30 Dec 2009
I’m honored to have an article featured on Cork’d today. This web site is part of social media and wine sensation Gary Vaynerchuk’s media empire, Vaynermedia.
In the article I talk about the Three Tiered distribution system in the wine and spirits industry and how the current laws are archaic, anti-competitive, suppressive toward capitalism, and communist in enforcement.
As long as the three-tier system is in place, the U.S. wine market will continue to be a crippled shell of what it could become.
Can we fix it? If Social Media has any power, it has the power to call problems to people’s attention and unite those of diverse geography into a solitary voice.
Read the article at Cork’d and leave a comment. Let’s look back at 2010 as the year that something revolutionary began to bring all wine to all people across the U.S.
29 Dec 2009
During round one of the Under $10 Quest, I stated that we drink a lot of wine. I listen to my twitter friends go on and on about specific wines and then I look them up only to choke at the $50 price tag (or more). I thought my day job paid me pretty good green, but I guess it’s not enough to afford the purple that my friends are drinking. Thus, the quest continues.
As I mention in the video, the goal of these reviews and videos are to provide you a resource of trustworthy wines. I want you to walk into a store confident in your pick of a specific wine label. Life is too short to drink crappy wine. Why waste your money on 3 or 4 cheap wines in search of the jewel when you can rely on others to do so.
Basically, I’m in search of a starting line-up of dependable wines that I can go to on a daily basis. I need designated hitters, relief pitchers, and pinch hitters to come into the game when the game is tight. Tonight’s lineup includes a rookie and two veterans called up from Triple A to show their stuff.
2007 Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Columbia Valley, WA (Bacchus Vineyards), never oaked
- The Swirl: Super clear with a mild golden delicious apple tone
- The Sniff: Cut open a pineapple, squeeze some lemon and spray a small spritz of vanilla room spray and you have the nose of this wine.
- The Sip: Strong acidity on the upper palate with a smooth citrus and lemon peel flavor across the tongue. There is no tartness and the alcohol is not hot. Not overly huge in structure but has great flavor for the price.
- The Score: $11 retail but only $7 at Cost Plus World Market, I score this a 4+ (out of 5) for value and flavor.
The wine reminds me of summer. When my wife and I were first dating we enjoyed a few bottles of this wine on the deck as we shared our stories and got to know one another. This is definitely a player who will be added to the roster for a crisp summer wine or a wine to pair with light seafood or poultry dishes.
2008 Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 85% Cab and 15% Syrah from Colchagua, Chile. Vineyards are original non-grafted wine stocks brought over from Europe – sounds pretty cool. Neat looking bottle, taller than average with a real cork enclosure.
- The Swirl: Moderately opaque plum with watery edges
- The Sniff: Was difficult to pinpoint at first but the fruit was immediately overwhelmed by evergreen tree, minerals, rocks, and musky dirt. With much effort could smell the black currant.
- The Sip: Overwhelming minerality on the back immediately took over the fruit that was trying to come through. Very chalky, like eating dirt.
- The Score: At $9, there are way better value Cabernet Sauvignon’s out there. I score this a 3-. Could be the youth of the wine, but I’m not going to cellar a $9 wine. (See update below)
This wine strikes out and not only doesn’t make the team but gets sent back to Single A ball. UPDATE: After spending some time in Single A (24 hours) this wine is starting to show some promise. The minerality is nearly gone and most of the chalkiness has subsided. Decent fruit flavors of red currant and cherry along with leather. Root1 has moved up to AA ball, but I’m still apprehensive.
2007 Dancing Bull Zinfandel
- The Stuff: 100% California Zinfandel from various sourced vineyards. Synthetic cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Deep dark opaque plum, slightly cloudy with hints of ruby and garnet. Strong legs indicating high residual sugar.
- The Sniff: Good strong nose that leads with strawberry, vanilla, tobacco and cocoa
- The Sip: The wine was slightly disappointing as it came across as one-dimensional. The nose was a tease and the palate did not deliver. After two hours in glass, the flavor profile did open up. One dimensional is not bad, just not super interesting.
