Do you have a wine lover on your Christmas list? Buying for a wine lover can be a serious challenge. If you buy them wine you run the risk of being ridiculed for your inadequate choice. If you buy them a typical gadget, it may be relegated to the drawer of wine charms and cork screws, put in the next garage sale, or worse yet, re-gifted to the crazy uncle.
To help you in your gift giving for the wine lover in your life, I’ve got some fun, eclectic, novelty, and even some local ideas to help make your Christmas shopping easier. You can’t go wrong with these gifts!
Eisch Wine Glass Set ($30 per glass)
While Riedel glasses seem to be the toast of the wine community, I love my Eisch glasses. After all these years, Germany is still attempting an overthrow of Austria. Perfectly balanced and boasting a “breathable” technology (although after a lawsuit from Riedel, they can no longer market that), the Eisch Sensis glass dramatically improves the aroma of most wines poured in them.
Wine Soiree Decanter ($25 each)
Soiree is The Premier In-Bottle Wine Decanter. Soiree is a glass wine aerator that fits on top of the bottle and is the perfect wine gift and a Sommelier approved wine tool. It decants red and white wines and is easy to use, clean, and travel with. Using the Wine Soiree is easier to use than the Vinturi and offers the same results of a quick aeration.
Made from reclaimed wine barrels that housed Spokane’s Latah Creek wine, these artistic items are a perfect match for your wine lover. Enjoy the wine barrel pen that uses Parker refills and the beautiful wine topper and cork screw. Your wine accessories should be as artistic as your wine. Seperate, these pieces are priced at $64 but because Santa loves you (and artist Doyle Wheeler too), you can have them both for $55). Ammohead Design pens are available at Nectar Tasting Room and other local wineries.
Wine Tasters Diary (Spokane Pullman) is an essential under-$15 local wine guide that explores the region of Spokane and Pullman. Get author William Maltese’s perspective as he tours and tastes local wine.
The Wine Trials is the essential under-$15 wine guide that shook the wine world to its core by proving that in brown-bag blind tastings, people actually preferred cheaper wines to more expensive ones.
Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine – 3rd Edition is the “the one essential book for any wine lover” Eric Asimov
Wine Away Wine Wipes ($7)
A great fun gift that any wine lover would appreciate. Enjoy wine with lunch or just erase the late night tango with a Syrah. Wipe that wine off your teeth with wine wipes, a proprietary blend of stain-removing and teeth protecting ingredients that cleans red wine off teeth and neutralizes palate. Just run Wine Wipes over your teeth and see the difference. Each container has twenty wipes and a mirrored lid.
Wine Fridge Small ($80)
Wine temperature is important. People often bring their whites right out of the fridge (too cold) or open their reds at summer room temperatures (too warm). Stock a week’s work of wine in this little and portable wine refrigerator. This little eight bottle Emerson cooler is classy, practical, and doesn’t take up much space on the counter.
Preserve your bottle of wine at the perfect temperature for up to 10 days. The slick system pours the wine without allowing the oxygen to reach the wine. The stainless steel design is attractive and will fit into any modern kitchen. While slightly pricy, this is one gift that your discriminating wine lover will enjoy.
Zebra Shoe Bottle Holder ($26)
Love wine? Love shoes? Here is the perfect solution! Forget the stuffy display. Show your personality with the zebra print shoe display. The ceramic wine bottle holder fits most standard size wine bottles. This piece is sure to be the conversation starter at all your parties and the hit with all your wine loving friends.
Show your wine personality with What’s Your Vine t-shirts. Are you “Bubbly and Brilliant, Champagne” or “Sweet and Spice, and a little intense – Gewurztraminer.” With seven t-shirt slogans and several color choices, let your wine personality show. This is the perfect gift for the female wine lover on your wish list this year.
Club Nectar Membership ONLY $39 - reg $75
Give the gift that pours all year long. Wine lovers in Spokane can save big by enjoying the Nectar Tasting Room, Club Nectar annual membership. Members always receive $1 off all glass pours, 10% off all bottle purchases 15% off case purchases, complimentary tasting bar flights, half off all “Final Sip Saturday’s” and exclusive invitations to parties and release events. This membership will quickly pay for itself. Sale is through Dec 1, 2011. Click the buy now banner at the bottom of the page.
Rock n Roll Wine Art Print ($850)
You love wine and you love art but I bet you don’t have a Stacey Wells Rock-n-Roll Wine Series print. Be the envy of all your wino friends this Christmas with a Jimi Hendrix, Gene Simmons, The Doors, Elton John, Michael Jackson, or Rolling Stones 18×36 high quality Giclee print. Stacey’s work is phenomenal and showcases the best of wine, music and art.
