February 2009 Archives

Hooray!  It's time to start voting for your favorite wine blog. NomiClick to VOTE NOW!!!nations for the 2009 American Wine Blog Awards have come to a close and public voting has now begun.  Winners in each category will be determined by a 70% popular vote, and 30% vote by the judges.

With many heartfelt thanks to you, Wilma's Wine World was nominated in five categories.  After the judges consideration, Wilma has emerged as a finalist in two (*) of the seven categories!  You can not imagine how thrilled, honored and delighted I am, given that there are over 800 wine blogs today. 

You can use this link to vote for your favorite in each category.

Click to VOTE NOW!!!


Best Writing on a Wine Blog
Best Single Subject Wine Blog
Best Winery Blog *
Best Wine Reviews on a Blog
Best Wine Blog Graphics and Presentation *
Best Industry/Business-Oriented Wine Blog
Best Overall Wine Blog


Whether you vote for this blog (which of course, I hope you do!) or one of the many other well written and entertaining ones dedicated to the subject of wine, your vote really matters.  Awards will be given based on content, originality, and frequency of posts.

Thanks and may the best blog win!

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My hunch is that most Americans need a break right now. Turn off the news, forget the economy and spend a little time with friends and family. The enjoyment of wine and food fits right into this, which is exactly the spirit of our Vintner's Select Wine Club. Started over 20 year ago with just a handful of friends, it has now grown to over 3500 die hard Dry Creek fans who share one thing in common: a love of wines and a desire to share in our family's heritage. 

With that in mind, Valentine's Day was the perfect night for 60 wine club members and their guests to join us for an aphrodisiac-inspired feast in the winery's cellar. The menu included such enticing delectables as oysters, lobster, porcini mushrooms, Kobe beef, and Grand Marnier crème brulée.

I don't know about you, but I've never consumed so many foods with these supposed aphrodisiac qualities in one setting. Multiply that by 60, and well, I was a little worried. Happily all went smoothly and the buckets of cold water waiting behind the barrels were not needed. (Just kidding on this last one, but the thought did occur to me!!)

People came from as far away as Florida and Maryland to wine, dine and laugh among new and old friends. One couple, Kym and John Markley, even celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend Cupid's eve and an important reminder of the rejuvenating qualities of laughter and merriment during these uncertain times.  Many thanks to all who attended!
Click photo to enlarge!
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A lot of people think that selling wine is easy. That selling an actual case, (12 bottles) let alone pallets of the stuff, is something anyone should be able to do as long as their product is good and the price is fair.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as I've been doing this, (something like 24 years now) I am still amazed at how damn hard it is to actually sell a case of wine. I'm talking wholesale here, not retail. While that's a challenge too, it's a different animal altogether as there's something special that happens when customers come visit the winery. For one thing they are generally happy, on vacation and EXCITED to taste our wines.  But the wholesale side is quite another matter. Buyers for restaurants, hotels, and liquor stores are generally a pretty tough crowd despite the fact that buying wine is supposed to be, well…fun!

Before I continue, I must confess an ugly secret. I stink at sales. This is not an exaggeration. While I'm a whiz at making small talk, telling “our story”, and tasting people on our wines, actually taking an order seems to require some other mysterious skill that I just haven't mastered, despite years of sales training and on the job practice!

And, I'm always humbled when I spend time in the market, which is exactly what I did for most of last week. We conducted what is known in the industry as a “sales blitz”.  This is essentially an all out attack to see how many customers we can see in a day  with our distributor sales rep. Who, in my book, are the unsung heroes of our industry. 

Unsung heroes. The people we can all thank for the availability of wine, as we know it today. The people who through sun, rain, sleet or snow make sure your favorite brands are available at your favorite establishments.

It takes a certain kind of person to flourish in this profession. For one thing, they need healthy hamstrings and knees. It's not easy getting in and out of the car 30 times a day. Patience is also key. So are comfy shoes and a positive outlook. (Think perma-smile, especially in the face of hearing “no”.) It helps too if they like coffee, since caffeine-induced enthusiasm can be enormously helpful while making the final sales pitch.

Most importantly, these special people need be able to put it all behind them. Because the next day, they'll hit the streets and start the process all over again…and again, and again, and again.

And that, my friends, is how hard it is to sell one case of wine.

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If you're a regular reader, or a regular blogger out there in blog ‘o2009 American Wine Blog Awards land, (also known as the blogosphere) you probably know about Tom Wark, the master blogger and mastermind behind Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog. This widely respected blog just announced the American Wine Blog Awards, an annual contest that recognizes the best in wine blogging across a wide range of categories: wine reviews, winery blogs, etc. Although, I'm not much of a contest person, I am hoping (secretly) that wilmaswineworld.com will place in some fashion. But we bloggers need you!

You can nominate your favorite wine blogs in each of the categories:



Best Writing on a Wine Blog
Best Single Subject Wine Blog
Best Winery Blog
Best Wine Reviews on a Blog
Best Wine Blog Graphics and Presentation
Best Industry/Business-Oriented Wine Blog
Best Overall Wine Blog

All submissions must be received by February 8 and will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges. (I'm not sure who, after all this is the blogosphere!) Following the judge's selection of four finalists in each category, the public and the judges will vote on the best blog in each of the categories.

Regardless of your choice, please take a minute to nominate and later vote for your favorites. Consider it a small gesture of recognition to those of us who faithfully type away in the wee hours of the night to shed light on such a fascinating product and industry.

Thanks and may the best blog win!

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Warning: If you're a snooty sommelier, please do not read!

I have a secret. It's not something you'll read about in Wine Spectator, nor is it likely that your most educated wine buddies will divulge this little tidbit. 

French champagne can resurrect from the dead even after it has been frozen. A few weeks ago, we celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. Since we don't know anyone who has been married for that long (to the same person that is!), it was definitely an occasion to celebrate. We headed to one of our favorite Sonoma County restaurants, The Farmhouse, and had an extraordinary meal. We ended up taking home a half bottle of champagne and threw it in the freezer for “later.” Well, later never came.  Lucky for us, the bottle remained frozen and intact, next to the waffles and vanilla ice cream.

Last night I stumbled across the long lost bottle. I reluctantly took it out and let it defrost. After an hour or so, I'm pleased to say my Monday night instantly became more festive. Believe it or not, the bubbles were still bubbly and the flavors still appealing. While there were a few “floaties” here and there, it was surprisingly tasty.

Now I'm not recommending you freeze champagne for later use. This can actually backfire, causing quite a mess. On the other hand, don't fret if you make the same mistake I did. As long as the wine has room to expand and because the temperature is cold enough to capture the bubbles in solution, you should be fine.

And, with the price of good champagne what it is, it's worth a try.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 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!

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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?

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Wine and Dementia

Wanted: Talented (Normal) Individual for Family Owned Winery

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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