29 Jul 2011
About an hour outside of Washington DC sits an amazing wine destination to rival those of Sonoma, Napa, Walla Walla and even France. Breaux Vineyards is on 404 acres among the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Producing 18 grape varieties and over 10,000 cases of wine, husband wife team, Christopher and Jennifer Blosser (owner’s daughter) oversee the operations of this beautiful facility.
Paul Breaux, a local real estate broker, found himself captivated with the 404 acres of property and in 1994 purchased the land (which included 3 acres of planted grapes) to fulfill the vision of Breaux Vineyards. With the help of winemaker Dave Collins, Breaux has blossomed and has been voted Virginia’s favorite winery 3 consecutive years.
I was first introduced to Breaux through their interactions on Twitter leading up to the 2011 Wine Blogger’s conference. Fellow tweeter @suzielin encouraged Jennifer Breaux-Blosser to reach out to me at the conference and boy am I glad she did. During a tasting of “the other 46″ (wines from other than California, Washington, Oregon and New York), I was introduced to their Cab Franc, Nebbiolo and Meritage blend. All three showed very well. I was excited to run into Jennifer as I was leaving the conference and she asked if I wanted to take home some wine…”duh,” I thought and politely stuffed three wines into my suitcase for the 3000 mile journey home.
The video is shot from my friend’s downtown condo with the rushing of the Spokane Falls in the background and highlighted by the great downtown skyline. Enjoy, and drink happy!
2010 Breaux Vineyards Viognier
This is classic tropical Viognier here folks. Love the amazing nose of peaches, papaya, and lychee fruit. In the mouth the wine is not quite as thick as some other Viognier I’ve had recently but does score well with a nicely balanced acidity. The price point is a little higher than I would want to see ($24) but overall this would pair well with a slightly sweet dish (pea salad, fruit salad), sweet-n-sour pork or a light chicken dish. Viognier has been named Virginia’s signature grape and this is a classic example of why! 3+/5
2002 Breaux Vineyards Merlot
Okay, I have to admit. I drank way too much of this wine. Most of you know I’m a Merlot lover, when done right – and this one is done right. It is most likely the age of the wine (going on 10 years) but this was without a doubt the BEST Merlot I had the entire visit to the commonwealth. The wine showed a typical browning from the age and was moderately translucent. LOVED the deep, slightly burnt cherries and dark chocolate that emanated from the glass. For a wine of such age the tannins were still relatively thick and the finish showed a strong amount of fruit and almonds. This is a library wine, so getting it might be a challenge. 4/5
2007 Breaux Vineyards Cabernet Franc
Cab Franc is another of Virginia’s four prominent grapes (Viognier, Merlot and Petite Verdot being the others). Most of the Cab Franc I tried in VA was reticent of under ripe fruit and bell peppers. While the hearty grape grows well, there does seem to be quite a bit of vintage variation. This wine boasted a great complexity of flavors ranging from coffee to deep plums and tobacco. My full tasting resulted in the same score as my first impression at the conference. 3+/5
20 Jul 2011
I bet I taste over 100 wines this weekend! What will you be doing?
This coming weekend I will be attending the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA. Having been born in Roanoke, I’m excited to get back to my roots and sample the grapes grown in the one of the oldest planting regions in the country. Thomas Jefferson tried for years to establish Virginia as a wine growing region and with several failed attempts, Virginia is now the 7th largest wine producing region in the country.
After last year’s wine bloggers’ conference, I made note of five things that I wanted to do to the blog.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization: I began focusing efforts on maximizing SEO by paying attention to blog titles, first paragraph text, image titles, and tags. The results have led to several posts that have consistent daily traffic from Google searches.
- Improve the quality of my video: I migrated to an HD camera and invested in a third party video editing software. While my computer quality caused a five month delay in videos, I definitely saw an increase in quality once I made the switch.
- Improve the quality of my writing: I think the writing quality has improved but I still catch editing mistakes after the blog is already published. The true judge of quality, YOU. With over 100 posts since last year’s conference, I hope you’ve seen an improvement.
- Reorganize content: In September 2010 I spent an entire weekend re-organizing the blog content and investing in a new blog template. The result is a menu of drop down choices that are logical and easy to navigate. The front page is divided into featured headlines (top), Nectar Tasting Room news (left), wine reviews (right) and social media content (bottom).