Wine Rack Wine Bra ($30)
Perfect for the woman wine lover who has trouble taking her wine to football, baseball, and school functions. Turn your A cup into a voluptuous full bodies D cup of delicious red wine. The Wine Rack is a comfortable sports bra with a polyurethane bladder that holds a full bottle of wine. Use the handy drinking tube to enjoy your bodacious Bordeaux or your seductive Syrah.
As you shop for the wine lover this year, keep these amazing gifts in mind. What do you want for Christmas? I’d love to hear if you’ve discovered any great wino gift ideas. I’m always looking for something new. Please share in the comments, or let me know on Twitter @nectarwine using the hashtag #winochristmas.
Looking for places to get many of these and other great gift ideas? Check out my friends at the following two links (and no I wasn’t paid to promote them).
Wine Accessorized (Gadgets Gifts and Gizmos)
29 Nov 2010
I am not a social media expert. I’m a guy who has tried and failed and tried and succeeded over the last year in my efforts to build a brand. Lately I’ve been asked to share my story at events, seminars and have been asked to do some private consulting. I love teaching. As a youth pastor, I taught large and small groups of students for six years. As a guitar teacher, I taught as many as 25 students weekly, and taught regularly for eight years. As a marketing executive at the largest US bank, I teach, train, and manage projects for the company intranet. Because of the interest in my story, I’ve partnered with local networking site, LaunchPadINW to put together five classes that I will be teaching over the next several months.
Inspired by the analogy given by Rick Bakas of Bakas Media, the classes will cover the strategies that I’ve learned and observed over the last year. Using myself and others as real world case studies, we’ll walk through the process of creating a strategy, understanding the tools, developing content, building a following, and harvesting the social currently for increased revenue and/or decreased expense. Social media tools are best used as integration and supplement to your existing marketing strategy. Take the classes that most fit what you need. Move beyond the theory and start planting the seeds of success.
PART 1: Planting the Seeds for Social Media Success ($39)
CLICK HERE to RSVP for the for the class on January 26
Are you looking for ways to get ahead, reach more customers and generate more revenue? He who has the most relationships wins. Statistics say that 50% of Facebook users and nearly 70% of Twitter users are more likely to BUY product from someone they follow or ‘like’. It’s time to move beyond the theory and 101 courses into some serious real world examples. Learn how to integrate social media tools into your engagement strategy. Plant the seeds that will yield a harvest of social media success.
Follow the story of Nectar Tasting Room, Spokane Wine Magazine and other real world case studies who have successfully implemented social media strategies to build or enhance a brand.
- 10 ways social media can benefit your business
- Build your followership and start developing your online currency
- Tips for converting your existing brand to an online presence
- Finding your online voice
- Facebook: Should you like me or be my friend
- Twitter: Understand the language
- Five no brainers that will have immediate impact
- Learn the three pronged approach to success, Commitment, Content and Caring!
Part Two: Cultivate Your Online Identity ($39)
Now that you’ve planted the seeds of success, learn how to engage your audience and build brand ambassadors. Walk through the 7 rules of engagement, leverage the opt in economy, and how you can measure conversation and brand mentions. 90 minute class
Part Three: Harvest Your ROI by Cashing In Your Online Currency ($49)
The fruit is ready and the harvest is here. Learn practical ways to cash in on the online currency you have developed. Develop strategies to track your efforts and take steps to reduce your traditional media advertising. 60 minute class
Using Twitter to Make your Business Fly ($29)
Understand the language and harness the power of this often misunderstood platform. We’ll walk through the basics of creating an account, learning the terms (@, mentions, DM, re-tweet, favorites, hashtags, etc), and how to grow a following. The class will also cover the powerful Twitter search engine and how you can use it to keep track of conversations that relate to your business in your area. 90 minute class.
Blogging for Better Business ($49)
Blogging showcases your knowledge base, builds credibility, creates traffic, and increases your search engine optimization and marketing. Learn how to establish and build a business blog from the ground up. Turn your blog into a full blown web site. Develop a strategy for content and learn how to maximize the SEO of each new post. 90 minute class.
Josh Wade is the owner of Nectar Tasting Room and Spokane Wine Magazine. Exclusively using social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and a blog, Josh built a brand and a following for a business that did not yet exist. Through the relationships built in social media, Josh was able to build a following of 4,000 people (on Facebook and Twitter) and grow NectarWineBlog into one of the most successful wine blogs in the country. These efforts lead to the launch of Spokane Wine Magazine and Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane. Josh’s wine blog receive nearly 10,000 unique visitors per month and he is ranked in top 3 of social media users in Spokane, top 5 wine blogs in the Northwest and top 25 in the country.
