Posts Tagged ‘Woodinville’

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!


Who is Seattle Wine Gal? Interview With Sacre Bleu

All Content Belongs to Barbara Evans. Into and interview questions written and conducted by Sacre Bleu

The tale of anyone who manages to map their way back from distress or misfortune seems always worth repeating.  We love the comeback story, the person who in spite of whatever crap got dumped into their life just didn’t see failure as an acceptable option.  They played it out.  That’s Barbara Evans, or as many of us have come to know her, Seattle Wine Gal.

Seattle Wine Gal is the Twitter name and emerging brand that is becoming a sort of Internet/Wine pop culture phenomenon.  Her number of followers, in a very short period, has sprung to almost 5000 and her web site look and content could be best described as guerilla minimalist.  It is at once both substantive and irreverent with no shortage of attitude and charisma.

Evan’s is a study in survivor strategy and balls out determination.  From a childhood depression and a learning disability comes a young woman with 7 years of TaeKwonDo experience at traveling tournament team level, roller derby girl, MA is Social Anthropology, aviation and pilot training with a final touch down as social media advocate/wine babe.  In short, she’s one of the important faces helping transform the ever youthful wine landscape.  Our interview with her comes at a time when her work load and popularity are growing rapidly.

When you look back to when you first began enjoying wine, did you ever have a eureka or Sacre Bleu! type moment where you realized wine was really special and what was the wine that came with that moment?

People love asking wine lovers “what was the bottle that turned you into an enthusiast”. Many wine lovers think up some super expensive First Growth Bordeaux or fine Champagne as the bottle that ‘did it’ for them… don’t believe them! I have asked this question to hundreds of people, and after some coaxing have learned that most wine enthusiasts discovered that wine was special when they bumped the price point from $8 to $12! I believe there are scads of “eureka” moments in a wine lovers life, all which make it more difficult to go back to that $8 bottle. As for me, I used to drink boxed wine. After “splurging” on a $15 of Tempranillo, I couldn’t drink the boxed wine anymore. My second Eureka moment came when someone bought me a bottle of 1999 Sanford Pinot Noir. After that I began working at a wine shop, attending seminars, and eventually traveled the world in the pursuit of wine!

You’ve managed to overcome a great deal in your life. The journey from young girl with a learning disability to licensed pilot, SCUBA certification and ultra marathon runner with an MA in Social Anthropology isn’t typical. What is it that burns inside you as motivation?

Yes, my past surprises people. I openly admit to having had a rough adolescence. I had severe depression and behavioral problems, which led me to “special kid” classes/schools, learning disabilities, and other problems which I will not mention (but thankfully overcame). I have always tried to keep my head above water and be a good kid who got good grades. To get a B, I tried a hundred times harder than many of the A students. After years of struggling to keep up, I developed an unintentional, systematic hyper drive sense of motivation. As life got easier, the hyper drive that barely kept my head above water started propelling me above and beyond. I guess I never really noticed (and still don’t) where this unique inner flame to push life to the limits leads me.

What is it about the integration of social media with wine that brings you to this level of passion and fun that you chose to carve out a career in it.

I never intended to start a business after ‘creating’ Seattle Wine Gal. One Year ago, I worked for a large online retail company. I created and managed their Social Media program. I was given no resources to learn how to create a winning campaign, and I had no background in business. I poured my own money into educating myself and spent hours and hours of my own time mastering SEO, analytics, and basic platform tech skills for this campaign. Just as I began to see real success, and a positive Return On Investment, I was let go due to a merger with another company. It was then that I decided to push the limits with what I learned. I created Seattle Wine Gal as an experiment. Everything that I wanted to do working for corporate, but was not ‘allowed’ to, I did with Seattle Wine Gal (from dropping the F bomb occasionally in my tweets, to pics of me guzzling expensive wine out of the bottle on my Facebook page). I found that people were tired of the same old ‘wine review’ style wine bloggers, and drawn to my style. Along the way I began to see the wine industry struggling to tap into one of the most sought after customer demographics right now… young wine drinkers! Wine makers and shop owners, as well as Seattle restaurants began calling on me to help them with their Social Media. Trading my know-how for wine and food wasn’t paying the bills, so I started my own business BeRealTime and do business as Seattle Wine Gal.

Do you believe that social media will reach it’s true potential in terms of engaging consumers with products? At least in the wine world it seems that so much social media bandwidth is spent with company’s and brands engaging each other more often than the consumer.

Yes, there is a very fast shift from traditional marketing to social media marketing right now, and there is no sign that it will ever go backwards. This seems to be very scary for the wine industry. They know that they need to get involved, but have no idea how or why. I see a lot of heal dragging, but I also see just as many people adopting these new marketing tactics.

As a company, it is very easy to get caught up in only engaging online with other companies like your own. To maximize Social Media efforts, businesses need to be dialed into their target audience i.e. their potential clientele. Extend your reach, find new people, and always be other focused. No one likes a product pusher (snore). I strongly advise business owners to get on board as quickly as possible. You get what you give; dedicate some time and effort to Social Media… the return on investment may shock you!

