New wine. New name. New packaging. New revolutionary closure. These are the headlining words on the promotional material for the new Yellow Tail Bubbles. We all need a little more sparkle in our lives and I’m all for finding affordable “go to” wines. Available for $8-$12 does the Yellow Tail Bubbles deliver the goods for all the upcoming holiday celebrations?
I received this wine, along with three Yellow Tail Reserve wines, as an industry sample. A few months back, with the help of my friend Atlanta Wine Guy, I discovered my “daily” affordable sparkling wine in the Segura Viudas ARIA Brut. For $8, it is a fairly tasty and dependable sparkler. I was curious to see how the Yellow Tail Bubbles would stack up in the under $10 price point.
The labeling is a nice upgrade from the previous packaging. The shimmering gold foil and understated logo offer a hint of class to an otherwise whimsical and playful brand. What intrigued me the most was the use of the ZORK re-sealable enclosure. If for some odd reason you don’t finish a bottle of still wine, you can easily re-use the cork as an enclosure by turning it over. Sparkling wine corks are not that way. The ZORK cap combines the romance of popping the cork and the convenience of a proper seal for maintaining the gas (which is where the bubbles come from).
NV Yellow Tail Bubbles
Not much exists in the way of winemaking notes on the wine. The secondary fermentation process is done in the Charmat process where the fermentation happens in a pressurized tank. Not sure of the grapes used in this wine but my guess would be Chardonnay and possible a little Sauvignon Blanc (if you know, please share). The wine clocks in at a relatively low 11.5% ABV.
In the glass the YT Bubbles is yellow, like a granny smith apple and offers a nice head of bubbles even after three days under the ZORK. The bubbles are slow rising and are medium in density. Aromas of apple juice and bread are first out of the glass. In the mouth, there is a good sparkling effervescence but not overwhelming. Subtle flavors of apple sauce with a hint of cinnamon along with a crisp lemon zest round out the flavor profile. The finish is quick and the acidity is minimal. Overall there are some good flavors but nothing in the way of any complexity or layers. At just $9.99 RRP 3/5
In comparison to the Segura Viudas ARIA, this wine was not my style. While the notes claim it to be dryer, it is not as crisp or acidic as the SV Brut. Many people will enjoy the mild sweetness and the price point is low enough to try and come to your own conclusions.
*Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
Dennis Isip (pronounced e-sip) calls himself the Web Profit Engineer. I first met Dennis at a LaunchPadINW event here in Spokane, WA. According to Dennis’ web site, “(He) loves helping entrepreneurs overcome their challenges because he knows what it is like to struggle.” Dennis helps businesses with their internet marketing, strategy, awareness and education. Recently Dennis asked if he could interview me, saying something about a “brilliant business model.” Well, Dennis, if you say so, I think there is a fair amount of dumb luck in there.
I’ve pasted a little synopsis of the interview here to whet your appetite. I hope you’ll head over to Dennis’ site and read the summary and if you have time, listen to the interview. I tell the whole story of how I hatched this Nectar thing and where it is headed.
An Interview With Dennis Isip, the Web Profit Engineer
AT&T, Twitter and Domino’s all have something in common with Josh Wade.
But before we get in to that, let’s talk about their differences first.
- AT&T has horrible customer service (you can check Consumer Reports, but I also have my own ‘inside sources’).
- Twitter still doesn’t really have a solid business plan; i.e. it doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up.
- Domino’s Pizza was started with just $500 (business success does not necessarily require a lot of start-up capital).
- Josh Wade – well, who is he? Just a few months ago, he didn’t really have any business at all.
Now let’s look at what’s behind that one common thing that their respective competitors are jealous about…
Visit Dennis’ site for the full article
28 Oct 2010
Do you have a smart phone? Neilson studies show that 21% of Americans currently use the iPhone, Droid, Palm, and Blackberry devices, and by December 2011, that number will jump to 50%. In just a few short months 1 out of every 2 cell phone users will be Facebooking, Tweeting, Four Squaring, mobile information junkies.
The change in the way people consume information and interact with each other is happening at an alarming rate. The implications and opportunities for businesses are staggering, and while I’d love to tackle those, this is a wine blog, what does all this mobility mean for the general wine consumer? The accessibility to information means that consumers are less likely to be ignorant or uninformed. The information they need is at their fingertips. From how to fillet a fish, intubate a patient, drive from Needles, CA to Winslow AZ, or pick the right wine with your seared sea bass, the information is available…now, wherever you are.
There are lots of mobile wine applications. A quick search on my Blackberry App World shows only a dozen or so, but search results on Apples app store return over well over 20. Since I don’t own an iPhone, this isn’t a review of these apps, it’s a recommendation of one specific app. For month’s Hello Vino has been the go to wine app for iPhone users. With over 500,000 wine recommendations every month, Hello Vino is among the top wine apps around. Recently, they introduced the launch of their app on the powerful Android system.
