June 2011 Archives

I am grinning from ear to ear! Wilma's Wine World has been selected as a finalist in the "Best Winery Blog" category for the 2011 American Wine Blog Awards.

I am so incredibly honored. There are some great blogs in the world of wine and to be considered among the very best is extremely gratifying. But, the contest isn't over yet.

Please cast your vote! Public voting ends Monday, June 27 (Ahem, that's only 4 days from now, so please don't procrastinate!!) and the winner will be announced July 23 at the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

Click on this link to cast your vote: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CNTK5P8. I promise it will only take 10-15 seconds of your time. In addition to Best Winery Blog, you can also vote for Best New Blog, Best Writing, Best Single Subject,www.wineblogawards.org Best Industry Blog, Best Wine Reviews, Best Overall Blog, and Best Graphics, Photography, and Presentation.

I was a finalist in 2009. Then, in 2010 I missed the nominations because I didn't make the 52 posts per year requirement. This past year, I busted my behind to exceed the 52 post minimum which ironically now, has been eliminated. So, I would REALLY LOVE TO WIN THIS AWARD! Thank you for helping me out.

Thank You! Gracias! Merci! Danke! Grazie! Obrigado! (Just thought I'd throw in a little Portuguese to keep you wondering...)

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I absolutely love this time of year.  The grass seems greener, the sky seems bluer, and the wine tastes delicious.  Maybe it's just aClick photo to enlarge - Concert touch of summertime fever but I doubt it.  Living and working in wine country is a lifestyle like no other.  This time of year, there is an endless amount of abundant sunshine and activities galore.   And that got me to thinking - I live and work so close to nirvana (and I am certainly blessed to do so) but what about folks traveling to wine country for the first time or making a short weekend or day trip?  Talk about overwhelming!  Hundreds of wineries, events of all kinds, shopping, restaurants, and outdoor activities - the list of things to do are endless.  How can one possibly narrow it down to a more manageable list? 

So, without further ado, here are some of my basic wine country 101 pointers that I hope will make your visit more enjoyable. 

  1. Take your time.  It's not a race. Enjoy yourself and map out a reasonable itinerary.  I recommend that people never try to visit more than four wineries in one day.

  2. Stop and eat lunch.  You'll be glad you did.  Lots of wine on an empty stomach never yields good results.  The Dry Creek General store across the street from our winery serves terrific sandwiches and other nibbles and or course, we have beautiful picnic grounds.

  3. Consider your route.   Don't try to start in Sebastopol and end up in the Dry Creek Valley.  It's too much driving  and you don't want to spend a beautiful summer day in wine country in your car!  If you come to the Dry Creek Valley (which must include a stop at Dry Creek Vineyard - shameless plug - yes I know) then plan to spend the day here. 

  4. Look for something different to visit while in wine country.  For example, DaVero has a killer place to taste olive oil and Dry Creek Peach and Produce is a fantastic stop for fresh peaches right off the tree.

  5. Make a dinner reservation and stay awhile.  In case you didn't already know, Healdsburg is a culinary mecca.  The restaurant scene is outstanding with not less than a dozen world-class eateries to choose from.   There is affordable wine country casual all the way up to 2-star Michelin rated.  You can't go wrong!

  6. Take advantage of some local fun and flair.   All summer long, on Tuesday evenings, almost the entire town of Healdsburg shows up at the plaza for music from 6pm to 8pm.  Yes, it's busy and crowded but talk about an incredible piece of small town charm!  Families, friends, co-workers; you name it,  enjoy wine, food and casual conversation.   It's a blast.  Also, there is a Saturday morning farmers market behind the Hotel Healdsburg that is fantastic!

Whatever you decide, I hope your plans will take you to Dry Creek Vineyard this summer.  If you do plan to come, give us a shout ahead of time - we always like to have something special for our friends of Wilma!

Happy wine tasting!

Bill Smart, Director of Communications

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I woke up to something completely new today, blue skies and sunshine. Hallelujah! This is the first we've had in days. Actually, I can't recall the last time we've had so much rain late in the season. Everyone has been talking about it, and trust me, it hasn't been good.