You’ve opted for a minimalist look for your site and turned away the recommendations of some who have urged you to upgrade its look. Why do you resist those urgings?

Part of this marketing shift I spoke of above is a consumer appreciation for raw, gritty, human presentation. People are tired of high production values and clean shiny print ads. At the same time Reality TV became popular, so too did reality marketing. It’s all about content. I am going to create a webpage soon (using zero dollars), but ultimately feel that it is completely unnecessary. I also feel webpage’s them selves, and text blogs (no offense) are beginning to lose interest and will fail to capture consumer attention. I am focusing my efforts more on video, and just started a fun new Youtube channel. For businesses too busy to write text blogs, I highly recommend getting into video. It’s easier and is the direction Social Media Marketing is headed! As for webpages, they are like a business card- a completely stagnant advert unless you work to bring it to life (badges to your YouTube channel, Twitter, Facebook etc). The new target audience is more likely to find your Facebook or Twitter page than your website.

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

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 with permission and was written by Josh Wade @nectarwine

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)

Seattle area and Woodinville Winery Tasting Room Guide From Social Media’s Seattle Wine Gal

December 28, 2009 10 comments
Adams Bench By Appointment only 425.408.1969 14360 160th Pl. N
Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Anton Ville Winery

Thursday- Sunday: 12:00 am – 5:00 p.m. Closed Monday – Wednesday.

Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 – 5:00pm



19501 144th Ave NE., Building C-900

19501 144th Ave NE, Suite D300

Baer Winery Saturdays 1:00-5:00pm and by Appointment 206.683.3393 9118 222nd St. SE
Betz Family Winery By Appointment only 425.861.9823 13244 Woodinville Redmond Road NE
Brian Carter Cellars Daily- 12:00 – 5:00pm 425.806.9463 14419 Wood- Red Rd NE
Chateau Ste-Michelle Daily 10:00am – 4:30pm 425-415-3658 14111 NE 145th St
Columbia Winery Daily 10:00am – 6:00pm 425.482.7490 14030 NE 145th ST
Covington Cellars Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – 1:00-5:00pm 425.482.7490 18580 142nd Ave NE
Cuillin Hills Winery Saturdays – 12:00 – 4:00pm 425-415-8466 19501 144th Ave NE, Suite C-200
DeLille Cellars Daily 11am – 4:30pm 425-489-0544 P.O. Box 2233
Des Voigne Cellars Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00pm, Sundays 1:00 – 4:00pm 206-415-8466 19501 144th Ave NE Suite B-500
DiStefano Winery Fridays -3:00 -7:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 5:00pm 425-487-1648 12280 Woodinville Dr. NE
Domaine Ste. Michelle Same as Chateau Ste. Michelle 425-415-3658 14111 NE 145th St
Edmonds Winery Saturday and Sunday – 1:00 – 5:00pm 425.774.8959 19501 144th ave NE D-700
Efeste Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays – 12:00 – 4:00pm 425.398.7200 19730 144th Ave NE
Facelli Winery Saturdays and Sundays – 12:00 – 4:00pm 425-488-1020 16120 Wood – Red. Rd. NE, Ste 1
Guardian Cellars Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 4:30pm 206.661.6733 19501 144th Ave NE # F1100
Hestia Cellars Saturdays 11:00am – 4:00pm 425.333.4270 18572 142nd Avenue NE
Hollywood Hill Vineyards Fridays 3:00 -7:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays -12:00 – 5:00pm 425.753.0093 Apple Farm Village, 14525 148th Ave NE, Suite 114
Januik Winery Daily -11:00am -5:00pm, Wednesdays -12:00 7:00pm 425-481-5502

JM Cellars Fridays -2:00 -6:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 5:00pm 206-321-0052 14404 137th Pl. NE
Mark Ryan Winery Thurs. thru Sunday 12:00-5:00pm 206-910-7967 19501 144th Ave NE #F-900
Matthews Estate Mon. -Wed -2:00 -5:00pm, Thurs -Sun. -12:00 5:00pm 425-487-9810 16116 140th Place NE
Matthews Estate Tasting Room Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 5:00pm
Northwest Totem Cellars Saturdays – 12:00 – 4:00pm 425.877.7111 15810 NE 136th Place, Redmond
Novelty Hill Winery Daily -11:00am -5:00pm, Wednesdays -12:00 7:00pm 425-481-5502 14710 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE
Page Cellars Saturdays – 12:00 – 4:00pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00pm 253-232-9463 19495 144th Ave NE , Suite B 235
Patterson Cellars Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 5:00pm 425.483.8600 19501 144th Avenue NE, Suite D-600
Pomum Cellars By appointment and select events 206.349.8159 18654 142nd Ave NE
Red Sky Winery Saturdays – 12:00 – 5:00pm $5.00 Tasting Fee 425-481-9864 19495 144th Avenue NE B220
Ross Andrew Winery Thurs. thru Sunday 12:00-5:00pm 206-369-3615 18512 142nd Ave. NE
Saintpaulia Vintners By appointment only 360-668-8585 14522 NE N Woodinville Way
Silver Lake Winery Mon. -Sat. -11:00am -5:00pm, Sunday 12:00 5:00pm 425.485.2437 15029 – A Wood – Red Rd
Sparkman Cellars Special Events and Appointment only 425-398-1405 19501 144th ave NE D-700
Stevens Winery Saturdays – 12:00 – 4:30pm 425-424-9463 18510 142nd Ave. NE
Vine & Sun No Tasting Room Hours
William Church Winery Saturdays -12:00 -4:00pm, Sundays 1:00 -4:00pm Feb. – Nov. 425.427.0764 19495 144th Ave NE suite A100
Woodhouse Family Cellars Daily 11:00am – 5:00pm 425-527-0608 15500 Wood-Red Rd. Ste C600
Woodinville Wine Cellars Saturdays – 12:00 – 5:00pm, Fridays by Appointment 425-481-8860 17721 132nd Ave NE
XSV Wines Saturday – 12:00 – 5:00pm, Sunday – 12:00 – 4:00pm 425.210.1554 19501 144th Ave NE #C300

