Archive for January, 2009

A Special Thank You to My Husband, Rich


Sometimes I have to pinch myself just to be sure I’m not dreaming. Just about a year ago, my husband and I had a serious discussion about my work-from-home business plan. I was working on projects for a great client in the B2B and Technology public relations world, making a steady stream of income and couldn’t begin to complain about it. But sitting on our back deck in the middle of the Finger Lakes with so many wineries full of enthusiastic and passionate people just up the road, I kept thinking about them. How could I get involved and possibly even help to spread the word about the people and wines that I have grown to love? Should I give up a guaranteed monthly check to explore redirecting my business so that it melds my passions for the wine industry, the charming, down-to-earth people behind the wine and public relations?

Add to this the fact that my husband and I are dying to buy our first house together.  Oh, yes and Honey, I want to start off by establishing my name by providing resources and a few pro bono hours to causes I believe in and I want to utilize a client attraction mindset, not a hard sell of any kind.  Trust me, it will all work out and I’ll have great contacts who are more like dear friends who may become loyal clients.

Well, even though you may not hear directly from Rich, he is a strong supporter of our cause and spends many hours discussing and debating the hot topics of the region and its wine industry with me.  He has shown his belief in me and in the industry by fully supporting my dream to get involved and make a difference here.  For this I am forever grateful and I wanted to say thank you, Rich.  I couldn’t be happier to see this dream of ours as it has taken hold and I meet people face-to-face who are glad to see me and have warmed up to me as an outsider who came in and started making some noise in hopes that I could make a small difference and tell others about the wine and people of the Finger Lakes.  During this tremendously challenging time for the state of New York, it has become that much more important to us to contribute to our local economy instead of just complaining about it.   In the wake of that journey, I have met so many fantastic, helpful people throughout the wine world…a tremendous bonus.

I now find myself with several new clients and plenty of prospects who are like-minded and all exude enthusiasm and passion that is contagious.

I am truly blessed with support from Rich, my family, friends and clients.  Thank you, all!!

Finger Lakes Wineries Earn 90’s in Wine Spectator…and not for Riesling!

winespectatorLast week, three wineries in the Finger Lakes received the much-coveted rating of 90 in James Molesworth’s latest Tasting Highlights of Wine Spectator. Congratulations to our entire family of wineries on this distinction. More specifically, the wines that were featured and garnered 90’s are:

DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes Reserve 2007 Score: 90 | $25

Very juicy and forward, with enticing apple, anise, fennel seed, fig and spice notes that stay fresh and lovely through the finish. Mouthwatering acidity brings you back for more. Delicious. Drink now through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 387 cases made. —J.M.

RED NEWT CELLARS Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes Sawmill Creek Vineyards 2007 Score: 90 | $36

Very tight still, this mouthwatering version offers racy acidity that keeps the watermelon, kiwi, green apple and fig notes rippling through the long, bright finish. Textbook bitter almond and bitter orange notes frame it all nicely. Drink now through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. A new bottling sourced from longtime grower Jim Hazlitt’s vineyard. 250 cases made. —J.M.

STANDING STONE Vidal Finger Lakes Ice 2007 Score: 90 | $25 / 375ml

Ripe and sweet, with lots of maple, honey, ginger, persimmon and spice notes that are nicely rounded. Shows length on the finish, with hints of golden raisin and white chocolate. Delicious. This wine has a terrific track record. Drink now through 2012. 832 cases made. —J.M.

I was lucky enough to attend Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Pasta and Wine event this past weekend and took the opportunity to grab up an ’06 Red Newt Gewurztraminer, so now have an excuse to go back for the ’07. I think that it says alot that these high ratings came to Gewurztraminer and Vidal Ice varietals and not Riesling. Although I love Riesling and the acclaim that it has brought to the Finger Lakes, 90’s for other varietals speak to the diversity of quality, consistent wines that are now being produced here by some of the top winemakers. Whether you agree with the 100-point rating system or not, these ratings are extremely important for a wine’s sales and attractiveness to distributors and many consumers.