- The Score: At just $8, this wine scores a solid 3+. You won’t go wrong getting this wine and the predictable taste may score well with beginning wine drinkers.
This Zinfandel doesn’t make the starting team but is sent down to Triple A to potentially be called up as an injury replacement.
So far the team is struggling. I have a few good recommendations from fellow wine bloggers that I hope to try soon. If you have suggestions, please leave comments. I’m looking to field my team with a variety of wine styles.
2010 is the year of buying local! I want to strongly encourage you, when possible to buy your wine from a local retailer (wine store, wine shop) or directly from the winery. Doing this helps keep profits directly in your community.
Life is meant to be shared with friends. Share life over a glass of wine and DRINK.HAPPY!
28 Dec 2009
The sensuality within each little berry will drive you wild and explode with flavor in your mouth!
“The Dude’s Guide to Wine” is a wine primer for the average guy who tends to reach for a beer in all social situations. This four-part series began with three reasons all guys need to know at least the basics about wine.
1) Success: At some point you’ll experience success in life and wine may seem more appropriate.
2) Stupidity: No guy likes to look stupid and life events will eventually lead you to bring wine to a dinner party or having to order wine at a restaurant.
3) Sex: Girls love wine. Guys love girls and sex. Wine can lead to good sex!
If one or all of these reasons are not enough for you, then you are free to leave this blog and go back to the porn you were looking up.
The Sexy Grape
Like a woman, there are several subtleties and intricacies of wine grapes. They can be coy, sweet and seductive like the girl next door in a private school uniform or they can be bold and brash, oozing sex appeal, like the stripper you met…well…nevermind. The trick is to avoid the skanky cheap tawdry whores while learning which ones you can bring to dinner with your mother.
There are over 10,000 documented grape species (varietals) grown in just about every region of the world. Attempting to understand them all is like trying to understand the hidden meaning behind the statement, “do you think she’s pretty?” Most popular grape varietals can trace their roots to France and Italy. The largest wine-producing states in the U.S. are California, Washington, Oregon and New York.
As a dude, we need to keep it simple. We may be able to tell you the important facts, like who was the MVP of Super Bowl III (Joe Namath), but memorizing hundreds of grapes and their characteristics just aint going to happen. Let’s talk about 7 basic grapes, what food they go with and when you may enjoy them. Much more could be said about each grape discussed below. In the interest of basic understanding, I’ll be offering the stereotype of each. While many experts may weigh in on their opinions and insights, The Dude’s Guide to Wine is just trying to keep it simple for the average guy who may confuse maceration with…you know…
RED WINE: The sultry sexy diva that can fulfill your wildest fantasies. If you’re not careful you’ll wake up in the morning recounting the night vis-a-vis The Hangover. Red wine grapes are described as earthy, spices, dark red fruit (cherry, plum currant, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry), smokey, tobacco, leather, and more. We could spend hours undressing the specifics of each.
Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-ur-nay saw-vin-yawn) The king of wine grapes. Pairs best with steak, pasta and dark chocolate. Flavors of spice, dark berry, leather and cocoa. This is your strong-willed woman who likes to show she is in charge. She likes it hot and when you get her going she’ll let down her hair and show you her kinky spicy side.
Pinot Noir (pee-no nwar) – If Cab’s are the king then Pinot’s are the queen. Not queen as in a drag queen but because they are of royal decent and require a lot of attention and effort to put out a good wine. Pinots are very versatile and pair well with beef, poultry, fish, lamb, pork, spicy and creamy sauces. Pinot Noirs are like your high maintenance drama queen who likes diamonds, fancy cars, nice clothes and carry their dogs in their purse. At the end of the date you’ll find your wallet a little thin, but the payoff is ‘hot.’
