October 2008 Archives

Blogging is a bit like exercising. Once I get into it, I'm on a roll. But as soon as things get too hectic, my best efforts are completely derailed. And, I don't know about you, but I find it very hard to get back onNorth American Wine Bloggers Conference the treadmill after I've been off for a while. That is why it is uncanny that this is my 50th post!

When I started this blog, I did so very reluctantly. It was only after much cajoling by Jim Laube of Wine Spectator that I finally gave in. It's pretty hard to ignore advice like that even if I do hate computers. Now, 50 posts later, I guess I'm a veteran blogger in a growing sea of wine blogs. This milestone comes on the heels of just attending the first North American Wine Blogger's Conference. Over 170 bloggers from across the country gathered in Sonoma County to taste, tour, learn and blog about wine. And, I was right there with them.

It was great to finally put the names with the faces I've met online. Deb Harkness of www.goodwineunder20.blogspot.com, Tom Wark of www.fermentation.typepad.com, Gabe Sasso of www.gabesview.com, Gary Vaynerchuk of tv.winelibrary.com, Alder Yarrow of www.vinography.com, Jason Alexander of www.stormhoek.com, and many many others.

You'd have to live under a rock to not realize that blogging and other forms of social media are changing the business world. For over 75 years, media content and consumer information have been tightly controlled by the news/media/information industries. This is no longer true. Today, anyone can have a voice and share their opinions on just about any subject, reaching millions of people around the world without even leaving their living room. When you think about it, it's truly awesome. Of course with that, comes an awful lot of clutter/junk. Still, opportunities abound for bloggers and businesses alike during this unprecedented time.  If you're just getting into blogging, here are a few conference observations:

Wine bloggers do not fit a consistent mold. Some are young and edgy. Some are mature with graying hair. Most are somewhere in between. Nearly all are passionate with a quirky off beat outlook that contradicts the established forms of wine writing and wine reviewing that exists today. Generally all have a day job and cram their penchant for blogging in on weekends and the wee hours of the night.  Nearly all would also like to make money from their blog but few will actually do so.  In fact, the chances for financial success are so slim that even the most successful wine bloggers today, including Tom Wark of www.fermentation.typepad.com and Alder Yarrow of www.vinography.com continue to support themselves in other manners. As Tom put it, the few extra dollars he actually makes from selling advertising on his blog barely pays for the tequila he consumes on his vacations to Mexico. As for folks like me, blogging has to be a passion. It has to be fun. It can't be another business responsibility or chore like employee reviews or expense account forms. Or, you'll never stick with it.

Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibrary TV put it best.  This feisty entrepreneur has revolutionized the wine industry with his humorous and irreverent online wine recommendations. Don't believe me? Just ask the 100,000+ people who regularly watch his videos or vlogs.  At one point, someone asked Gary how they could get more visitors to their blog. Gary asked, “How many hours of sleep are you getting?” When the answer was 6 or 7, Gary promptly retorted, “Well, that's the problem, you're just not spending enough time on your blog!”

Blogging isn't for the faint of heart. It takes a commitment and it can NOT be a transparent attempt to sell a product. If you're thinking about starting one for your own business, or you've already taken the plunge, you may have additional thoughts to share...

| | Comments (3)

I've been knee deep in the interviewing process lately. It's rare that I have the opportunity to hire new talent, and when I do, it's a painstaking and time-consuming process. And, between us, it's one of my least favorite things to do.

Because I don't want to screw up!

Everyone knows that bringing on top-notch employees is vital to one's success. But finding the right person, well-that's another matter. I mean, how are you really supposed to know if someone is right for the job without a trial period??

I've decided that hiring should be more like shopping. If I like something, most stores will let me buy it and take it home to try it out. That way I can see if I am truly satisfied. If not, I simply return the item for a full refund. What a great way to solve the staffing crapshoot! “You're hired, but on one condition. I'll give you a try for 30 days and if at the end of that time, you're driving me nuts, don't do as you said you would, or you have some annoying or disgusting workplace habit, I'll return you for a full refund.”   Better yet, I'll take home a NEW and IMPROVED model with an extended warranty period! 

This would sure solve a lot of things. Like the time we hired a receptionist, who was so crabby, I swear I overheard her answer the phone, “Good morning, Dry Creek Vineyard. What the hell do you want?”  Or the marketing assistant who refused to work weekends and was morally opposed to the business of turning grapes into wine. (It just never occurred to me to ask her if she approved of my line of work.)

Yep, we've sure run the hiring gamut over the years. From uppity winemakers to finicky office workers to moody hospitality staff.  But thankfully we have some wonderful longtime employees who are part of the family.

And for them I'm supremely grateful.

But all this searching for the perfect candidate made me realize there are some secrets the successful candidate needs to know. These are the things that DON'T come out in the interview process, but trust me, they are important to know!  



Make sure the family is small.  Husband and wife teams are tricky, parents and siblings complicate things, throw in some cousins, nieces, nephews…well that's just a complete nightmare waiting to happen. (Don't even ask about ex's.)


