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.
11 Jun 2010
It looks like Spring is finally going to grace us with its presence this week. That is very kind of it, since Summer is in just ten days. These are great times to get out and enjoy wine in Spokane. I can bet that there are a few places in this post you’ve haven’t been a maybe even a few events you don’t know about. Regardless, everything in this post is something you need to do…so drop the garden tools and get out to a winery!
Having an event and don’t see it on the list? Email me email@example.com
On the Radar
Why am I starting with “on the radar?” Well, I really want you to see these two great events. Since this is my blog…I can do what I want.
- 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.
- 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
- Saturday: 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 Trezzi Farm Food and Wine. Located in Greenbluff, Trezzi has been catering Italian food in Spokane since 2005. They opened their tasting room in November 2009 and are now tasting their estate grown Barbera and a Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy Trezzi food and wine, you’ll feel like family the moment you walk through the doors. The tasting room is open Friday-Sunday 12-6pm.
Friday, June 11
BeGin at the MAC: Free music at the Museum of Arts and Culture featuring Mark Ward and a no host bar. 21+ please starts at 6pm.
Davenport Hotel – Joe Dobbs Wine Dinner: Enjoy a 5 course dinner prepared by our chefs at the Palm Court each paired with a carefully chosen Joe Dobbe’s wine; $95 per person. Call (509)789-6848 for reservatios. Space is still available. 6-9pm
Music at Whitestone Winery: Enjoy music and the wine of Whitestone from 6-9pm at 111 S. Cedar. No cover
Vino Wine Shop: Sleight of Hand Cellars from Walla Walla 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 South African Wine Safari (10 amazing wines) Reservations requested, $15 343-2253
Saturday, June 12
Happy Birthday to You: Liberty Lake Cellars turns 2. They’re celebrating from 1-5pm with a limited release of their Quixotic Farm Rose (only 24 cases). This will be a perfect summer wine.
Overbluff Cellars: Only going on their third week being open, Overbluff Cellars is nearly out of their signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Stop by 620 S. Washington Thurs-Sat from 4pm-7pm See the DrinkNectar interview with co-owner John Caudill.
Vino Wine Shop: June Sale Wines Part 2 – 2:00-4:30pm
Painting with spirits: Painting With Spirits will be at The Second Space Gallery (610 2nd Avenue, Spokane, WA, 99201) 1-4 PM. Barili Cellars is pouring, Taste Cafe is serving. Call 208-651-2110
Rocket Market: Saturday drop in tasting with 3 Horse Rance winery 3-6pm; Stay for live music at 7pm from Matt Russell
Sunday, June 13
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 – Sammy Eubanks 5:30 to dusk; $5 cover
More…On the Radar
- June 15,16 and 17: Donate Dine and Wine with Nosey Parker Only 12 spots for each night Included: Finger Foods, Liberty Lake Wine, Detoxifying Foot Bath, Infrared Sauna Session and Whole Body Vibration Training Session for each guest. $50 RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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!
The Washington Wine Commission knows how to throw a party! When you get 100 wineries, 300 wines and 400 people in a room for almost four hours, things can become a little fuzzy…not to mention a little warm and a lot crowded. The combination of Spokane’s premier hotel, The Davenport, Washington’s premier wineries, and local culinary treats result in a blend to rival any event in the area.
DrinkNectar was a proud Patron Sponsor of the 2010 Taste Washington Event. This included sole sponsorship of the Tweet Wall and exclusive interviews with various wineries and wine trade people. I ain’t going to lie, it was pretty cool to have my logo on 500 programs and my information in the swag bags, but manning the tweet wall and interviews really cut into my drinking time. It was quite a challenge to make it to all the amazing wineries, not to mention connecting with people that I’ve come to know through Twitter and Facebook. I even missed the Crème Brule that Clinkerdagger Restaurant was serving. Taste Washington, please come back soon, I miss you already.
The Facility: It goes without saying that the Davenport Hotel is a phenomenal host. The restored historic building is a fantastic and elegant back drop for tasting wine (see video and pictures).
The Wine: Locating and hosting interviews consumed about 2 ½ of the 3 ½ hour event for me. I also try to locate wineries that I have yet to visit or have yet to taste. While I wasn’t able to taste as much wine as I would have liked, I did meet some fantastic people and came across four very terrific stand out wines that I can highly recommend.
- 2007 Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon ($49): This 99% Cab and 1% Petit Verdot is big and bold while retaining a beautiful elegance. It is easy to drink now, but showed obvious potential for 15+ years of cellaring. 4+ out of 5
- 2005 Terra Blanca Arch Terrace Merlot ($20): Red Mountain fruit makes me swoon. The rich fruit flavors that come from Red Mountain are dark and full bodied. This is not your thin medium bodied Merlot. Amazing character and balanced finish with characteristic Red Mountain spice and minerality. 4 out of 5
- 2008 Longshadow Poet’s Leap Riesling ($20): Fantastically crisp and tropical with melons, mangos and citrus flavors. A small hint of sweetness is counter balanced with a beautiful acidity. Far superior to many products that are twice the price. 4+ out of 5
- 2007 Bernard Griffin Petit Verdot ($35): A rich and exotic explosion of flavor and aroma. Candied chocolate oranges with vanilla and spice. A very full bodied wine that is surprisingly elegant on the front and mid palates with a strong well structured finish. Drink now for an amazing food and wine pairing delight, or be patient and watch this wine come alive in the cellar. 4 out of 5
The Food: Of the 21 restaurants (the others were coffee places) serving I was only able to snag food from 5 of them. After collaborative review with some friends who were able to indulge on my behalf, there were some delectable stand outs.
