November 2012 Archives
There aren't too many pats on the back at the top. Not too many "well dones", "great work", or "thanks for a job well done". It's just assumed that the boss man, or in this case, the boss lady doesn't really need positive reinforcement like the rest of the troops. Thankfully, I've always been extremely self motivated. I get my kudos from watching projects come to fruition, receiving feedback from our customers, and reading wine reviews that are positive. Helping my staff develop and watching teamwork in action is also a big warm and fuzzy feeling for me because I know I've made a positive difference in the lives of others.
So when it was brought to my attention that the legendary James Laube, Senior Editor of Wine Spectator, mentioned my name in a December 15 article on the Class of '72, my heart burst with pride. It was just six years ago that I sat down with him to share my vision for our family winery. I told him where The Husband and I wanted to take the business and the improvements we were making to bring our wine quality and business practices to an entirely new level. In fact, that's when he encouraged me to start this blog - to chronicle the life and times of a "wine country insider".
Wow. Now, he's acknowledged the work we've done by actually including Dry Creek Vineyard in his story--the only winery from Sonoma County. Furthermore, he feels we make "an assortment of excellent reds and whites". I'm immediately inclined to share it with my Pop. Because deep down inside, we're all trying to get our parent's approval, right? I'm no different. I hope he'll swell with pride as much as I am right now. Ah...it feels good. Rest assured, I won't let it go to my head though. I'm not like that. But just for a minute, as I prepare for Thanksgiving, I'm feeling mighty happy and proud. And thankful - very, very, thankful.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And, I hope someone tells you "well done" too!
Throughout the year, we've been talking a lot about our 40th anniversary. It has been a big focus of our marketing efforts and has pretty much dominated 2012. But, I realized in the middle of the night last night that I haven't bragged much about it on this blog. Plus, I haven't shared with you the cool new video we made highlighting the occasion.
First, let me say-I'm really proud the winery is celebrating 40 years of family winemaking in the Dry Creek Valley. We have been through a lot (and I mean a LOT!) so this milestone is very near and dear to my heart. I literally grew up at the winery, as did several other people still in our employ, and we've seen the wine industry grow from the growth and glory days of the 80s and 90s, to the slug fest of international competition it has morphed into nowadays. I've seen the dreaded neo-Prohibitionists be replaced by a nation of wine-friendly folks with a fascination for the grape. Tourism and tasting rooms have become big business. Distributors have become wholesale behemoths with far too many brands competing for far too few slots on the retail shelf and restaurant wine list. Winery travel is still essential. Good press and high scores are helpful. Producing high quality wines is non-negotiable.
But the real key to success is the ability to stick it out. Persistence and patience are vital. And at the end of the day, it has to be a labor of love. You simply have to make wines you are passionate about sharing with the world. How they end up on the dinner table is the hard part.
Oh yeah, and a good dose of humor helps too.
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