- Improve wine reviews: I simplified my wine reviews providing the content that I would want to read when looking into various wines. The simple 5 point rating system helps users identify what my ratings are. I’m also very proud to be one of the contributors to the very popular Hello Vino iPhone app.
This year I go into the wine bloggers conference as a business owner and I am still very passionate about the field of wine writing. While my time to dedicate to writing is significantly reduced, I do plan to make more effort to get back to contributing to the blog. I’m amazed at how frequently customers come in who were first introduced to Nectar Tasting Room because they read this blog. My goal is to find the motivation and inspiration to bring this blog back to the 20,000 page view / month hay day.
The agenda in Virginia is jam packed and begins with an international wine tasting on Thursday night. Wine tasting begins as early as 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and officially doesn’t end until after 9pm (unless you head to the super secret private invitation parties). Wine for breakfast…just like every other day of the week, right? While networking is a critical component to the conference, my goal this year is pack in as much information and education that I can. Rarely does one have the opportunity to taste so much variety of wine in such a short amount of time. I’m particularly looking forward to Saturday’s “Virginia’s Wine History, Geology, and Business Climate,” and the vineyard tours.
How much wine will I taste? Not sure, but my guess is well over 100 different wines. My goal; document every one. I hope you look forward to reading about them as much as I look forward to tasting them.
Scenes From Last Year’s Conference
14 Jul 2011
Facebook Rolls Out Recommendations
The ever evolving Facebook platform changes once again with the introduction of Facebook Recommendations. Over the next few days “places” page owners will see a new box on the right side of the screen where users (aka “likers”) can make a recommendation. With the popularity of review sites like Yelp, Google Places, and Urban Spoon, Facebook is making another shot across the bow to world domination.
The Places Recommendation offers page owners a great organic growth tool and promoting platform. A recommendations from a user carries strength. When a page user posts a recommendation the text shows up on their profile and thus in the feed of their friends. This ‘recommendation’ carries a stronger visual weight because it shows the places page logo and the recommendation. When a use posts on a page wall it only shows as a truncated text message.
Building a ‘like’ base is important to relationship marketing and social networking. These likes translate into revenue and store traffic. The instant connection with ‘likers’ is powerful element for business growth. Try these three ideas for getting recommendations:
- Post an occasional status update asking those who ‘like’ the page to post a recommendation.
- Give people who visit your physical location an opportunity to post a recommendation while they are there by using an iPad or from their smart phone.
- Offer an incentive reward to users who post a recommendation (i.e. 10% off for all posted recommendations).
Who sees the recommendation?
A. The recommendation will show up on the users wall and in their friends feed. When posting the recommendation there is an option to make the text visible to everyone or just to friends.
Can page admins hide a recommendation?
A. If you’re a page admin, you can hide public recommendations that everyone can see. Just hover over the recommendation post you want to hide and click ‘x’. To see a full list of public recommendations for your place, click the See All link in the Recommendations box.
Visit the Facebook/help page for more info.
What are your thoughts on this new feature. I would love to hear your ideas or “recommendations” in the comments.
Josh Wade is the owner of Nectar Tasting Room, Spokane Wine Magazine and Nectar Media. Josh used the power of relationship marketing to build a following and a brand for a business before opening. Relationship marketing and social media has helped drive successful business revenue without the need to spend money on traditional marketing. Nectar Wine Blog receives 12,000-20,000 page views per month and ranks in the top wine blogs in the country for engagement, traffic, and readership. Learn more about Nectar Media here.
05 Jul 2011
Wawawai Canyon Winery is in the heart of wheat country and colleges in Pullman, WA. Among the wheat, David and Stacia Moffet planted the first commercial vineyards in Whitman County since the prohibition. With a hot climate (one of the hottest in the state), and fertile soil, the results have been spectacular for this small winery.
On a previous trip to Pullman I had the pleasure of visiting Wawawai Canyon and Merry Cellars. The facility has modern clean lines and showcases various art exhibits for visitors to enjoy while wine tasting.
For today’s wine review the familiar ACDC Thunderstruck returns for my first video blog in 5 months. Between opening Nectar Tasting Room and having the worlds slowest laptop (which finally gave up the ghost), I’ve not been able to get any videos done. With my new laptop in tow, I’m hoping to be able to deliver more regular videos again.