- Picazo 717: Chef Frank Magana outdid himself again with Chorizo Stuffed Prawns and a divine gorgonzola filled truffle (see the pictures). Frank is two for two at Taste Washington events. Someday (soon) I’ll have the pleasure of dining at his restaurant in Prosser, WA
- Agave Latin Bistro: I had the luxury of proximity with these guys, they were located right next to the tweet wall. Chef Ian Wingate demonstrates his creativity with Wild Boar Tacos and a traditional Mexican Flan.
The People: The best part of any event like this is meeting fantastic people. I was finally able to put faces to the names that I tweet with. It was great to meet Erica Waliser of the Washington Wine Commission, Shari Brumbach from Woodward Canyon and so many more. I’ve included the link to one really special interview below with Muriel Kenyon from Otis Kenyon Winery. She shares some extremely special news and I was honored to be able to share it with those that watched live and now you. Other interviews were:
- Jean Ashby the Director of the Cascade Valley Wine Country alliance
- Ann Anderson of Walter Dacon Wines
- Kristie Lodmell of Lodmell Cellars
- Frank Magana of Picazo 717 Restaurant
- Cheryl Hodgins from Skylite Cellars
(If the interview with Muriel Kenyon does not load, click the frame to be taken directly to the Washington Wine Commission UStream Channel)
The event was well organized and provided a good overview of what Washington State has to offer. While I love the intimacy and romance that the Davenport has to offer, the space is getting limited and with larger crowds this year, they may have outgrown the venue. It could be worth considering moving the event to the convention center to allow for a more open feel with all the wineries in one room. Regardless, I’ll definitely be back next year and I may have to hire an assistant who will fetch me wine while I tend to the interviews!
06 Jun 2010
Unable to attend Taste Washington in Spokane? Curious about the event so you can attend next year? Live outside of Spokane and just want to see what’s happening? Check out Taste Washington TV. I’ll be broadcasting live at various times Sunday, June 6 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. Stay tuned and don’t turn that dial! Check back on Tuesday, June 8 for a full recap of all the activities!
02 Jun 2010
Get ready. This week is one of the busiest wino weeks of the year in Spokane. If you’re a wine lover (if you’re not, why are you here), weeks like this make your palate salivate as you prepare to experience 100’s of wines from across the state. In the word, of “the greatest band in the world” this will be some “Crazy, Crazy, Crazy Crazy Nights.” This week’s events allow you to support fantastic charities, bid on auction items, listen to live music, experience local cuisine, enjoy art through downtown or even drink from the comfort of your home in your PJ’s. The ambitious and efficient wino could experience ALL the events for a mere $325.
Taste Washington Spokane Sunday June 6
The premier event of the year is Sunday, June 6 at the Davenport Hotel (5:00-8:30pm). One hundred Washington wineries will be sampling over 300 wines. There is no better opportunity to experience wine as the wine comes to YOU. Along with the wine, twenty-five local restaurants will be showcasing their finest cuisine. This event is a foodie and wino paradise. Experience all this food and wine at Spokane’s historic Davenport hotel. Participants will have the unique experience of mingling with some of the finest small winemakers from Walla Walla, Yakima, Woodinville and more. Along with the amazing food and wine you will receive a Riedel commemorative Taste Washington glass. DrinkNectar will be there as a media sponsor giving away prizes at the prize wheel and interviewing wine makers. Stop by and say, “Hi.”The winery participants and map are now available. It is recommended that you develop a plan of attack. Sampling 300 wines is not a task to take lightly. Visit TasteWashington.org for details.
ENTER TO WIN TICKETS
UPDATE (6/4) – Winner announced: Debbie Traynor
How would you like to attend for FREE? Entry is easy. We are looking for ambassadors of the event. Copy and paste the text below as your Facebook or Twitter status, then leave a comment on this blog so we can enter you in the drawing. One commenter will win two tickets ($150 value). Tickets are available at the door, Vino Wine Shop, Latah Creek, Williams Seafood, and Arbor Crest Riverpark Square.
<COPY AND PAST THE TEXT BELOW IN FACEBOOK OR TWITTER>
Taste Washington (100 wineries & 25 restaurants) is 6/6. See details on all the wine events http://bit.ly/9b7oYn ENTER TO #WINTICKETS
WAWine World Tasting Event Thursday June 3
Crowds not your style? Finances a challenge? Join with thousands of people across the world as we simultaneously taste Washington wine. You can participate in a few different ways. Visit one of the 100 wineries and wine bars that are hosting events across the state. OR enjoy any Washington wine from the comfort of your home. You can even share your experience with others using Facebook or Twitter. WAWine is an awesome opportunities for awareness of wine, connection with other wine lovers and education about the state wine regions. The cost is FREE, all you need is Washington wine and a computer (if you choose to stay home). Join in from 5-8pm.
Complete Weekly Event List
- Wednesday, June 2
- Sips against Cystic Fibrosis at the Melting Pot ($25/$50)
- Thursday, June 3
- WAwine World Tasting Event at Barrister, Overbluff Cellars, Whitestone, Arbor Crest and Robert Karl – (FREE)
- Friday, June 4
- Saturday, June 5
- The Pour at Arbor Crest to benefit the Sacred Heart Children’s hospital ($150)
- Sunday, June 6
Being a wine lover is Spokane has never better! What are you waiting for, get out and experience Spokane wine.