Back to Basics: What Can Social Media Do For You and Your Winery?

December 13, 2009 9 comments

On Dec 1st I published a blog post entitled: ‘Winery Guide to Measuring Results of Social Media Efforts. Click Here to read that post. I think I posted about Measuring results a bit preemptively. Perhaps you know what Social Media is, but are curious about whether or not you should be on-board. If that is the case, please read on. I have done some thinking and have taken those same Social media proponents spoken about in the Dec 1st post, and have compiled a list of how Social Media can help your winery or business. This post is dedicated to Woodinville’s NW Totem Cellars, whose efforts to be a unique and small production winery will very soon be coupled with a Social Media campaign (they have reached out to me and expressed an interest in getting their presence off the ground). Please help them out by following them on Twitter: @NWTotemCellars.

When done properly,

  • Social Media are an extension of customer service and relations. Social media allows customers direct, and often real time, interaction with and access to you, your staff, and family (if you so chose). When done right, it also offers clients and potential clients the feeling of exclusive insider access (“you hear it first”, coupon codes, new release info etc). It also allows you as a business direct access to what people are saying about you, and allows you to jump in on the conversation.
  • Social Media establishes trust through dialogue, participation, and conversation. Rather than speaking ‘at’ your customers, and telling them what you want them to hear, social media enables you to listen and exchange ideas with them. This provides a human touch and puts a human face on your business.
  • Social Media increases your reputation. Providing information and/or services free of charge (via blogs, articles etc), you not only develop customer appreciation, but also become a respected authority/expert in your field.
  • Social Media increases word of mouth and recognition. The more people that are talking about you and/or your products on the web, the more people that are talking about you to friends, family coworkers etc. in the ‘real world’ Here is an example of how powerful this can be.  There are currently more than 300 million active Facebook users, the average of which has 130 Facebook friends. If you get just 10 of them to post a comment mentioning you, that comment has the potential to be read by 1,300 people, who may then mention you in their own comment posts!
  • Social Media efforts lead to an increase in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Once efforts to increase product/company mention online become established and implemented, online mention of your company, and any other topic that you may be blogging, tweeting about, or discussing online will be directly connected to you when someone searches said topics. For example, if you write, post, and publish enough articles with the key words “ fine wine on a budget”, when someone does an online search to find out how they can afford good wine on a tight budget, your company name appears at the top of the list. 
  • Social Media , when done properly, increases sales. Social media efforts that have a strategic focus, plan, and goal, as well as a properly maintained and executed campaign, will result in an increase in sales. Trust building, increased visibility, reputation, word of mouth, and SEO all directly increase the amount of interest, foot traffic and sales for your business.

All of these factors tie in together. Social Media is cyclical and aspects of it are interwoven. This can make it a tricky endeavor to trust due to the nature of the difficulty in measuring results. I have offered a few ideas about measurement, please feel free to check out my Dec 1st post. Also, as always, please feel free to contact me directly if you would like more Social Media tips or an in-person one on one tutorial.

Seattle Wine Gal: Social Media for Seattle Area Wineries and Wine Shops

Wineries & Wine Shops- Get on My Radar Screen to Increase Your Social Media Presence!

December 9, 2009 8 comments

Just a quick shout-out to wineries that are not in contact with me yet (even non-WA State wineries). Please connect with me and I will happily promote your winery and events on Twitter, Facebook, and my Social Media in the wine Industry Blog! Keep an ongoing relationship with me to give me updates about what is happening in and around your winery/tasting room, calendar events, new releases, special deals etc.

How to contact me with your events? Send me an email, Follow me on Twitter, Find me on Face book! Send me a message with the title: “radar”, and I will add you to my list of important wineries to promote.

Also, keep updated on my blog posts, and Tweets for tips on how to increase your Social Media know-how. I dish out the tips all day.

Love you guys and want you to succeed in this here new world of hip marketing.  🙂

Barbara Evans