19 Jun 2010
Summer is approaching and with it comes the increasing desire for Mojito’s. As the mint sprigs grow high in the backyard the aroma beckons the simple sublime sweet and sour that is a Mojito. Rather than bore you with words, here is a video on how to make the perfect Mojito.
6-8 mint leaves
3/4 of a lime or more
1 tablespoon of sugar
Fill glass with 2/3 ice
2 shots of rum
4-6 ounces of soda water
Stir and enjoy
18 Jun 2010
Hey, you, sitting there in the bathrobe. Put down the bacon and the powdered donut and get busy! Busy with what you say? There is a lot of wine to taste and you only have a few days to do it. You work hard all week, you need to treat yourself to some liquid art! I suggest a cure for the cubicle, corporate and blue collar blues is a nice glass of purple pleasure! You can thank me later.
Having an event and don’t see it on the list? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
- June 18-20 Spokane Symphony Best Fest: A fantastic three night event featuring the best of Spokane Symphony, wine, beer and ice cream. Tickets are available for each night and for the full three day event. www.spokanesymphony.org
- Friday: Best of the classics with wine tasting
- Saturday: Best of the stage and screen with brew fest
- Sunday: Centennial celebration of Father’s Day with Brain Freeze ice cream
Take a tour of the local wineries. Most are open. Visit this link for hours, reviews, wine recommendations and more. http://drinknectar.com/2010/01/24/spokane-wine-tour/
- This week’s highlight of places you may have never been is Nodland Cellars. Located in a little business park off of I-90 and Montgomery, Nodland produces small lot high quality wine. Most years, Tim and Tracy make just one red blend. It is a special wine.
Friday, June 18
Friday, June 18 – Grape and Grain: Grape & Grain is a wine and beer tasting event, along with a silent auction that benefits the American Advertising Federation of Spokane. AAF Spokane puts on a number of events each year benefiting great causes like Project Share, TASC (Teens Against Substance Abuse), and more. Lincoln Center, $40 in advance. 13 local wineries and breweries are participating.
Music at Whitestone Winery: Enjoy music and the wine of Whitestone from 6-9pm at 111 S. Cedar. No cover
Vino Wine Shop: Mercer Estates Columbia Valley 3:00-5:30pm
Davenport Hotel: Live music from 8pm – midnight
Left Bank Wine Bar: Live music every Friday starting at 8pm, no cover
Rocket Market: 7pm Wines of Spain and Portugal (8 amazing wines, food, cheese, and bread) Reservations requested, $18 343-2253
Saturday, June 19
Angel Ball at the MAC: Join this great event to support the fight against Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes; 6:30 pm $25 per person
Vino Wine Shop: June Wine of the Month Club selections 2:00-4:30pm
Rocket Market: Saturday drop in tasting with Whitestone Winery 3-6pm; Stay for live music at 7pm from Matt Russell
Sunday, June 20
It’s Father’s Day!
Get out to a winery! – Always a handful of Spokane wineries open. Enjoy! (Trezzi, Robert Karl, Townshend, Lone Canary, and Caterina are open)
Arbor Crest Summer Concert Series – Singlewide 5:30 to dusk; $5 cover
On the Radar
- June 21: Ghetto Gourmand Mid-Summer Night’s Dream – A food revolution is cooking in Spokane. Super exclusive, secret and limited engagement dinner parties with four course meals, music, art, performance and more. Get in on the underground!
- June 26: Soiree on the Edge - The Spokane Symphony is combining two of its most popular programs to create an exciting new event located on the stunning grounds of the historic Cliff House, home to Arbor Crest Wine Cellars.
18 Jun 2010
What do you get when you cross a commercial Realtor and a political consultant? Potentially, the need to drink a lot of wine. Both professions are fraught with frustration, let downs, and quite a bit of finesse. After a long day at the office, wine wields its wonders on the weight of the workday. Enter Cody George and Brian Murray. As friends, their long time hobby acted as a creative way to express their passion and provide a release from their hectic day jobs. From the early days of knocking on vineyard doors saying, “Do you have any grapes” to 1300 plus cases, Vintage Hill has always been about friendship.
