March 2009 Archives
I've been spending a lot of time on the road lately. Literally in my car, or as the case is now, on an airplane heading to the East Coast for a sales trip. Market work or road trips are a necessary evil in the world of wine sales. For most wineries, it's practically a requirement if they're going to stay in business.
These trips are designed to introduce our new releases, solidify distributor relationships, attend trade tastings, call on accounts, and present our wines to as many people as humanly possible. And, of course, all the while I will attempt to be enthusiastic, upbeat, and utterly charming day after day. (This in itself can be a challenge.) Generally these trips include a lot of evening events followed by early morning wake up calls to head on to a new city. It's probably not unlike the life of a rock star except you're not treated (or paid!) like one.
I bring this up not to whine or complain, but to shed another dose of reality on the true life of a vintner. Road trips or market visits, as we call them, are a vital part of a winery's marketing plan. The trouble is everyone's doing it. In the olden days, wine distributors were thrilled to have a supplier visit their market. People were thirsty for California's new quality wines and accounts welcomed us with arms wide open. These days it's a bit of a different story. Distributors are inundated with supplier visits from the 1000s of brands they represent from all over the globe. And the accounts have more wine available to them than they do actual customers. Navigating through this maze to reach the end consumer takes persistence and patience, trust me.
So I'll be out of commission for a while. Hitting the streets in pursuit of the holy sale. Wish me luck I've been on enough road trips to know I'll need it!
|I'm often asked if my children will take over the winery someday. I usually don't know how to respond. On the one hand, I know how good it would sound to simply reply Yes, of course. Junior already has a developed palate and is planning to go to UC Davis to study enology and viticulture. But then again, I've never been very good at stretching the truth so I usually just nod and say I dunno. Because I just don't know. Neither of our kids have much of an interest in winemaking, vineyards, wine sales or marketing, or frankly anything else that is remotely related to this industry. In fact, my hunch is that they actually see the lifestyle and demands of running a winery as a boring waste of time.
Until now. My 11-year-old son recently shared his latest plan with me. He has gone through many phases in his short life from wanting to be a sportscaster to a professional fisherman. But now there's evidence that he might actually want to work at the winery someday. This news is simply too good not to share! The Grand POO BAH himself (my father) ought to be thrilled, as am I. Of course, a lot can happen in the next 10-15 years. But I now have a glimmer of hope and actual evidence that there might be a third generation interested in carrying on the torch at Dry Creek Vineyard.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 American Wine Blog Awards! Sadly, Wilma's Wine World did not make the final cut, but I am very proud to have been a finalist in two separate categories. I'd also like to thank all of you who voted on my behalf. I was overwhelmed with your warm wishes and encouragement, and can't thank you enough. It means a great deal to me folks. So, while I work on my next blog post, you might want to check out this year's winners. They deserve our recognition and hearty congratulations. Because blogging is hard work, trust me!
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