Wine Blogging Wednesday #70: 2009 Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha

Gabriella and Ryan’s post inspiring wine bloggers to get creative and seek out a unique Spanish wine or one from an unheard of region for the comeback edition of New York Cork Report Executive Editor Lenn Thompson’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, fueled my determination to get my hands on a bottle or two that would expand my basic understanding of wine from Spain.  I didn’t find what I was looking for at a large retailer in Ithaca, so headed to my favorite wine store, Red Feet Wine Market and Spirit Provision.

My friend, Amy Cheatle who leads event and tasting room marketing for Damiani Wine Cellars, also works at Red Feet and directed me to the shop’s manager, Empar. She quickly scanned the Catavino post on my Droid X and walked me through a few select options.  Several of the wines Empar recommended sounded interesting, but the keywords that  got my attention and had me leaving with 2009 Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha : cool-climate red, small production, Vinos de Madrid DO (one I haven’t explored).  Bodega Bernabeleva produces just 3,300 total cases currently, will be 100% certified biodynamic as of this 2009 vintage and is a rare find outside of Madrid.


Vintage-stamped cork

Label features the modern-day Bernabeleva estate symbol

Tasting Notes:

I decanted the wine for several hours and found cherry syrup and brown sugar on the nose. After it opened up a bit more in the glass, I got a gentle whiff of pungent flowers–hyacinth came to mind.  Color is black cherry with a slight blue hue on the edges.

Medium-bodied and slightly chewy with powdery minerality, the finish is silky and elegant. What surprised me about this wine is how much it changed as it opened up upon swirling and intermittent tastes.  My husband, Rich also tasted with me and he picked up plum flavors.

Find this wine:

2009 Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha available via The Rare Wine Co.

Five Easy Winter Projects for Winery Marketers

It’s November, post-Harvest and going into slow season for winery marketers.  Thought I would put together a short list of projects that may make your life easier in 2011 with a little time put in during the winter.

1.  Claim your winery on location based services and review sites. Even if you don’t use the LBS platforms or review sites, some of your customers are using them.  Best case scenario is that you’ll be aware of their check in while they’re with you and seek them out to say hello and offer them something special.  Bring out a tank or barrel sample, line up a taste of your late harvest or reserve wine.  Thank them for checking in and sharing their check-in with their friends.  Same for a review.  Seek your reviewers out and thank them, offer them a special experience next time they visit.  Tell them to ask for you by name.  There are lots of other things you can do to create a connection, these may just help get the juices flowing.

2.  Create promos to drive customers to your winery

3.  Explore opportunities to feature personalized tastings via CellarPass and VinoVisit winery reservation systems. The beauty of these reservation systems is that they allow you to target key customer segments to provide them with a special, premium experience.  You have control over the times you’ll offer the tasting or event.  You can place a widget on your winery homepage to direct website visitors to your CP or VV reservation page.  Both services offer Facebook plug ins for reservations.

4.  Post your winery’s 2011 events

5.  Add your wine to Somewhat time-consuming but will push info to several channels online.  Ensures that your online info is accurate.  If adding your full portfolio is difficult, add your top-sellers first.

What else can you recommend to wine marketers to tackle over the winter?


Twitter @MelissaDobson

Thank You From the Bottom of My Heart

I’m sitting here in my new home office with a fresh perspective and a touch of the misties, as in misty-eyes.  Rich and I have been moved into the place for just over a month and it has made a huge difference in how we feel about things.  I now recognize that we were both feeling a little gloomy, a touch uninspired in our old duplex rental.  There wasn’t much natural light there but  we made the most of it, clinging to the dream of finding a house we would love here in the Finger Lakes.  Friends and family from Buffalo encouraged us to move back home and we considered it, thought it would be best.  But we’re both guided by “signs” and we’re a short 3-hour drive from family.  Once we toured this house and property, we knew what to do. We’ve truly found happiness here.