26 Nov 2010
I am not a huge fan of turkey. For Christmas I’d rather have ham, for Easter, I’d rather have prime rib. For Thanksgiving, we’ve established a tradition of lasagna and cheesecake. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate turkey. If you’re going to invite me over for Thanksgiving dinner, don’t think you have to serve something different. Just don’t serve me mushrooms, brussel sprouts or liver and onions.
Every other year my wife and I end up alone for Thanksgiving. With family in Portland, some in Phoenix, and shared custody of the boy, we stay by ourselves in Spokane on the even years. When we first got married we decided to try something different. Rather than make a big turkey dinner for the two of us, we, well mostly me, decided, “Why not make my two favorite things in the whole wide world?” Enter, lasagna and cheesecake.
Our good friends, Tim and Tracy Nodland (owners of Spokane’s Nodland Cellars), were gracious enough to provide us with three of their newer, recently released and soon to be released wines. Not one to be very patient, I jumped at the opportunity to pair these three wines with our non traditional Thanksgiving meal.
2008 Nodland Cellars Bebop Riesling
The Nodland’s make a Riesling only when the vintage is right. Tim loves the old world Mosul style Riesling full of petrol and minerality. I recall the 2005 Bebop having aged very nicely to display these characteristics. The 2008 is a very bright golden delicious apple color in the glass. A slight effervescence jumps out on the aroma. Further scents of slightly sweet peaches and tropical flowers add to the beautiful bouquet. On the sip, the Bebop strikes a nice chord or a hint of sweetness and a mild tartness. A little steely minerality spikes up on the mid-palate and the wine has a really good acidity which helps to cleanse the palate.
We used ½ cup of the Riesling in the raspberry puree reduction for the cheesecake. The dry Riesling was a great pairing for the tart sweetness of the raspberry sauce. The medium acidity provided a great wash after each bite of the thick white chocolate cheesecake. At $20, some may find this Riesling to be a tad out of their normal budget for white wines, but if you like a gently sweet dry Riesling, you’ll love this wine. 3+/5
2008 Nodland Cellars Bad Attitude
The first release of the Nodland Cellars Rock-n-Roll series label, Bad Attitude, has been a huge success. Tim and Tracy have only made one red wine in their previous vintage releases. At $35, their traditional Bordeaux Red Blend can be out of reach for most people’s every day drinking wine. The Bad Attitude uses the same great Seven Hills fruit but rather than aging the wine in $1200 French oak barrels, the wine is aged in $500 American oak barrels. This year’s Bad Attitude is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Malbec (two of the more amazing grapes grown in Washington).
The swirl showcases the light characteristics of Merlot with a fairly translucent color. The wines aromas begin to showcase their rock-n-roll attitude right from the beginning. A huge power chord of vanilla, blueberry and charcoal reverberate from the glass. In the mouth the wine is also very gentle. This wine reminds me more of a gentle Over the Hills and Far Away rather than the driving Black Dog (bonus points for those that get the reference). In the mouth you can feel the use of American oak. For me, it’s nicely integrated and I like the play of the overly cooked marshmallow, vanilla and graham cracker. At $20, the Nodland’s have a number one single on their hand. 4/5 Instant Classic!
2007 Nodland Cellars Avant-Garde
From the back label:
“Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo. This wine is made from the obscure Carmenere grape, referred to a Grand Vidure in French.”
Carmenere is rarely used, and when it is, it is used as a blending grape. The original traditional Bordeaux blends included Carmenere, but it has since been mostly neglected. Nodland Cellars uses Carmenere in their Red Blend release. For 2007, they held back a small portion to be released as a 100% Carmenere, a showcase of the varietal.
On the swirl the Avant-Garde has a thick center core of plum that fades to more translucence around the edges. Typical of all Nodland wines the aroma is full and big. Strong bouquet of blueberries and exotic spice (not sure how to describe it) are most prevalent. On the sip the wine is full and lush with a gentle mouth coating feel. A hint of cherry sweetness graces the front palate and strong minerality of lead and rocks poke through the mid palate. One of our guests didn’t care for the minerality and described it as a little biting. There is a slight alcohol heat on the finish. The spice of the wine wasn’t a great pairing with the spice and acid from the tomato based lasagna. A better pairing for this wine would be beef, or a Pork Osso Bucco. Personally, I loved the wine and the uniqueness of flavor. At $32 it might not be for everyone. Unless you know you’re a spicy Carmenere lover, I suggest you head to the tasting room for a sip of this wine before dropping the cash. Personally, I’d buy TWO, one to drink now and one to see how the magic evolves in five years. 4/5
The Avant-Garde is being released on Friday, December 3 at the Nodland Cellars tasting room at 11616 E Montgomery 5:30-8:30. Enjoy a sip and a special discount.