“Android is the fasted growing mobile platform,” says Hello Vino’s Rick Breslin. “We’re excited to assist millions of Android users with their wine selection during the holiday season.”
Hello Vino can suggest a certain varietal for your dinner, specific wine for your tastes, or even a dinner to go with the wine you have selected. The easy to use interface makes locating the perfect wine fun and simple. One of the coolest features of Hello Vino is the integration of wine reviews from uber cool writers like Elizabeth Schneider, (Wine For Normal People), Joe Roberts (1WineDude), Wark Kadel (drXeNo), Thea Dwelle (Luscious Lushes), Steve Paulo (Notes From the Cellar), and yours truly, Josh Wade (Nectar Wine Blog). For everyone who has wanted to, now you can take me with you wherever you go! All kidding aside, the app is well done and makes locating what you need fun. Aside from me being a featured reviewer on it, the best part of Hello Vino is that it’s FREE.
The Broke Wino calls Hello Vino, “One of the most powerful apps for making wine suggestions.”
Recently the Hello Vino app was featured as a “staff favorite” on the iTunes store. That is quite an endorsement!
If you’re a mobile user and have an iPhone or Droid phone, go to your app store and download Hello Vino. The next time you’re out to dinner and you’re confused about what to order with your Greek Spanakopita, you’ll only be a few taps away from knowing.
27 Oct 2010
There was a time last week when I had 25 bottles of wine open in the house. “What is the problem,” you ask? Well, for one I feel obligated to drink every bottle and two, not all of them are good wines. The open wines were from the Chile Blends tasting, One Hope Chardonnay, and four box wines from Don Sebastiani & Sons.
Over the last six months, I’ve had my share of boxed wines, many of them from the group that distributes the Octavin family of wines. This week, I’m cautiously optimistic to take a look at four wines from Don & Sons and their Pepperwood Grove brand. As a mouth breather and wine lover, chances are you’ve had one of the seven D&S brands, Aquinas, The Crusher, B Side, Flock, s|k|n, Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove.
After significant research Don & Sons concluded that consumers were hesitant to buy 3L boxes because they didn’t see a brand they liked or knew. D&S is taking a significant step by using one of their mainstream recognizable brands in the 3L box format. The four Pepperwood Grove wines are Don & Sons first boxed wine release. In my opinion the packaging, presentation and labeling are the best of what I’ve experienced in this format.
For newcomers to the “new” box wine format, a bladder inside the box deflates as the wine is consumed keeping oxygen (wine’s enemy) from deteriorating the flavor. The 3L format is equivalent to four (4) bottles of wine. A convenient spigot provides easy access. While I’ve yet to encounter a premium wine I’d enthusiastically serve, there are several mid-quality offerings available. Let’s see how the recognizable GREEN BOX wines perform.
BIG GREEN BOX NECTARVIEW
Since each of these wines is simple, clean and in eco-friendly packaging. I’ll keep my reviews simple, clean and I’ll save some words too.
Pepperwood Grove Pinot Grigio
Tweets from the machine:
The un-oaked Pinot Grigio comes across as an oaked wine to me. The wine was round, slightly flabby and offered subtle hints of pear and lemon water flavors. The acidity was weak and the finish was a quick flash. 13%ABV – certainly no offensive flavors but very simple in presentation. Quite a few people will enjoy this wine. It’s simple to drink and will probably go fast at a party. $20 retail for 3L ($5 per bottle); 3-/5
Pepperwood Grove Chardonnay
Tweets from the machine:
Very yellow and thick in the glass, like a pale banana. Strong aroma of toasted apples and vanilla. The mouth feel is big and flabby. The six months on oak staves comes across. I would envision quite a bit of malolactic fermentation as well. The acidity is mild leaving the flavor lingering in your mouth. For those that prefer crisp Chardonnay, this will not be your wine. If you enjoy Chardonnay for the thick easy drinking apple flavors, you may want to give it a try. $20 retail for 3L; 3-/5
Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel
Tweets from the machine:
Light burgundy in color and very translucent, can see to the bottom of the glass. At only 13.5%ABV (refreshing for a California Zinfandel), this is on the very low side of alcohol for Zins. Good aromas of blueberry, subtle strawberry, tobacco spice and more. It’s all mellow, but it’s there. The palate is very nice as well with flavors of plums, strawberries and mild pepper. The acidity is well balanced and the finish is lovely. Definitely the bargain find of the four wines tasted. While not complex, there are good flavors in this wine. 3/5
Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon
Tweets from the machine:
The wine is sourced from Valle Central (Chile) fruit and weighs in at 13.5%ABV. I get a lot of sour red fruit and raw meat with hints of clove on the nose. Other participants enjoyed the aroma, but for me it was a little off putting. In the mouth the wine felt disjointed and out of balance. With green peppers, sour cherries and medium tannin, the flavor profile was not one that I enjoyed. From the comments on the machine, it looked like the participants were split. 3-/5
Other Reviews, Insights and Final Thoughts
Don’t try this party trick with 16 bottles
Have you ever had dreams of being a magazine publisher? Be careful, those dreams might actually be nightmares in disguise. Some say that traditional media is dead, and while I might agree that traditional media that refuses to adapt is in danger of dying, there is still a place for niche driven publishing. Today, I officially enter the world of the insane…er, I mean magazine publisher.
