November 2010 Archives
Ok, this is the funniest thing. I actually fell for one of those blatant outright PR pitches I was griping about recently. Sent to me by a publicist at Wine Enthusiast Magazine, (does anyone see the irony in that??), I actually took time to open the email, click on the link and take action...and now I'm even blogging about it! That's because it's a contest that is effortless and simple. And, if you are a budding guitar player like me, or merely an old rocker with a hint of nostalgia for classic rock and roll, you can enter for a chance to win:
A trip to Wine Country AND a signed electric guitar by Sting!
This was one of the craziest incentive combinations I've seen to date. But, who wouldn't want a few free nights in Napa and a collector's edition guitar to gather dust in the corner of your home. So I fell for it hook line and sinker. And, now I'm receiving even more useless emails!
Of course, none of this has anything to do with wine. And that's how a lot of wine marketing is becoming these days. As our industry gets more crowded and competitive, we are adopting advanced marketing practices long used in other industries. From special incentives, co op marketing deals, value added promos, holiday tie-ins, seasonal offerings, etc. etc. etc., just about anything goes these days. We are becoming experts in the tactics of guerrilla marketing and warfare, because quite simply, we have to. It's that competitive out there. What I find interesting, is even the mainstream wine magazines are doing it.
Back to the contestÂ
It is FREE to enter. Visit http://www.wineenthusiast.com/winesthatrock for more information and official contest rules. All entries must be received by
P.S. If you win, I get the guitar!
Ah, Thanksgiving - one of my absolute favorite holidays. There are so many reasons to love this rich American tradition. The house is full of wonderful smells. Family and friends gather for a full day of food, drink and merriment. I especially enjoy watching The HUSBAND work his magic in the kitchen. Each year, he seemingly tries to outdo himself from the year before.
As for me, I usually play the role of Sommelier. It's always exciting for me to pick out what we are going to drink from our cellar. Sometimes, days before Thanksgiving, I'll find myself day dreaming about what magical wines we should select. In my view, there are never any wrong choices. I've read countless articles about what does and does not pair well with turkey and the traditional accompanying side dishes. For me, it's simply about pulling corks and setting out the bottles for everyone to enjoy.
I am a self-admitted bubbles person all the way on Thanksgiving. My absolute favorite champagne of all time is Billecart-Salmon, a medium-sized Champagne house in Mareuil-sur-Ay, France. It's one of the few remaining family owned champagne houses left in France. I suppose I feel a sort of kinship with them. Not to mention, The HUSBAND and I have enjoyed several bottles during magical moments in our 28 years of marriage. When the bubbles are gone, I move on to a glass of white or perhaps a red Â whatever tickles my fancy. We always have our wine on the table too Â usually a bottle of Dry Chenin Blanc and one of our deliciously fruity Zins, one of my favorite Turkey/cranberry sauce/red wine pairings. (Caution: be sure to avoid Zinfandels high in alcohol.) But there are other wines too. Pinot Noirs from the Russian River and Anderson Valley are my favorite. We might have something unusual like a Riesling from Germany or a Cotes du Rhone from France. Perhaps Spain might even show up on the dinner table. We're not country biased - everyone gets their fair share! This is a particularly good time to open any magnums or large format bottles that might be collecting dust in your cellar. What are you waiting for?
Try not to worry about the perfect marriage of food and wine. If you keep one simple tip in mind, you'll be fine. Think fruity with fruity. In other words, the sweeter tendencies of traditional Thanksgiving fare such as cranberries, sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkins, etc. naturally lend themselves to fruitier styles of wines. Just be sure there's a good backbone of acidity so the wine isn't overly sweet or cloying.
The bottom line is be bold. Pull what you enjoy - something you've been thinking about opening for a long time and share it with your close friends and family. After all, that's the best way to enjoy wine - in the company of those you love.
I just came across this article written 23 years ago and simply had to share it with you. In a world that is ever changing, it's comforting to know that some things stay the same. In this case, it's the heart and soul of our winery. This story sums up everything we're about here at Dry Creek Vineyard. Please read and know that we are carrying on a great family tradition. Have a great weekend!
"Sometimes friends ask me, how can I know the wine I buy for dinner will be good? Well you can't be 100 percent certain... But there are a number of things you can do to increase the odds in your favor. One of them is to find a winery, in the style you enjoy, then, if you want a sure thing, simply buy that wine.