Bonded for their first production in 2006, Vintage Hill Cellars jumped right into the business producing 450 cases with a lineup that included Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot. 100% of their wine is produced on site from crush to consumer. They also distribute everything from their storefront on 2nd Ave. Cody and Brian have transformed the old brick building into an eclectic and comfortable urban art vibe. Vintage Hill contracts their grapes from vineyards that include Pepper Bridge, Stillwater Creek, River Wine, and Milbrandt.
While, I’m not a green freak or a tree hugger (not that there is anything wrong with that), I do appreciate the effort a creative effort to recycle. Brian and Cody observed a lot of waste in the wine business ranging from grape skins to grape seeds and even $1000 oak barrels. They turned that waste into products like Orange Clove Cabernet and Lemongrass Merlot infused soaps. Vintage Hill also offers soft soaps and even crushed grapes seed products used to exfoliate. For the true wine die hard, there is wine soaked chipped oak barrels for the BBQ.
Vintage Hill has grown steadily by word of mouth over the years. While Cody says his favorite part of wine making is the late light laughter with friends during crush or bottling, he admits that “winemaking is 90% cleaning.” Vintage Hills is excited for the upcoming release of the 07 Syrah in the fall with a 07 Malbec to come after that. When talking about the future Cody expressed the desire to continue slow steady growth with a more immediate need to establish regular store hours. Currently Vintage Hills is open during occasional First Friday events and other special occasions. It’s always best to call ahead before stopping by.
- On the web: www.vintagehillcellars.com
- On Facebook
- On Twitter
- On the Street: 319 W 2nd Ave
- On the Phone 509.624.3792
- The Stuff: 100% Syrah from Burgess and Milbrandt Vineyards; aged in new and used French oak (regiment not disclosed)
- The Swirl: Deep plum color with nice color to the edge of the glass. Cloudy and slightly unfiltered (of course it did just come out of the tank prior to filtration and bottling)
- The Sniff: Very saturated aromas of stewed cherries, and pepper. Quite a unique nose that is slightly difficult to pin down. It’s like an unwieldy greased pig rolling around in a prune, cherry filled pit.
- The Sip: Good creamy dark berry and cherry flavors with undertones of oak, baked bread and toasted almonds.
- The Score: Not Yet Released – I score this wine 3+ out of 5. Certainly a departure from a traditional Syrah or even a new world Syrah. I encourage you to go down to Vintage Hill for a sampling of this before you buy it just to be sure you enjoy their style of wine making.
I remember the first time I heard a song I wrote on the radio…it really is like that scene in “That Thing You Do.” While the song never went anywhere, it sure was magical to hear the invisible airwaves crackle with life as it carried the notes off in the breeze. Equally cool is seeing your name in print. Lately, I’ve had the joy of being mentioned in two newspaper articles and two TV spots. The newspaper articles focused on events I was sponsoring and the TV spots were about social media privacy and HR5034.
When Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine writer, Kristen Harrington called to say she wanted to feature my blog in the Liquid Libations section of an upcoming issue I didn’t dance around screaming but I was pretty damn happy! I’ve been a long time reader of the magazine and love the local focus on food, wine, real estate, homes and history. To be included is an awesome honor. Not all of their articles are available online, so I got permission from the editor to re-post the story. Show them some love by going to their web site and reading a few other posts. If you like it, by all means subscribe!
The following is an excerpt from the June 2010 issue of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine by Kristen Harrington
“I’m a champion and an advocate of the Spokane wine scene,” says Josh Wade, the mastermind behind DrinkNectar.com, which he describes as an online interactive outpouring of his passions for wine and coffee. The website contains wine and coffee reviews, video interviews with local winemakers and a calendar of local wine events.
Wade, who blogs under the moniker “drinknectar,” combines a sophisticated, engaging writing style with witty prose that will likely inspire you to uncork a bottle of local chardonnay or head out to the latest coffee bar he’s reviewing. “
I never intended this to be where it is. I thought my mom and sister would read it,” says Wade, who started blogging about wine and coffee last November. Now wineries send him wines to review, he gets invited to winery-sponsored functions and he has over 2,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. “It shows the power of social media,” he says.
