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Posts Tagged ‘Washinton State Wine’

Tasting 200 Wines in 3 Days: Sensory Overload?

Do you think an average wine blogger can really ‘taste’ wine and get a good assessment of it at the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 (#WBC10)? A discussion with Jay Soloff, owner of Delille Cellars (@DelilleCellars on Twitter).

I’m sitting here having tea and gluten-free muffins with Jay Soloff, co-owner of Delille Cellars, which has been deemed ‘Washington States Best Winery’ time and time again. My meeting with him was not to interview him, it was tea between friends. But our conversation developed into a perfect blog topic. It went a little something like this…

Barbara: I tried well over 30 new wines a day at the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 last week. Not only was the amount of wine tastes that were thrown our way overwhelming, but there was a constant buzz of music, conversation and sales pitches, along with a general palate fatigue of 30+ WA wines a day, which started at 9am, and ended well past 10pm. Can a non skilled palate make a sound judgment under these conditions? If the point of our tasting is to let our followers in on some best kept #WAWine secrets, is an event such as this effective, as say, an hour in a tasting room or sipping a bottle of WA red with dinner?

While at WBC, I avoided any attempt to tweet or blog wine reviews, and wonder what type of assessment could truly be made in an atmosphere of that nature. For me, tasting wine in a crowded room, filled with music, people chit chatting with me about up-coming wine events etc is almost impossible (even with many years in the wine industry, and many trade tastings and events such as Taste WA). The distractions are just too numerous. I decided, instead to focus on the personalities of the wine makers, their history and story, and how I could help them get the word out on their wine. Every wine maker I spoke to, and every wine that I tried did leave an over all impression on me… but man was it tough to make a sound assessment!

Jay: Yes, that is something that wine makers/owners think about when at tastings. We at Delille Cellars have discussed our presence at large tastings numerous times, and what it means to us in terms of Return On Investment (ROI). We conclude that we don’t care about ROI at all… not even a little bit when we pour our wines to hundreds of people. We can’t weigh the value of any of our marketing effort, our aim is just to be accessible! You never know today what participation will yield down the road. What you give is what you will get. Not everyone we taste on our wines in a crowded, distracting, room will take away what we really want them to (a great introduction to our wine), but they may take with them the experience, a bit of our history, and the ability to have asked me direct questions.

Barbara: That is so perfectly ‘wine’. The wine industry is particularly unique to me in that you are selling more than the juice. You are selling a lifestyle and an experience. It seems similar to what you are saying to having a presence at a large tasting. I am glad to hear that you don’t need to measure the results of giving tastes of your wines to people, such as the Wine Blogger Conference. This leads me to ask you a question about why Delille doesn’t seem to be investing much in Social Media. Why is it that wineries are apprehensive to use that same ROI marketing concept with Social Media?

Jay: Wow… that’s a very great point Barbara, Social Media marketing has been sitting in my gut as something we need to do. Unfortunately, there are 4 owners, not just me.

Barbara: We’ll talk about that next time we meet for muffins Jay. Thanks for answering my questions.

I would like to hear more from the people that feel they are able to make a sound judgment about the wines tasted in this type of environment, especially during ‘speed tasting’. For me, WBC was a great way to learn about new wineries, places to eat and stay etc as a way of steering my followers to new cool things. As for getting a good grasp on the wines that were poured, I may have to buy them all and taste them one by one in my kitchen with dinner!

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Inside the Head of The Owner of A 9,000 Bottle Wine Collection!

An Interview With Cliff Chung, Owner of One of Seattle’s MEGA Wine Collections

* See Below for Information Regarding How YOU Can Purchase Some of Cliff’s Collection at a GREAT Discount!

I have known wine makers, Sommeliers, Master Sommeliers, Certified Wine Educators, General Managers/owners of 5 star dining establishments, and pretty much anyone I could introduce myself to in the wine industry. The inter-workings of the industry are very well known to me. What is not, however, is the consumer side of wine. Sure, I know people who have beautiful collections, fine dining parties, and even some who sip Cristal with lunch like it’s water (though I have yet to be invited along). What I have never tapped into until now, however, is the deepest layer of consumer that can be found. I call it Obsessive Collective Disorder (OCD), and I finally got to meet a fellow who’s been hit by the bug! While many of us in the industry are completely enamored by them and their very mysterious existence, the normies may consider them over the top, and just plain eccentric.

*Email Cliff at cfchung@comcast.net for Information About the part of His Collection He Is Selling!

Thank You Purple Cafe And Wine Bar in Seattle

A Few Quotes I collected From Cliff After The Interview:

“From the mid 2000’s till 2009 I bought 95% of my wine from Garagistewine.com, after a friend recommened I check out it’s website. I did and was hooked after that. So now I have about 9000 bottles, 3400 of which were purchased fro Garagiste over the last 4 years”.