No experiments tonight, thank you; I'm going for old faithful. Not that there isn't time for experimenting, but we're talking about sure things here. And one sure thing I've noticed over the past decade or more is Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma County. Through the years, Dry Creek has produced wines of great consistency, wines stamped with an individual style, and wines that are, for the most part, very drinkable.
I first became attracted to Dry Creek because of its Sauvignon Blanc, which is made in the big, fruity, grassy, herbaceous style. Then I discovered the Zinfandel - brambly, prickly on the palate, easy to drink yet with a charming style that is very memorable.
In both of these wines - and in the rest of Dry Creek's line - owner and winemaster David Stare seems to be attempting to push the varietal character of the wine as far as he can, yet without twisting the wine out of balance. Dry Creek wines are a bit like watching a first-rate chef at work. It all looks so easy and so effortless that one forgets the depth of the art behind it."
|I've been halfway around the world and back. Literally. On October 7, I left for Rome, to meet up with roughly 30 Dry Creek Vineyard wine club members for a cruise along the Italian and Croatian coastlines. I had crossed my t's and dotted my i's to make sure that I could in good conscience go on this "business" (albeit monkey) trip. By the time I ended up in Europe, my neck was so knotted up and I had such a raging headache that I thought I would explode. Furthermore, The Husband and I were barely speaking to each other. Great I thought. Just what I need, to be stuck with my business partner bobbing up and down in the Mediterranean pretending to be all happy happy and nicey nicey while we attempt to be the consummate wine country hosts. Thankfully, the time away and beauty of our surroundings quickly removed any stress and strain we had brought with us from home. And, we quickly settled back into our happily married selves.
We met up with fellow club members at our designated gathering spot near the Coliseum. There's something surreal about this corner of the world, where gladiators dueled, Romans conquered and the crossroads of civilization existed for so many ancient cultures. But, I was feeling anxious. What if no one got along? What if they turned out to be a bunch of dweebs? What if we had an incessant complainer in the group?? Happily, none of these nasty thoughts came true as we boarded the transfer bus that took us to our beautiful sailing ship, the Windstar.
This is the third time we've hosted a wine cruise. Admittedly, it's a fantastic excuse for a vacation but it also serves as a great way to build loyalty, get to know our customers and break bread with new friends. It didn't take long for us all to relax and enjoy each other's company. We were a diverse assortment of individuals from all over the country, bound together by a love of Dry Creek wines and an adventuresome spirit. It doesn't get much better than that, now does it?
In the preceding days, we continued to bond, enjoying the most amazing scenery and romantic ports of call. By day, we were all about sightseeing, covering as much ground as we could. By night, we wined and dined, drinking single vineyard wines that we had shipped in to accompany our dinners. (18 cases in all!)
I have never enjoyed myself more thoroughly.
Our itinerary covered the ports of Capri , Taormina/Sicily, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, the Croatian island of Hvar, and Venice. It's hard to single out what was best; we had so many incredible experiences together:
Sipping Cabernet at midnight while watching Stromboli spew its molten lava every 20 minutes precisely like clockwork. Truly magical. Strolling the streets of Kotor, the ancient seaside city of Montenegro, learning about the complex and colorful history of this "fairy tale" city. Discovering the forgotten way of life on Hvar, one of the prettiest islands I've visited with its hand terraced slopes of lavender and vineyards. Visiting a small winery in Croatia, learning about the simple yet endearing wines these vintners have produced for centuries. Note: after tasting Plavits Malie for the umpteenth time, I'm still not convinced it's at all related to Zinfandel.
There are just too many memories to share them all. All I can say is if you're looking for a great vacation idea, please join us on a future trip. We've already been asked to host another in 2011 and are looking into a couple of possible itineraries. The Greek Isles and Istanbul are possibilities as is Tahiti. (Stay tuned...)
As with all great vacations, those first days back are when you try desperately to hang on to that vacation glow. I'm still clinging to it. Especially now that I'm sitting at the airport waiting for my plane to depart for New YorkÃÂfor my last business trip of the year-hooray!
But this time I feel different. I feel happy. I feel refreshed. I feel full of gratitude for the many travel companions and loyal customers who I can now call friends.
Hopefully I'll discover more of the same in the Big Apple!
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