Rewind six months to a restless night in May. Coming up on my final interview of Spokane’s 18 wineries, I was consumed with the desire to get the word out beyond the readers of this blog. A print publication celebrating the regions wine seemed to be the next logical step. In my mind Spokane has reached the tipping point of being a wine destination. When I visit Woodinville, Yakima, Lake Chelan, or Walla Walla, multiple publications help share the story of the areas wine and events. Why not Spokane? I reluctantly crawled out of my bed, leaving the warmth of my wife behind, to be embraced by the glow of my computer screen (an activity that has repeated on many occasions since).
The next morning, I started my research and was startled to learn that it was feasible to publish a magazine. Heck, with enough money and time, you can accomplish anything. I began to lay the foundation of what would become Spokane Wine Magazine. Here I am, Josh Wade, in Spokane WA, with no experience in print publication, attempting something way outside my comfort zone. I’ve done my fair share of indie CD recording and distribution, but layout, design, ad sales, editorial, and printing was all new territory.
Fast forward to today. With the help of an army of talented individuals, Spokane Wine Magazine goes to print. In just a few short days, 10,000 copies of a regional celebration of wine will be hitting the streets. Over the last several months, I’ve learned several important lessons and spent a lot of money and lost some hair, and gained a little more grey hair. But, we have arrived…below are five short lessons I’ve learned through the process. Please join the journey by bookmarking www.spokanewinemagazine.com, follow us on Twitter @spowinemag and like us on Facebook.com/SpokaneWineMagazine.
Five Ways to Avoid Going Crazy When Entering the Publishing World
Engage people who have been down the road:
One of the first calls I made after getting the wife’s blessing to go forward with this crazy idea was to my friend Margaret Croom of Nosey Parker LLC. Margaret has successfully published shopping guide books for women in Spokane and Oklahoma City. She is a brilliant marketer and understands the publishing world. She agreed to partner with the publication by offering her experience, lending her name, and providing her talent. She immediately introduced me to Rainmaker Marketing. Without these relationships, my dream certainly would have turned into a nightmare.
Enlist the support of key influencers:
Who, besides yourself, stands to benefit from the publication? In my case, the Spokane wineries as well as the visitor’s bureau were logical people to approach with a partnership and sponsorship. Spokane IS a wine destination and getting that word out benefits both groups. I put together a pretty rough media kit and scheduled meetings with the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the agency that represents the Spokane Winery Association. The result was a fairly immediate excitement about the project along with a cautious approach to jumping in with a hobbyist wine blogger. After some coaxing, follow up and compromise, both groups were happy to be on board.
Hire the right people:
I consider myself to be pretty ambitious, but it became apparent pretty quickly that I was in way over my head for time, and expertise. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to surround yourself with competent people who can help you fulfill your vision. As most of you know, I try to balance my family, church activities, blog writing, opening Nectar Tasting Room and a full time job. Starting a magazine was just another demand for time and money. Hiring a designer, photographers, ad sales person, and an editor became necessary additions to the budget. You cannot do it all…and survive to tell about it.
Make a budget, double it, and prepare to lose money:
I went into this adventure prepared to lose what some would consider a fairly substantial sum of money. It was the price of getting started and hopefully blazing the trail for future revenue. I was committed to proving that I could get it done and didn’t want to cut any corners. Starting off with a budget and getting firm numbers from contractors was essential. In the end we stuck pretty close to our original budget and I’m happy to say that with the help of the team, we broke even with the very first issue, something my wife is very happy about.
Be flexible, strive for perfection, and stay true to your goals:
Believe it or not, not everyone will be supportive or understand your vision. In fact, chances are you’ll experience some good ol’ fashion opposition. Be persistent and in the end, develop a thick shell and let it roll off your back. I believe in the project, but convincing companies to part with their money for advertising in an unknown can be a challenge (on a side note, I am extremely grateful for all the advertisers who have jumped in to the first publication. You’re support will not go unrewarded). I learned that I needed to be flexible with my design ideas, with my time, and with my money, but still stayed true to the original vision of the project.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned along the way. I’m always available if anyone would like to talk about my adventures. Having gone from zero experience to seeing the whole process unfold, I certainly have some other lessons learned that I can pass along.
With that, I am so full of pride to say that the final product is complete. Very soon, Spokane residents will be able to pick up the very first copy of Spokane Wine Magazine at area wineries, the advertisers, and other key businesses and wine events. The Spokane CVB will be using the publication as part of their visitors and convention packet as well.
Thank you so much to the following partners, Nosey Parker LLC, Rainmaker Marketing, Spokane Regional CVB, Spokane Winery Association, Nectar Wine Blog, and my beautiful and supportive wife! Let’s do it all over again in September 2011.