“I buy bang for the buck wines that can age. I didn’t but to be a collector, but a drinker and sharer of wine. People point out that I can’t drink all that wine, but when i past on, someone will inherit a nice stash of wine”.

“People drink wine too early and too fast at meals. We look for instant gratification. Open the wine, especially reds an hour or two before the meal, decant if needed, pour into a glass to let it breathe, sip while you cook and notice how the wine flavors and aroma evolve”.

“Make friends with the venues that sell wine. Some local food stores have great discounts available”.

“There is a glut of wine out there. Many bargains to be found. And winemakers throughtout the world are getting better at making good to great wine at good prices”.

Social Media in the Wine Industry… You on Twitter yet? #WAMerlot

You’re invited to the largest simultaneous online Washington Wine tasting event ever (well at least that we know of). Gaining inspiration from Rick Bakas’ #CaliCabs event (and the upcoming #SauvBlanc event on March 4), a group of Washington wine writers and bloggers are hosting a national #WAMerlot taste and tweet.

RSVP for the Event at http://wamerlot.eventbrite.com

Join us Thursday, March 25 from 5 – 7 PM (PST)

Participation is simple – Find a Washington Merlot, open the bottle, drink it and tweet about it using the #WAMerlot hashtag. Using a program like TweetDeck will make participation easier (see the video on the upper right of this page).

Can’t find WAMerlot? Fear not, a special collaboration with Wine Library brings you three choices in various price ranges. Buy one or buy all three. Click the image below to see the killer deals Gary Vaynerchuk and team put togther for us!

Are you a Washington Winery? Click here for details on how YOU can make this an effective event for you!

Why Merlot? This is not a screw Sideways and shaft Miles event. This is an event to celebrate a wine variety that helped put Washington on the map. Previously I asked the question, “Which one grape best defines Washington?” The challenge, many grapes grow well and thrive in the various climates of the state. Along with smooth and rich Merlot, Washington is known for big Cabernet Sauvignon, bold Syrah, richly crafted Chardonnay, inspiring Riesling and more. With 122 votes, the outcome is below. While Merlot may not be the clear winner, it is more widely planted and more wineries across the state feature a Merlot or a predominant Merlot blend. Over the next four week’s leading up to #WAMerlot, I’ll feature a special segment on Merlot!

This event is co-sponsored by some great people on Twitter:

@seattlewinegal, @wawinereport, @nwwineandre @shona425 @wineeyak @yakimavalley @lunabeanmedia @winebeerwa @catie @walla2winewoman

Drink Happy!

*Content taken from http://www.drinknectar.com with permission and was written by Josh Wade @nectarwine

What on Earth is a “Barrel Sample” Walter Dacon Wines Explains

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I had an AWESOME time this weekend at Walter Dacon Wines in Shelton WA. THANK YOU Lloyd, Ann and Holly so very much for showing me around. I feel about Walter Dacon the way I do about Obelisco Estate and Barrage Cellars– true GEMS that I am so happy to have found.  Wine Maker and owner Lloyd introduced us to his dog Belle, and then took us in the cellar for some barrel samples.

Awesome wine maker and cutie Holly talks about Twitter!

Social Media Tips for the Wine Industry: Your Twitter Homepage

February 22, 2010 4 comments

The details of your Twitter homepage ARE important for your Social Media efforts.

  • Pay attention to your bio (use key words for best Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Chose a hometown location of the closest city to you to maximize people’s search for you
  • Customize your background with completely free applications such as FreetwitterDesigner
  • Chose a high quality image that you keep consistent throughout your platforms (Facebook, blog etc)

Wine Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: The Truth About Owning a Winery

January 13, 2010 9 comments

The Glamorous Life of a Vintner: Don Scrubs the Toilet

Thanks once again Don Phelps of Hard Row to Hoe in Chelan WA for joining me for another guest blog post in my “Ask a Vintner” series. This one’s a good one folks. Pour yourself a glass of wine.

Seattle Wine Gal:

“So Don, What is it like to own a winery? It seems so glamorous! Out in the vineyards with the sun shining on your face, lavish wine dinners and parties, 1,000 bottle cellars, midnight candle-lite barrel tastings”…

Don Phelps: I was thinking today about the nice aspects of owning a winery which includes meeting great people, living in a beautiful area, being your own boss, etc. That got me to thinking about all of the folks that come to the winery and say how much they admire the place and wish they could take the plunge to do it themselves. And that is about where reality came into the picture..