But, here at the winery we're not letting it get us down. As a matter of fact, we're gearing up for a great summer with the 2010 release of our flagship white wine, Fumé Blanc. She's all dolled up in a snazzy new package thatclick photo to enlarge flaunts a clear bottle and a completely redesigned label. The sailboat imagery is still very prominent but it's been freshened up for a more modern, youthful feel. Of particular note is the innovative QR code on the back label. With a click of your smart phone, you can view a short video about the making of this wine and the history of Fumé Blanc here at Dry Creek Vineyard. You can hear founder (my father) Dave Stare tell his story and meet the next generation too...even if you're in a grocery store in Arizona, or a restaurant in Boston. Pretty cool, eh?

Who would have known that technology like this exists? When we first started the project last year, we were among the first. I'm now seeing QR codes pop up on everything from flowers at Home Depot to furniture advertisements in House Beautiful.

What's particularly amazing is that we can "redirect" the link (currently it points to the YouTube video below) to somewhere else. So, for example, if Robert Parker proclaims this wine "a stand out of the vintage" and a "95 pointer", (not sayin' it's gonna happen, just putting it out there!) then before you can say, "let me buy a case!", our brilliant marketing team can redirect the link to a PDF flyer of the review. Since Parker hasn't reviewed our wines in years, I doubt that will happen. But, you get the point.

Watch for more QR codes on upcoming releases. But most importantly, watch for the availability of this wine in a location near you. It's brilliant. Really. The cool weather of the 2010 vintage brought out the racy lemon/lime flavors, bright acids and herbaceous nuances to make a wine that is oh so refreshing, you will almost think it's summer.

Which thankfully, it finally is beginning to resemble.

Click to watch our Fumé Blanc video!
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My jaw dropped about 3 feet last night. I was attending the annual Wine Spectator Big Bottle party (a schmooze fest of mass proportion!) and learned that our good friends and longtime neighbors The Seghesio's, have sold their family winery. To hear that this historic, 4th generation winery of Italian descent, which has survived some of the toughest periods in American history (World Wars, the Depression, a Recession, the Civil Rights movement, and even a catastrophic fire that nearly destroyed the winery in 1996) has sold out to yet another corporate entity whose name I can't remember because they all sound alike, is well...rather sad. On the one hand, I'm happy for Pete and Cathy, Ted, Camille, Cousin Dave, and all the other family members I've known over the years. They have worked tirelessly to modernize their winery and become a leader in our industry. Their turnaround from a mediocre jug wine producer in the 70s and 80s to an upscale and elite producer of some of the most respected wines in California is nothing short of miraculous. I admire them greatly and have enjoyed watching their success. But, I can't help wonder if selling the family business had more to do with a growing dissent among the family than a desire to retire rich or live the good life after so many years (and generations) of extremely hard work.

It makes one realize how RARE the mid-sized family winery (like ours) is becoming. A dying breed, really. And, it's one that if not honored and supported by loyal wine enthusiasts could become even rarer. Because this business can slowly suck the life out of you. While there's a notion that it's all fun and games (or sipping and spitting as the saying goes) the truth is that making and selling great wines year after year, is very difficult. Take the growing cycle. That alone can make grown men weep, as I've seen a few do lately with the late season rain storms we are having. Then there's always the threat of phylloxera, eutypa, and a host of other farming maladies that can occur. Once the grapes arrive at the cellar, there's a plethora of winemaking and cellar practices that can go awry if just the right person isn't shepherding the process every step of the way. It takes enormous attention to detail and a meticulous approach to winemaking right up until the time of bottling. Actually, even the bottling process can foul things up if a bad cork is used or the wine is stored or shipped improperly. Then think about the marketing and selling of wine. Try finding a distributor these days that will make your brand a priority. Good luck! The four P's of marketing (product, price, place, promotion) are just the tip of the iceberg for seasoned marketers. Throw in public relations expertise, social media, hospitality, special events, e-commerce, online marketing, consumer direct sales and endless amounts of sales and promotional travel all around the country and you are only lightly scratching the surface of what is required to sell wine. Of course, you can't forget about the day to day operational challenges: financing, planning, forecasting, environmental and political issues, staffing, human resources, etc.  Quite simply, the work is never done.  You just hope you have the energy to keep on going and the right people to help take you there.

Did the Seghesios just get fed up and burnt out over time? Did they get an offer they simply couldn't refuse? Or did they get to a point where they were tired of the family squabbles (known as FAMILY BS) and wanted a break. Whatever the case, I'm driven more than ever to assure we don't end up in the same boat.

Long Live Dry Creek Vineyard!!!  

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2011 is the previous archive.

July 2011 is the next archive.

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