We’re both new to the region, having moved here without knowing anyone in the Fall of 2006, right after our wedding.  Nearly four years later, I look back and understand and feel grateful, happy, content.  I left a new career in PR that was fast-paced and demanding.  I absorbed all I could in the few years I worked in Manhattan but somehow knew the fast pace, although exhilarating, wasn’t for me long-term.  What I loved most about my experience with agency life was the talented, forward-thinking, super-creative people I got to share an office with.  I loved the buzz of people constantly moving by my cubicle, that incessant creative energy.  But it had to come to an end.  My husband was seeking a new position as a school administrator and we eventually landed here in the Finger Lakes. The funny part is I had just accepted a new position, what would have been a step up in my career at a boutique pr agency specializing in lifestyle and travel PR.  Two days later, Rich landed his first assistant principal’s position after a long  job search.  We made our move and I had to decline my new position.  The agency owners understood.

Back to the present.  Here we are finally in a house full of light, with a spot I couldn’t be happier with for my home office.

I’ve missed a bunch of events, postponed the last Academy of Wine Communications meeting, required a lot of patience from my clients as we pushed to close and move into this house in a short period of time after finding it.  I won’t act as though this all happened on our own, I have our family and many of you to be thankful for.  Thank you to my clients, past and present, for the opportunity to work together. Special thanks to Andrew Kamphuis and the Vin65 crew for being so instrumental in growing my little business.  Your loyalty and referrals mean more than I can tell you. Many thanks to the people I’ve met in the local Finger Lakes wine industry who inspired me to create my own business and have made it easy to feel comfortable here.  Thank you to my awesome circle of wine bloggers and industry influencers, I’m incredibly grateful for the stimulating info and personal connection that makes working from home feel like a day at the agency.  Have a great weekend and open something special tonight.

TasteLive Participants: How Are You Engaging and Posting to #TTL ?

TasteCamp East: Voracious Wine Bloggers Taste Throughout the Finger Lakes

Ravines Wine Cellars Morten Hallgren sharing '07 Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling and wife Lisa's skillet breakfast pizzas

This past weekend, I was among a group of wine bloggers who participated in the 2nd TasteCamp East, this year in the Finger Lakes.  The local wine industry is the inspiration for this blog and my business as I’ve mentioned to you before.  I had nothing to do with the selection of our region as the host of this year’s TasteCamp East, but of course I was pretty ecstatic that it was chosen from several other regions by TCE organizers at The New York Cork Report.

Tom Higgins of Heart & Hands Wine Company

I consider many of you my friends and part of a significant, vibrant and beautiful industry in New York State.  I have also developed friendships with several wine bloggers since attending the Wine Bloggers Conferences and meeting many of them via Open Wine Consortium, Twitter and Facebook. This year’s TasteCamp East brought these two worlds together and I enjoyed hearing the unvarnished feedback and impressions of the region and its wines from the perspective of wine bloggers, craving info on the world of wine and winemaking intricacies and eager to educate their audiences about their discoveries.

Fox Run Vineyards winemaker Peter Bell

Posts and photos started appearing pre-TasteCamp and several bloggers posted live updates and pics via their mobile phones, bringing followers along with us as we navigated through the region, lake by lake, meeting with and tasting an array of wines and food selected for us.  I noticed excitement from some of the winery owners and staff pouring for attendees because of the keen interest and knowledge level of the wine bloggers.  It’s not every day that over 30 wine enthusiasts travel to the region from several states and Canada with pen, wine journals and lots of questions!

Anything Wine's John Witherspoon

Most of the wineries greeted our group with enthusiasm, but the ones who stood out most, from what I’m hearing so far, are the ones who brought their stories front and center, educated this wine savvy audience on their winemaking philosophy but also remembered to share a bit of their personal selves and beliefs, including their struggles and challenges.

Sam Argetsinger of Argetsinger Vineyard

If you missed out on following along, check the New York Cork Report posts tagged “tastecamp” which will be updated with a list of the bloggers posts and check out FLXTwits and the #tastecamp hashtag’s results on Twitter Search.