This proprietary blend contains fruit from the three growing regions that Wawawai Canyon uses in their wine. The blend is 62% Syrah, 25% Carmenere, and 13% Petit Verdot. In the glass the wine is very dark and has shimmering jewel tones on the outer rim. Immediately aromas of cedar, campfire smoke, dark raspberries and licorice jump out of the glass. This is one of those wines where the aroma is as intoxicating as the drink. In the mouth the wine is very elegant and thick. I get immediate flavors of dark chocolate covered raspberry fruit, hints of smoke, a black licorice and anise spice as well. The finish is smooth and lingers for several seconds. At $29, the Ittero ali Rosse is a beautiful blend that delivers on all levels. Once the bottle was empty, I found myself wishing I lived among the wheat fields of the Palouse. 4/5
01 Jul 2011
FINALLY! As George Harrison wrote, Here Comes the Sun. With the weather forecast showing 80+ for several days in a row, it looks like summer is here to stay. As things heat up in the forecast, things are getting hot with Nectar events as well! Check out the event listing below to stay connected with all of our musical artists, our first ever private Wine and Dine dinner, the patio grand opening and the return of our popular reserve flight!
First Friday art walk returns with an amazing line up. I’m excited to welcome back the art that graced the space during the first month we were open AND the incredible music of the Kathleen Cavender duo. If you haven’t seen the Rock Star Reflections art showcase by internationally known artist Stacey Wells, then you are missing some of the most creative and edgy wine art around. Check out this interview with Stacey about how she got started!
- FRIDAY – Music by Kathleen Cavender Duo from 6:30-9:30. Get here early to get a seat
- SATURDAY – Be the first in Spokane to taste the newest wine from Skylite Cellars. The Soiree is a red blend of 54% Cabernet, and 23% each of Merlot and Syrah. At $19, this is a bold and flavorful red that will delight your palate.
- THURSDAY – Don’t forget about Thirsty Thursday where all appetizer plates are 1/2 price with the purchase of a bottle of wine. Bring in some friends and wind down your week at Nectar.
- FRIDAY – We welcome Bergs Shoes for a showcase of their new BORN adult shoe collection. Bergs has been serving Spokane for four generations and we are proud to partner with them on this promotion. Music from one of our favorites, Maxie Ray Mills begins at 6:30. In addition to these great events please help us welcome our July artist, Stacey Wells. Stacey’s busy schedule kept her from attending on First Friday, but she will be at Nectar for an artist’s reception from 6-10pm. Please spread the word and help us welcome this very talented artist to Spokane.
- SATURDAY – Help us christen our brand new outdoor patio. Enjoy the weather AND get 10% off all bottles purchased to enjoy on the patio.
- THURSDAY – We’ve got one of the coolest spaces in town to enjoy a meeting. Use our free wifi and treat you and your clients to a unique meeting of wine and class.
- FRIDAY – Mark Ward returns to the space with his unique style.
- SATURDAY – One of the Nectar favorites, Joe Davis shares his style of rock, blues, and classics. Join us for The Final Sip at 9pm.
- SUNDAY – We’re excited to present the very first ever Nectar Wine and Dine. This limited seating private dinner event pairs five wines with five courses for one fantastic evening with friends. Register here, space is limited.
While the boss is away, the wine slingers will play. Owner, Josh Wade is travelling to Charlottesville, VA for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference. Ben and crew have decided to go crazy by marking every wine down 15% whether you buy one bottle or an entire case. Ben also arranged 1 super steal of a deal on 1 wine from each of the Nectar wineries. You’ll have to stop by to find out about the madness!
- FRIDAY – Enjoy the smooth country voice of Garret Bartley from 6:30-9:30
- SATURDAY – Look out, Karrie O’Neill is in the space again. Karrie’s beautiful sound fills every corner of Nectar Tasting Room. Come early, grab your seat and some wine and be prepared to be amazed.
Are you ready to host your next event at Nectar? We’re available Sunday – Wednesday for private parties from 20-99 people. The cost is an affordable $100 per hour and you can arrange your own catering or use our preferred caterer.
Welcome the return of the RESERVE FLIGHT. Enjoy an additional tasting of 5 wines (including bubbles) for just $10 – not refundable with purchase.
- FRIDAY – Hot summer nights continue at Nectar with the amazing talent from Rachel Bade-McMurphy Jazz Trio. You’ll be impressed.
- SATURDAY – The Final Sip continues to be Spokane’s best weekly wine party. Stop by and taste up to 8 of any of our open bottles of wine from 9-10pm.