We spend the lion’s share of each day:

Paying bills

Handling payroll

Doing the taxes

Ordering wine glasses so everyone has something to drink out of

Getting change from the bank for the till

Ordering toilet paper and paper towels for the bathroom

Buying bags and boxes

Getting ice for the white wines

Taking out the empty bottles

Restocking the shelves

Cleaning the bathroom and tasting room

Picking up garbage outside

Working with vineyards to grow next years grapes

Worrying about freezing weather, insect infestations, bird damage, too much water, too little water

Ordering barrels

Spending entire days in the truck hauling grapes from up to 5 hours away

Working 7 days a week from daylight to 10 at night during Sept and Oct


Worrying about things like:

Equipment breakdowns

Enough help

Enough bins to ferment the red grapes in

Enough stainless steel tanks to hold all of the white wines

Inoculation with the right yeast

The fermentation process itself

Punch downs

YAN and FAN

Secondary fermentation…

along with a million other things that have to be done in the right manner and at the right time to make it all work; finally going to bed at night thinking about what needs to be done, and waking up in the morning still thinking about it.

And if that was not enough you still have to figure out how you can sell your product and have enough money left over to pay the mortgage. That means back on the road promoting the sale of the wine, trying to get restaurants and stores to carry it, negotiating with distributors, dealing with frozen shipments in the winter months and over heated ones in the summer, and then staying open that last 45 minutes for the straggler that just could not come back tomorrow and loves your wine but leaves with a single 15 dollar bottle.

One more thing before I forget it – you need a second job to live on.

No question about it – this is the memorable life!!

Yep, if it was not for the pure gold customers that become your friends over the years we would probably sell the place and let one of you enjoy the life of Riley – owning your very own winery.

-Don

Seattle Wine Gal: “Oh, I see”.

Social Media for the Wine Industry: How Important is Your Follower Count?

January 4, 2010 20 comments

Social Media for the Wine Industry: How Important is Your Follower Count?

I’m going to skip the quality over quantity banter for a second here and answer this question truthfully as I see it. YES, your number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog subscribers etc. IS important if you are attempting to use Social Media for business. Here are a few reasons why.

1. As controversial as this can be in the world of Social Media junkies like myself, a higher number of followers DOES give you more clout. Not everyone is impressed by someone on Twitter with 15,000 followers (for reasons I will discuss below). I assure you, however, that the number is glanced at by most people who pop onto your page, and (at least part of) your ‘tweet worth’ is assessed instantly. This is done even by people like myself, who feel that engagement is second to nothing, and that large quantities of followers may say nothing about the quality of the posts and the postees ability to entertain/teach/engage me.

2. The second reason that a higher follower count is important is that if you amass your followers carefully and in the right places, a larger number of followers will spread your message further. Obviously, from a business perspective, this raises your chances of reaching new clientele by increasing your visibility. I must caution you that the more followers you have, the more work you will have to do to keep the beach ball floating over the crowd while letting everyone get a hit at it. Keep focused on your goals and strategy to increase your chances of being able to manage a larger following. Don’t ‘drop the ball’ on other peoples attempts to engage with you- answer people’s RT’s, posts, and emails, and do so as publicly as possible.

Getting back to Quality over Quantity. I DO feel strongly that posting messages to 15,000 followers who don’t care is pointless. It is extremely important to target ‘follower growth’ efforts towards people who want to hear your message, and may ultimately purchase your product. There is no point in seeking out a taxidermist in Hong Hong when you sell wine in Woodinville, WA. While I would ‘follow’ the taxidermist back, I would not ‘look’ for him. I recommend focusing your efforts first in your own backyard.

How to create a strong, quality following. While I could delve deep and start getting into cross posts, link-backs and pings, social bookmarking and even SEO visibility, I will instead offer you a very do-able Social Media 101 Twitter, Facebook, and blog subscription tip: Seek out and Follow the followers of people like you, follow people who live in the demographic of your business, do key word searches for people who may be interested in what you have to say; follow these people and engage with them. Following is so important because many of the people you reach out to and follow WILL follow you back.*

How to manage that goofy looking unbalanced number of followers/followees on Twitter? Check out Twitter applications such as TwitterKarma or FriendorFollow to un-follow people who do not follow you back.

Now go raise your follower count with a target audience in mind, and plans to engage and listen to them and you are a step closer to business success within Social Media.

If you would like to create a strong and effective Social Media Campaign and live in the Seattle area, please contact me. I am not a contractor, I do one on one sit-down appointments with people in exchange for wine or food! Also, Get on My Radar Screen!

Email: contact@seattlewinegal.com

*There is so much subjectivity within Social Media, and so many varying ideas. I encourage you to listen to other forms of methodology to find the one that fits best for you and your goals. This is just one of many ways of “doing Social Media”.

All Content Written by: Seattle Wine Gal