July 2011 Archives

Dear Readers,

Announcements have been made and it's time for a round of applause for the winners of the 2011 Wine Blog Awards. While the blog you're reading didn't make the list (boo hoo, weep weep, sigh, sigh...) a hearty congratulations goes out to all the lucky winners! I know first-hand the commitment and time it takes to be a dedicated wine blogger. Thank you for your efforts. You ARE making a difference in the world of wine!


And the winners are...

Best Wine Blog Graphics, Photography, & Presentation: Vino Freakism

Best Industry/Business Wine Blog: Fermentation

Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog: Enobytes

Best Single Subject Wine Blog: New York Cork Report

Best Winery Blog: Tablas Creek

Best Writing on a Wine Blog: Vinography

Best New Wine Blog: Terroirist

Best Overall Wine Blog: Fermentation

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I am feeling a tad blue. I am also feeling a tad left out. Because I didn't get "the call." I was secretly hoping to get some kind of a call or clue that I was desperately needed to accept an award at the 2011 Wine Blog Awards which will be announced Saturday evening at the annual Wine Bloggers' Conference in Virginia. I kept postponing making my reservations for attending the conference because frankly, I have a million other priorities here at the winery that are more pressing. Add to the top of that list, the fact that my 13 year old son Spencer wants to go to a mountain biking camp this weekend and well, I just couldn't justify a trip to Virginia right now. As much as I'd love to expand my knowledge about social media, network with other wine bloggers, and learn about wines from the Virginia region, it just didn't factor into a high priority for me...unless, that is, I got "the call." Which I didn't. So, I'm making the assumption that the winner of the "best winery blog" will be bestowed upon some other well deserving person, of which I'm honored to be among the chosen finalists.  Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can begin to sigh.

There's a lot of that in the wine business. Sighing that is. Because, there's always some challenge you're faced with; problems in sales, problems in production, problems with Mother Nature, The Family, whatever. Rarely does a day go by when everything goes just perfectly. So, I've taken to trying to meet and chat with at least one tasting room visitor per day. It's my new form of attitude adjustment. I figure these folks are on vacation so they must be having a better day than me! I love getting up from my office, walking outside and strolling up to a picnic table to say hi. Sometimes I just want to make sure they've had a good time. Other times I inquire about their favorite wine. I often enviously eye their picnic fare thinking hmmm, I really must get out and do that picnic thing myself sometime. People seem to enjoy meeting me and mostly, I experience first-hand the wonderful feeling that comes with making and selling a product that makes others happy. In these moments, I remember why I do what I do and how fortunate I am to be in this business, no matter how many challenges we have.

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There's an old saying in business, "you're only as good as your people." That is why I take the hiring and interviewing process so seriously whenever I'm in a position to add new employees. So, I've been spending a lot of time doing just that, analyzing roles and responsibilities, revising job descriptions, screening, interviewing, questioning, listening, observing, testing, tasting, etc. It's a time consuming process and one that is very hard to delegate or take shortcuts on. (Come to think of it, there's little you can take short cuts on in this business!) It usually occurs at the end of the day and well into the evenings, since there's too much else going on to cram a proper interview into the normal work day.

We have several open/new positions. Michael Longerbeam just joined us, heading up our wine club programs. He's a savvy marketer with years of experience in direct marketing and wine club management. I'm also looking for a new marketing administrator, and we have an important winemaking position in the cellar that is open as well, not to mention an opening on our Board of Directors.

Some days I feel like all I do is literally sift through resumes, meet with applicants, check out references, etc. It doesn't make for the most rewarding work, but one that is so vital to building an organization of passionate, knowledgeable, and likeminded people.

I often wonder how larger companies do this. I know human resources is involved, but there's nothing like looking someone in the eye when determining if they're a good fit. My secret weapon is always shoes. You can tell a lot about someone by the shoes they wear. For some, sensible and basic is the name of the game. Others demonstrate a sense of savoir faire simply by the choice of footwear they select for their tootsies.

click photo to enlarge
I've gotten pretty good at "reading" a shoe. Scuffed but current in style, means someone cares about the output of their work but is simply too busy to deal with the task of shoe shining. Ultra casual, borderline athletic in nature, means they might have trouble staying focused on the job and they'd rather be out on a jog or bike ride anyway. High heeled and daring means they're either out to impress (always a good sign during a job interview), they were born with a high tolerance of pain, or they're just plain silly and irrational, 'cause no one should suffer more than they have to during a job interview with Wilma.
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Meet the newest member of our winery staff. She's smart, she's pretty and best of all, I can hug or kiss her anytime I want withoutTaylor Wallace - click photo to enlarge getting sued! 'Cause I'm her mom.  

Welcome Taylor Love Wallace. Our daughter recently graduated from high school, and is now working part time over the summer for our human resources dynamo, Sally.

Taylor is doing a hodge podge of administrative tasks and boy, talk about bringing back a flood of memories...

I can vividly remember being the same age and working for Lynda Honeysett our office manager at the time. Like Sally, she was very kind and loving, taking me under her wing to show me the ropes. I thought I was such a big shot learning about credit memos, and helping her (this was before the winery had its first computer) hand enter debits and credits into the general ledger. It was the late '70s and there was another youngster working here at the time, Gary Emmerich. Gary is our Director of Sales Administration and is still with us today. He and I sort of grew up at Dry Creek together and I have nothing but the upmost respect and gratitude for his many contributions and long tenure with our family business. I can't imagine the place without him.

It makes my heart warm thinking about those early days, and how another generation of youngsters is sticking their toes in the water at Dry Creek. Who knows, maybe Taylor will end up running the place someday. If she does, watch out everyone. This is a girl with shrewd negotiation skills, a keen mind, and leadership qualities up the wazoo. Frankly, she makes mom look like a pansy. Her favorite bit of advice for me?  "Why don't you just fire them?"

Good grief!

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About this Archive

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

June 2011 is the previous archive.

August 2011 is the next archive.

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