Merlot (Mare-low) Merlot pairs well with red meat, pork and red pasta dishes. A medium bodied wine that is less bold than its blending partner Cabernet Sauvignon. The unappreciated Merlot is like the girl in those teen movies who starts off unassuming, wearing glasses and has bad hair and acne. With a little make up and hairspray she turns into the movie hottie (Ten Things I Hate About You).
Other Red ladies to date after you’ve explored the ones above: Syrah (the current Elvis of wine), Sangiovese (our Italian lover), and Zinfandel (the sexy hussy)
WHITE WINE: Known by many as refreshing, classy and cool, white wine should be treated like a lady. Be careful, although she is cool and refreshing, she can sneak up on you leaving you dazed and confused.
Chardonnay (Shar-don-ay) Chardonnay pairs well with poultry, pork, seafood and heavy cream butter based sauces. Flavors of buttered apple, pear, tropical fruit and melon leave a long impression on the mouth. Chardonnay will remind you of the cute Miami beach hottie wearing the skimpy brazilian cut bikini. Once you talk to her, you find out she has a personality and a brain! Score!
Pinot Grigio (Pee-no Gree-gee-oh) Italian for Pinot Gris this grape pairs well with acidic foods like red pasta roasted chicken and roasted pork. Refreshing flavors of pair, apple, and lemon prevail. Depending on where they are grown they can have light or medium bodies. Imagine sitting on the deck in the summer with your high school sweetheart. She has a glow from the heat, her top is clingy and her short shorts are tight. This is Pinot Grigio.
Riesling (Rees-ling) This German sweetheart is a diverse lady that can pair well with many foods (including spicy and Asian.) She is a great starter with appetizers and can wrap up the evening with dessert. Depending on where she is grown she can be sweet or dry, light or full. Picture the college professor with her hair in a bun and button down white blouse. She’s got the brains to intrigue you and the character to mystify you. Get her behind closed doors and…well I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Champagne (Sham-pain) Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Brut are known as party animals. These ladies often let loose and get wild. Flavors of baked bread, apple sauce, strawberries, cream and vanilla are often experienced. Food pairings are more than just with dessert or for toasts – try Sparkling wines with Asian food, seafood, poultry, and appetizers.
Every dude should know a little about wine. Wine has romance, imagination, character, and beauty that surpasses other adult beverages. Now that you’ve got a basic knowledge of seven types of wine you can begin the process of exploring the new world. Thanks for reading, now go grab your girl and a beer!
The Dude’s Guide to Wine
- In Part One we explained three reasons all guys should know a little about wine
- In Part Two we explored the basics of grapes and their general characteristics
- In Part Three we talked about the experience of wine tasting (swirl, smell, sip, savor)
- In Part Four we uncover the struggle of ordering wine at restaurants and buying in stores
*Photo Credits SacreBlue.com and Media.PicFor.Me
25 Dec 2009
Merry Christmas from DrinkNectar.com! This year Kimberly and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas. My sister and parents were in Phoenix, Kimberly’s family lives in Portland and her son was spending Christmas with his dad in Florida.
Christmas Eve we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Clinkerdaggers overlooking the Spokane river. For wine we enjoyed a Cabernet Sauvignon wine flight that included Chateau St Jean (CA), Kenwood Yulupa (CA) and Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells (WA). Each of these wine reviews has been uploaded to www.corkd.com. The hands down favorite was Chateau Ste Michelle which had the most active nose and actually gave up the berry flavor along with the oaky tannin you would expect from a well made Cab.
Spending Christmas without our extended family is slightly sad. We missed our families terribly but managed to enjoy the day. After opening gifts we prepped dinner and headed to the new movie, “Up in the Air.” I highly recommend the movie, but it doesn’t really leave you with a happy feel good ending (but then again that’s the way life can be too).
Our holiday dinner, when we are sans child and family, is lasagna. I love Italian and lasagna is my favorite. The wines for Christmas Eve and Day were two we set aside from our Woodinville, WA trip in September. Reviewed in the video and text below are Ross Andrew 2005 Red Table Wine and Mark Ryan 2006 Long Haul. These wines were worth the wait (especially the Long Haul) and we can’t wait to get back to the Woodinville area again.
