McVine, has a lot of things in common with me, but Anna never needs to deal with the practicalities of life like putting fuel in the car, feeding the cats and cleaning the decanters. The one thing that Annabelle and I have in common is that we are at our happiest when we are tasting a new wine.”
The new series isn’t just watching Annabelle talk about wine, she also informs her audience which wineries make home deliveries during the lockdown and she will soon share the ordering and delivery process.
“I have collected all the phone numbers together into a table of contacts on my website at winescribble.com and I will be running stories on both Instagram and Facebook to share the delivery information about Lockdown Wines.”
It’s clear that Despina is passionate about supporting the local wine industry and why she does what she does. “Cyprus is a great wine destination,” she said. “After all we have more than 80 wineries and every one of them is situated in magnificent landscapes and steeped in thousands of years of wine history. I do think that our tourist industry should focus on wine tourism a lot more. It is sustainable, high quality tourism that can’t be neglected. Many of my YouTube videos focus on our mountain wineries and Troodos villages. It’s important to celebrate them!”
Though it’s not only wine that WineScribble celebrates. Recently, wine lovers club OenoArt and the Lions Club Nicosia Within the Walls approached her for a collaboration for their charity Zivania event which took place last month. In an impressive three weeks, Despina produced a 96-page recipe book, The Taste of Zivania and filmed the event for her YouTube channel.
Having interviewed the people behind Cyprus’ wineries and formed a close relationship with wine sommeliers, Despina knows a thing or two about wine.
“These are challenging times,” she added. “This may feel to some like we are currently experiencing a loss of personal freedom, but these decisive measures have been very effective… The only way to overcome this crisis is to pull together. We should stay home and divert our excess energy to self-development – we finally have time for that wine course we have always considered! Above all, enjoy great wine.”
Find WineScribble’s adventures on Instagram and YouTube @winescribbe and on Facebook @winescribblefriends