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 on 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...
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!
WILMA'S ADVICE FOR WORKING AT A FAMILY OWNED WINERY
|Anyone out there feel up for the job? I'm hiring!|
|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.
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.
|Now just imagine what you could achieve with a good Cabernet!|
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 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.
This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine industry...so sit back, take a sip and enjoy!
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