Thank you to Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson at the New York Cork Report for organizing TCE and all of the sponsors and wineries for hosting us.  This was my husband Rich’s first wine blogger weekend as my date and we enjoyed seeing the region from a new perspective.

Wineries: the agenda that Lenn and Evan created for us is a good guide for the types of personalized, intimate experiences that your more advanced wine customers would enjoy.  Vertical tastings, wine and food pairing and a BYOB in a casual gathering place (ie on a boat ) went over well this weekend.  Bloggers, any other types of events that you’d like to see more of?

TasteCamp East:Bloggers Arrive in the Finger Lakes

Bryan Calendrelli, Niagara Editor at The New York Cork Report

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I’m fortunate enough to be included on the list of wine bloggers and writers who get asked to attend TasteCamp East, organized by Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson at The New York Cork Report.

Last year, Long Island Wine Country hosted our group and although Rich and I lived in NYC together for a few years, I hadn’t heard much about LI’s wine region while living there.  Reading Lenn’s posts familiarized me with the key wineries and varietals.  But to meet, taste and explore first hand along with a group of friends who live and breathe wine…that’s the part I love most.

So here we are, the night before the 2nd TasteCamp East and it will be in our new neighborhood…Finger Lakes Wine Country.  The people and wines in my own backyard.  The wineries who have signed up to pour for TasteCamp East attendees recognize the opportunity to start or enhance their relationships with savvy, enthusiastic and influential wine bloggers.  They’re not turning their backs or questioning the “authority” or “credibility” of wine bloggers. They’re not holding out because wine bloggers aren’t traditional wine writers.  They see this group of wine bloggers as the wine influencers that they are.  Influential over 5 or 50,000– opinions of trusted peers and like-minded enthusiasts is increasingly important to millennials and others skeptical of marketing messages.  If a wine blogger is willing to devote their weekend time (um, it’s Mother’s Day weekend to boot)  pay for travel to a region and immerse themselves in what it has to offer, both positive and negative, these are the types of wine lovers that any winery should welcome.

The fact that over 30 wine blogger enthusiasts are coming here to our region is huge.  Many other regions are lining up to be the next hosts for TasteCamp East.  As a business person who wholeheartedly loves the people in this region and tosses and turns regularly trying to make a difference here, I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep tonight.  In my heart, I know that our region’s winery personalities will shine and embrace the first-hand feedback they’ll receive.  My recommendation to participating wineries:  take every bit of feedback from the attendees, both positive and negative, and look at it.  Is there some consistency to what you’re hearing?  While you have their attention this weekend, be yourselves, make a personal connection,  show an interest in them.  Find out where this group of bloggers is active and keep talking with them…not AT them.  Oh and have fun with them and show them what makes you special. They’re eager to learn about you.

Social Media Quick Tip: Introduce Your Twitter Team

Cork'd Twitter Team Page Showcases Each Member as "Who's Talking?"

As you know, social media engagement is all about personal touches.  Remember this when thinking through your social media presence, including Twitter.  As much as possible, introduce and humanize your Twitter team.  Here are a couple of great examples of  brands who have added special touches to their Twitter strategies, going beyond a standard Twitter presence to introduce and promote their Twitter teams.

The Capital Grille

A simple, dedicated Twitter page for The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes invites web visitors to engage with George on Twitter.  The Capital Grille’s main navigation bar also includes a button linking to George’s twitter profile.


The team at Cork’d, an unpretentious wine consumer review site, designed a Twitter background that shows “Who’s Talking” from their company’s Twitter profile @Corkd (see above).  Each Cork’d team member signs their initials at the end of their tweets to let followers know which of the four of them tweeted.  I liked this so much that I recommended it to my clients at Vin65 and we implemented it onto our new @vin65team Twitter page.

It excites me to see brands embracing the opportunity to engage with their customers and clients on Twitter by adding these types of personal touches to their marketing strategies.  Have you seen any others that you like or have you implemented some into your branding?