Okay, I’ll put my pom-poms down now. Just couldn’t help myself!


Preparing for the PALATE Showcase in Finger Lakes Wine Country

Organizers of PALATE

Organizers of PALATE

2008 certainly helped to elevate the image and awareness of the emerging world-class wine region here in the Finger Lakes. But now that we are on the stage, what do we do to keep the spotlight here and turn interest into increased wine sales?

I’m strongly in favor of creating opportunities to get to know the faces, wines, food and art behind the buzz. Events that are intimate, upscale and personal can introduce newcomers to the region and enhance relationships with those already happy to call themselves raving fans. As I’ve mentioned before, the people who make up the industry here are its biggest asset in my opinion.

Next month, I’m proud and terribly excited to be a part of the organizing committee on PALATE: A Wine, Food and Art Showcase in Finger Lakes Wine Country…more specifically here in my city of residence of Corning, NY. I was invited to contribute my ideas to the event by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Corning’s Gaffer District and the ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes. Our challenge is to bring all of the ideas for the showcase to life on a shoe-string budget and represent the best offerings of the industry here.

Some of the highlights include:

More to come. It will be fun to capture the excitement of the industry and present an opportunity for wine lovers to meet and experience all that there is to offer here in our wine country. I feel that this event will attract a new breed of wine lover to the region, those who are in the “core drinkers” demographic described as those who drink wine the most, usually several times a week or at least 3 times a month, are responsible for 88% of wine sold in the US and tend to be better educated, more affluent and with more disposable income. (From Wine Marketing & Sales by Paul Wagner, Janeen Olsen and Liz Thach) If you’re a winery who has been looking for opportunities to get in front of these “core drinkers,” this event may be the way to do that. Ultimately, we would love to drive attendees up to the tasting rooms, so we’re exploring ideas to lure them up to your wineries. Let us know what special opportunities you have to offer to PALATE attendees during that week and we’ll help get the word out for you.

Winery Marketing: Where’s Your Winery’s Media Site?

Fox Run Vineyards Winemaker Peter Bell

Fox Run Vineyards Winemaker Peter Bell

One of the things I absolutely love about the wine public relations business is that there is so much to learn.  Therefore, I love to incorporate teleseminars and webinars into my work week as much as I possibly can.  Yesterday, during a Bulldog Reporter teleseminar on blog pitching best practices, several bloggers revealed their likes and dislikes for receiving information to be considered for posts on their blogs.

One of the panelists made mention of how he is looking for information and he’s looking for it quickly.  He said that if you can provide what he needs to compose a blog post and include videos/pictures, quick facts and contact information, your chances of being blogged about increase dramatically. (As a blogger myself, I couldn’t agree more)

This blogger panelist gave an example of a great media room that delivers just what he’s looking for.  The Chrysler Media Site provides a drop down list of items called “What Do You Need Fast?” that includes images, bios, fact sheets,videos, logos, press kits and several other things that make it quick and easy for a blogger or journalist to pull updated, relevant information on the company.

Here’s the truth.  Bloggers and journalists are pressed for time, need fresh content and they need it now.  If you provide them with what they’re looking for and save them the time required to track it down or ask for it from you, they will appreciate it and they will see that you respect their time and have the foresight to provide them with the information that they want.  They will like you for it and they will pay more attention to your pitches in the future.

Here’s a wine industry example of a media room from Israeli Wine Direct.  Notice the links to their logos, fact sheet  and blog/podcast.  And their media contact information is clearly shown.  I would recommend adding some videos that are easily embeddable and reinforce your winery’s key messages and branding, bios with photos and a nice assortment of other images.  For a winery, wine technical sheets and images should be added.  And keep this information fresh and updated.  The bloggers on the call mentioned a study result that revealed that blog posts without photos or video are very often skipped over by readers, so they are hungry for them.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to put someone on this if you’re looking to increase your chances of receiving coverage on blogs and in the media.  Of course, then there’s the task of continually serving up creative and compelling “news hooks.”  But that’s for another post.