In the video I mention a Spokane winery that needs our support! Arbor Crest Winery occupies an old historic mansion on a hillside overlooking the Spokane valley. The morning of December 23, a power strip sparked a fire that gutted the interior. This amazing mansion (and surrounding grounds) is a Spokane treasure where people enjoy wine, get married, and celebrate life. Please show your support and buy this wine when you see the label. The exterior is in tact and they will work to rebuild the historic interior.
Thanks again for your support over the last six weeks of the launch of DrinkNectar.com. We were recently recognized as one of the top new food and spirit blogs in 2009 on www.drinksareonme.net. I also want to give a special shout out to The Wine Whore and Seattle Wine Gal for their amazing partnership. I look forward to a fun and wine filled 2010.
Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends. I hope this Christmas season brings you love and joy with your family along with several great bottles of wine!
2005 Ross Andrew Red Table Wine
- The Stuff: Bordeaux Blend
- The Swirl: Dark opaque plum with strong legs
- The Sniff: Day one, this wine was very disappointing. The cork smell came through overwhelming on the nose and the flavor was strong on the alcohol and acid. Day two, the wine opened up nicely presenting oak and cherry. Was still tight on the nose.
- The Sip: Mild oak and dirt with sour dark cherry flavor. Experienced medium tannin and chalky finish. Enjoyed a glass with the lasagna which was a great pairing for the chalky finish and acid.
- The Score: At $25, and because of the challenge during the first day, I would score this wine a 3 (out of 5). I probably wouldn’t purchase it again but would certainly explore other Ross Andrew offerings.
2006 Mark Ryan Long Haul
- The Stuff: Right Bank style blend with 48% Merlot 46% Cab Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.
- The Swirl: Moderately opaque with translucent edges. Nice jewel tones
- The Sniff: Wow, this glass is alive with aroma ranging from spice to coffee to vanilla to dark cherries alive with juice.
- The Sip: An explosion of fruit with the right amount of structure balance and tannin to enjoy alone or with a big steak or red pasta dish. This is like sex in a glass. The orgasm of flavor blew me away!
- The Score: At $48 I would definitely buy this again and again as long as my credit card allowed. Taking into consideration the economy and value, this wine scores a 4+. Get it at $35 and it is a steal and a 5.
23 Dec 2009
“Bring in more customers by December,” the winemaker said. ’We created a Facebook page, Twitter account and started profiles on wine information Web sites, but we’re not sure where to go from here.’ ~Tasting Room Manager
This is one of the many responses I received from my first Social Media post “Wineries- Missing the Social Media Money.” In the first post I offer 5 basic principles when using Social Media. If you missed it, check them out, it’s a good place to start. If you’re reading this and you are already swimming in the deep end of the social medial pool, please pass this along. If you’re thinking of dipping your toes in – here is your life vest, let’s dive in! The New Year is a great time to make commitments. By now you’ve hopefully realized that Social Media is not a fad. It’s also something you don’t just jump into without a plan. It’s time pull your head out of your ass…I mean the sand and face the social world.
Jumping on the social media band wagon because “everyone is doing it and if you don’t you will be left behind” is not a good way to conduct business, and can ultimately lead to failure – Dave McCauley
My good friend, @SeattleWineGal, has several good posts about the benefits of developing a social media strategy. A strategy is important to achieving success. With any strategy you need discipline to see it through. Discipline is the unsung hero of success. If you are still developing your strategy or can’t quite commit to see it through I offer three suggestions:
- Secure your vanity screen names on Facebook and Twitter now. With six billion people in the world the good ones get gone quick
- Look through your current marketing plan to determine the best return on investment – eliminate the waste
- Hire a consultant or coach to help get you started and establish a strategy. Contact @nectarwine or @seattlewinegal and we can offer help or point you to the right people – we work for wine!