How was your Thanksgiving? Did you have any amazing wine pairings? Please share…
25 Nov 2010
On a day that is characterized by food, wine, football and family, we have so much to be thankful for. Our world has gone through quite a bit of stress and struggle over the last several years. With war, financial hardship and political division all around us, family and friends are cherished now more than ever. I am thankful for you.
You read this blog regulary. You visit, you comment, and you interact with me. You are the reason I am opening a business in 30 days and you are the reason I write every night. Sound cheesy? Sure, but it’s true. I’m thankful for the many friends that I talk to daily on twitter, Sean Sullivan, Ben Simons, Barbara Evans, Rick Bakas and more. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met in real life through this blog; the folks at LaunchPadINW (Bill, Allen, Jennifer and Jared), and the friends that have supported me from the infancy of this vision.
I’m most thankful for my family. In the last year we have gone from two incomes to one as my beautiful wife prepares for her next career by getting her Masters in Education. Her teenage son is…well…he’s now a teenager, need I say more. The added stress of attempting to balance all that I’m doing has put the time we spend together at a minimum. Still, they cheer. Still, they support. For that, I am thankful. This Thanksgiving we are spending the holiday alone, just the two of us. Our tradition, lasagna and cheesecake. I have my special wines picked out (of which I’ll share on Friday) and I’m looking forward to the pairing of flavors.
People often ask what wine do you pair with your Thanksgiving dinner. I’m happy to offer my advice. With so many flavors on the table, the best suggestion I can offer is, pair the wine that you like. Sweet, dry, white, red, rose, sparkling, full bodied, light…it all works at some level or another. Grab a favorite wine and enjoy. Chances are it is not the wine that will cause the memories rather the time spent enjoying those you love.
Enjoy life with friends. Drink Happy!
24 Nov 2010
A few weeks ago, this little bloggie turned one. In a medium where “old school” is five years, turning one sorta makes you a teenager. Armed with my new “know it all,” brooding, moody attitude, I’m putting on my skinny jeans and flannel, shuffling the iPod on EMO and getting ready for year two. The last year has been an incredible adventure of success, stumbles, and relationships. I don’t claim to know it all or be an expert on blogging, in fact I’ve made a whole mess of mistakes in year one. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others (and a fool is destined to repeat them), so here are 10 blogging mistakes I made in the first year. I hope you avoid these.
10. Don’t post your new post after 6PM – As a general rule you’re better off waiting until the next morning. I’ve been guilty of this a few times and without fail, the post in question gets very little traction in viewership and response. Twitter and Facebook (great traffic drivers) get very conversational after 6PM and promotional pushes seem to fall on deaf ears. One time, in order to keep my 7 month streak alive, I did post at 11:58PM on a Friday night. That post saw as much traffic as the path between Pelosi and Obama’s house since the 2010 elections. In a similar vein, don’t come out of the gate with your best stuff on Saturday afternoon on a sunny summer day. Just because you’re sitting at your PC still in your tightie whities doesn’t mean many other readers are.
9. Don’t spell people’s name wrong when you highlight them in a post – Blogs often quote others as reference points, additional information, or for cross promoting. Linkbacks are great for SEO optimization. When writing a post on social media, I reached out to Rick Bakas, (then the Director of Social Media Marketing for St. Supery winery) for a quote on the subject. Armed with several great quotes, I drafted my post and then sent it out for the whole world to see (by whole world, I mean the 327 people who followed my stuff at the time). The problem was I spelled Rick’s name Backas. Rick was gracious and kindly pointed out my flaw. The real embarrassment was when I did it AGAIN in another social media post, this time calling him the Directory of Social Media Marketing. What a tool I am.
8. Don’t forget proper SEO tagging – Many months went by before I realized that I was missing out on better search engine optimization. It may take a few extra minutes but I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in traffic and ranking by focusing on three simple things.
- Make sure that the title contains the key words of the topic
- Make sure the images are tagged appropriately (spkwine1.jpg is not as good as Barrister Winery Spokane 1.jpg)
- Use the SEO portion of your blog platform. WordPress has a great built in tool that lets you optimize your page and your post with key words and a brief synopsis.