Never criticize the owner's wines. Sure, it's fine to recommend less oak or more acid. But remember that wines are like the offspring. No matter how obnoxious your kids, they're still your little angels who can do no wrong.


Get used to management changing their minds. It's no different than at home. How many times have you asked your family if they want to have Chinese or Pizza, only to hear (after the bill is paid), that what they really wanted was Mexican? 


Recognize that if the boss is in a bad mood, it probably has nothing to do with you. Family business owners are just grown up needy children. The only difference from other adults is that they tend to work through their “issues” in the cellar instead of in a counselor's office.

Anyone out there feel up for the job? I'm hiring!
| | Comments (11)
OK, I'm making a disclaimer right now. This blog post is not entirely original. But it was simply too good not to share. And, I guarantee a good chuckle! So sit back, take a sip, and enjoy!

Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Do you suffer from shyness? Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive? If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Zinfandel.

Zinfandel is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. Zinfandel can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Zinfandel almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live. Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living, with Zinfandel.

Zinfandel may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Zinfandel. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side Effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.

Now just imagine what you could achieve with a good Cabernet!
| | Comments (5)

Have you ever wanted to be a wine critic? Or fancied the idea of posting your own wine reviews for the whole world to see? Or, maybe you just want to read truly unbiased opinions (as opposed to those of the owner or winemaker) before you plop down your hard-earned cash for Click to submit & read reviews!a bottle of vino.  Well now you can. We've just launched a very cool new feature on the Dry Creek Vineyard web site and online store that puts writing wine reviews in the hands of those who matter most--our customers! Much like the customer review technology used on sites like Amazon, TripAdvisor or Zappos, our new system allows people to rate our wines themselves and write real life commentary about their experiences.

When my IT gal first proposed the idea, I must admit to being just a little bit hesitant. It reminded me of a popularity contest in grade school that I lost. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a great tool this could be for people. And, NO ONE is doing it! Besides, what have we got to lose? We have such absolute faith in the quality of our wines, why should we be afraid to put ourselves out there for public scrutiny?

It's been “live” for just under a week. And the reviews so far, have been nothing short of remarkable. Most have come from our wine club members, but others are starting to pour in too. I'm sure one of these days some prankster will write something that will make me shudder. (“This wine went particularly well with the lamb innards and bat excrement my wife prepared for me on our 25th anniversary.”) OR, it might even make me blush. (No I don't want to know the intimate details of how our wines have enhanced someone's love life.) But that's ok. Everyone is entitled to their opinion…that's the whole idea.

So, if you have a minute, click on the link and check it out. Better yet, leave a review. Just try to keep it G rated so I don't have to do any ‘splaining to the kids tonight.

| | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2008 is the previous archive.

November 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine industry...so sit back, take a sip and enjoy!

about me

our wines

our winery

our events

contact me

privacy statement

favorite posts

A Lifetime in Wine

Top 10 Traits of the Successful Family Winery

The Dreaded Family Meeting

Board Meeting Jitters

Is the Future of the Winery in Danger?

The Case of the Overweight Bottle

Wine and Dementia

Wanted: Talented (Normal) Individual for Family Owned Winery

A Sea of Wine

The Heroes of Our Industry

monthly archives


Hopes & Dreams

Owning a Coastal Cottage

Sailing for 6 Months

Getting a 100 Point Score

Favorite Haunts

Coast of Maine

Dry Creek General Store

Dry Creek Kitchen

Healdsburg Bar & Grill


Sonoma Country Antiques

Baci Cafe & Wine Bar

The Farmhouse

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Bad Ass Coffee

Bistro Ralph

Bits of Press

Food & Wine Magazine

The Wine News

Wine Enthusiast

Wine Spectator

Press Democrat

Sunset Magazine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences

Cruising World Magazine

Oprah Magazine

The Washington Post

Coastal Living Magazine

Wine & Spirits Magazine

People Magazine

SAG Awards Magazine

Forbes Magazine

Favorite Magazines

Coastal Living

Down East


Country Living

Quarterly Review of Wines

Wines & Vines

Wine Spectator

Wine Enthusiast

California Grapevine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Practical Winery & Vineyard


Vineyard & Winery Mgmt

Blog Buddy List


Hip Tastes

Pinot Blogger

All The Best

Julia Flynn Siler


Winery Web Site Report

The Pour - Eric Asimov

Dr Vino

Steve Heimoff

Start Up Ladies

Good Wine Under $20

Blind Muscat

The Wineroad Blog

Gabe's View

Wine Peeps

Vici Vino

Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk

Uncork Life

WineVine-Imports Blog

The Wine Witch


Honorable Mentions

Wilma Hits The World of Blogs
Most Intriguing New Wine Blogs of 2008
Midwest Wine Guy
Winery of the Month
Julia Flynn Siler
Meritage wines - and a fascinating glimpse into family business
Winery Web Site Report
New Winery Blog: Wilma's Wine World
Start Up Ladies
Insider's View of Family Owned Dry Creek Vineyard
The Glue that Keeps the Whole Thing Going
Atlanta Dish
Blog of the Week
Blind Muscat
The Merits of Meritage
Boston Wine Expo exhibitors, and the reason why winemakers are so darn happy