You have a twitter account, you’ve set up a Facebook business page / fan page, you’ve set up profiles on the endless number of business networks - now you’re ready to make a resolution to the Social Media revolution.
Connect with the Connectors and Interact with the Influencers
There are several people who have gone before you and are clearing the weeds in the social media jungle. Connect with them. After a few weeks on Twitter, you’ll soon find who the social people are. Engage them in twittersations. Comment on their tweets and re-tweet. You’ll soon learn some of the tricks of the trade by observing them.
- Search for people with similar interests by using Twitter and Facebook search. Follow those people (in small chunks of 30-50). Twitter search can also be a powerful tool to see what people are saying about you, your service or your product.
- Find blogs that focus on your business by using Google blog search. Comment on these blogs and leave your twitter name as reference (Josh @nectarwine - Twitter) – This may seem a little self-serving, but trust me, you’ll learn a ton from the talented writers as you get your name out there.
- Several of these influencers are happy to write about your service or product. If they are product reviewers, check out their strategy and send them a sample. Include a personal touch and product back story.
Start Local in the Global World
In my corporate project management we continually manage scope creep. The project starts out to solve problem X but after a while we throw issues A-Z in there too. We can’t solve world hunger without starting with our hungry neighbor first. The same is true in the global Social Media world. Chances are your product is not available globally. Having 300 local followers will probably generate more activity than having 3000 followers scattered across the globe. Increase your local results by employing the following tactics:
- Find and join local networks. In Spokane, we have www.launchpadINW.com. This .ning network focuses on connecting local businesses and hosts ‘in person’ networking opportunities.
- Similar to one already mentioned above, connect with LOCAL bloggers (hint hint – to those in the NW)
- Create and enhance local profiles on Google Maps, Yahoo and Bing Local. This will help you show up higher in the local results.
- Create a localized Facebook ad. These ads can be very affordable and targeted to specific cities, interests, etc.
Don’t be Shy in Social Situations
Don and Judy Phelps, owners of Hard Row to Hoe vineyards in Lake Chelan, WA (www.twitter.com/hardrow) – about Social Media, “Twitter provides general exposure. We find it hard to hold discussions so we do Facebook too. It is easier to get to know someone and build relationships there.”
Facebook and Twitter provide great customer interaction and brand loyalty building. What other medium provides you a real-time insight into what your customers are thinking and feeling about you and you product? In my previous post, one local business owner asked, “do you have any tips for boosting fan conversations and interaction?”
- BEING SOCIAL ON FACEBOOK: Writing on someones wall in Facebook is more personal than writing about them on your own wall (remember everyone else can see it). “Like” their comments, and ALWAYS reply to people who message you, write on your wall or respond to your posts. Create interaction by responding to their comments with a question – “Hey glad to see you at the tasting room, do you remember which wine was your favorite?”
- BEING SOCIAL ON TWITTER: Managing the volume of tweets can often be daunting. Be unique in your tweets. Tweet several times about an upcoming event or special. You can only direct message (DM @nectarwine) people who follow you back – so occassionaly reach out to your followers with a special message or thank them with a DM coupon / discount. Talk to people by replying to them (@nectarwine glad to hear you enjoying the wine you purchased. What r u serving for Christmas). Re-tweet (RT @nectarwine) things you like that others are saying. Similar to Facebook, ALWAYS respond to people who DM, Reply or RT you. Twitter lets you see who mentioned you by selecting your @name on the right side of the page. I encourage the use of TweetDeck or HootSuite (free services) to more easily manage the comments and tweets in one multi-panel screen.
You’ve got a strategy! You’re ready to go! I hope you use these basic Social Media tips to explore the new world. Connect with Connectors, think local before you go global, and don’t be shy. The social media waters can seem deep – think of these tips as your floaties to help get you started. Pretty soon, you’ll be swimming with the big boys.
P.S. Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, so open a bottle of wine or brew some coffee and DRINK.HAPPY!