Wade is almost as passionate about social media as he is about the 2006 Nodland Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. He encourages Washington winemakers to use the social media sites Facebook and Twitter to promote their wines, and DrinkNectar.com includes tutorials on how to use these sites.
Fun scene from “That Thing You Do”
17 Jun 2010
I’ve got web design on the brain. My day job has had me buried in web design politics for going on 18 months now. We’ve been through 3 major iterations and have just completed user testing with 37 people from San Jose to Sao Paulo and Boston to Beijing. We’ve broken the project down into a few phases, the first of which will go live (fingers crossed) on November 17. The final phases will probably keep me employed (again fingers crossed) through 2011. From there I hope to be in a position to launch my diabolical wine and coffee world domination plan. In the meantime, I was playing around in one of my favorite wine playground web sites, Corkd.com, and thought I would suggest some redesign opportunities.
Gary Vaynerchuk bought Corkd.com in May of 2007. After several years little attention, Gary announced a commitment to Cork’d hoping to propel it into the wine stratosphere like his other ventures. Recently Cork’d went through a change in direction introducing article content to the site. At first articles were added as a secondary page called Cork’d Content featuring 1-2 articles per day. In April, Cork’d CEO Lindsay Ronga moved in a new direction with 4-5 daily articles bringing Cork’d Content to the front door and the social interaction elements of wine reviews, drinking buddies, and wine education to the background. I am a regular Cork’d Content provider, but I was puzzled by the separation rather than the integration of the two elements. I personally love the interactive element of the review feed, drinking buddies, and fanning grapes and wineries.
I’m not a graphic designer. In my day job, I manage the projects and make sure that the technology partners are delivering on what the line of business wants in a timely manner. In this Re-Cork’d review, I took all the elements that currently exist on the site and arranged them in a way that would make me want to use the site and stay on the site. At a high level, I think Cork’d is in need of some graphic overhaul from the logo to the coloring (the pink and red just aren’t inviting on the eyes). Below are the eight elements of the site that I would have on the page.
- Header: I would start by bringing over the header that exists on the wine review portion of the site. This encourages people to create an account and provides a search component for the great wine database within Cork’d. Opportunity exists here for greater visual weight and even incorporation of the navigation (element 2), and a new logo.
- Navigation: Navigation is helpful on any site. Currently the existing Cork’d navigation is available by clicking “Wine” from the home page. Bringing this over gives users an easy interaction to the reviews they enter, the people they connect with and the wines they are a fan of.
- Articles: Content is king and good content is sticky. Currently Cork’d has 4-5 articles per day. I’ve noticed a decrease in the interaction of articles here (comments, reactions, tweets, and facebook shares). People have a difficult time absorbing that much information. This section could be reduced to 2-3 really good articles per day to increase awareness. If they want a lot of information on site, they may be better off doing what WineBusiness.com does and creating a feed of top sites on the internet.
- Live Feed: I love this interactive part of Cork’d. Right now it is buried on page two. It provides a great way for people to see what is happening in real time with Cork’d users. Interaction can occur and people will stay on the site longer.
- Sponsors: I understand the need for sponsors, although I know that Cork’d doesn’t rely on them for their business model. Create a small space to bring awareness to key products but don’t overdo it.
- My Reviews: As a user of the reviews section, I would appreciate seeing my current reviews somewhere on the page. If a user doesn’t enter reviews, a default could be added to show the “featured user” current reviews or something similar.
- Contributor Reviews: To break up the article volume, a separate section could be created to house the posts by contributors that are wine reviews.
- Drinking Buddies and Fan: This section continues the interactive piece that was the original framework of Corkd.com. This makes the whole right side of the page very interactive and sticky for the user and builds on the wine community that helped build Cork’d into what it is.
Please understand that I’m not ripping on what Lindsay or Jonathan are doing over at Cork’d. I’m a huge fan. I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Troutman of Cork’d and Kristin Murphy from Wine Library on a recent trip to New York City. They are great people and fantastic winos. These are just ideas that I had swirling in my head as I carry my day job into my night hobby.