7. Don’t pick fights with people – I only partially did this once (okay maybe it was three times, but who is counting) but have seen it done on many occasions. The times when I didn’t hold my tongue have always come back to bite me on the ass and have hindered my brand and my reputation. Online communities are like small towns and it seems that at some point everyone will know your business. If you have a beef with someone, take it to them directly. If you feel like calling someone out on your blog, you may generate a lot of comments and traffic, but be ready to retract any emotional statements. In one of my more popular posts (and a fun one to write), I talked about this very subject – In My Opinion, Your Opinion Sucks
6. Don’t be a recluse – One of the most fun parts about blogging is being a part of the community. When I first started, I commented on hundreds of blogs. It was a great way to get to know the writing styles of the blogging leaders, lean more about wine, and also introduce myself to a bunch of really cool people. Writing top notch stuff is great and all, and it might get read at some point, but developing relationships, sharing other people’s content, recognizing other’s hard work, and adding to the conversation will build your community quickly.
5. Don’t be everywhere – Focus. I don’t do LinkedIn, Google Wave, Friendster, My Space or many other social networks out there. When I first started in this wine community I joined a few Ning sites that seemed to have quite a few members. Keeping current on all the sites proved to be a challenge. Many of these sites still exist but don’t seem to have much influence on traffic and the community seems less engaged. I learned early on that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and local networking site, LaunchPadINW were the places to be. Find your niche and excel there.
4. Don’t be hit and miss with your content– If you want to be successful in blogging, you’ve got to have daily content (or near daily). Google likes fresh content and people on social platforms are slutty tramps with ADD (I mean that in the nicest way, so let me explain). There is always a shiny new widget on Twitter and Facebook. Your fans, followers and likers, will quickly find something else to fulfill their reading desires. Staying current on content keeps them coming back and faithful. While I let my streak lapse without any fanfare a few weeks back, I’m convinced that my commitment to content is one of the main reasons for the continued increase in traffic and recognition. If you can’t do daily content, make a goal of 3 times per week or every Tuesday, and stick with it. The same can be said with updating Facebook and Twitter. Develop a strategy and stick with it. Your consistency will pay off.
3. Don’t be elusive – This one is important for folks that are blogging and getting into social media with an agenda. I’ve always been honest about my intentions. When I began, I always informed the wineries, wine bars, and coffee shops I reviewed that I wanted to eventually open a wine and coffee bar. When that goal morphed into a tasting room, I made sure I shared that. While not everyone has embraced those goals, and some still look at me with a skeptical eye, they can’t accuse me of being sneaky or underhanded (well, they can – but would be wrong).
2. Don’t be a conformist – Find your voice and stick with it. I’m not always the greatest writer but I know my strengths and I avoid my weaknesses. You won’t find me producing some technical wizardry like you find on Palate Press from time to time. I am not as quick witted as 1WineDude or connected to the industry as Steve Heimoff. I’ll never give in depth winery analysis like Washington Wine Report. I’ll be me. There are times I’ve posted some serious expose and had to deal with the consequence of people not liking it. I used Twitter to get the media interested in my plight against city hall. Some say, I should have played nice. When I wrote about one wineries unsuccessful attempt to open in the area, I wrote about the irony of the opposition. I was vilified. When I wrote something very sexy about Champagne recently, one person told me I needed to be more careful now that I was a business owner. For me, I think it’s important to stay true to who you are. Keep being you and the people who like you will keep liking you.
1. Don’t have an unorganized brand approach – This is a lesson that I’m continuing to learn and struggle with. When I came out of the gate I wanted to be Nectar Coffee and Wine. I bought that URL and I also bought Drink Nectar. Drink Nectar was unavailable on Twitter, so I did @nectarwine. Over the course of the year, I’ve become the “Drink Nectar guy” locally. My Facebook page is Facebook.com/DrinkNectar. My YouTube channel is Youtube.com/DrinkNectar. Almost daily on twitter, I’m mistakenly referenced as @drinknectar (that account is a dead account with zero tweets). When I went to open a business, I didn’t want it to be called DrinkNectar. This was a huge FAIL on my part that is becoming difficult to correct. I recently decided to RE-BRAND to accommodate the opening of Nectar Tasting Room. Hopefully, after a year of successful re-branding, I’ll have solidified myself as Nectar Wine Blog, Nectar Tasting Room, Nectar Media, and Spokane Wine Magazine. So, in order to avoid the same confusion that I have, I strongly encourage you to think through the aspects of your approach before you get started.
There you have it, 10 blogging mistakes that I’ve made this year. I hope they help you avoid making the same mistakes in your blogging adventure. Now I think I’m going to post this, even though it’s getting close to 6pm.