Archive for May, 2009

First Finger Lakes Wine (mini) Tweetup

Tweetup defined: a real world meeting between two or more people who know each other through the online Twitter service (source:

When:  Sunday, May 31st, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Where:  Sheldrake Point Vineyards to attend “Future, Present and Past Rieslings: A Vertical Tasting Experience” in honor of May is Riesling Month

Why:  for fun, to get together and explore wine with like-minded Finger Lakes wine geeks

I’ve had the idea to start a local wine tasting Meet Up or tasting group for some time now.  With a few more Finger Lakes wine industry members jumping into conversations on Twitter, I thought it would be fun to blaze forth with a Tweetup.  In this case, it will be a mini-Tweetup because the Sheldrake vertical tasting has limited seating, so for the next one we’ll work to include more tweeps (people on Twitter).  Ideas welcome.

Thanks to Tom Mansell of Ithacork blog for coming up with the Sheldrake tasting idea.  Watch Twitter on Sunday afternoon …you may see some live TwitPics and tweets.  More details on the next Finger Lakes Wine Tweetup soon.

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Family, Love, Wine Blog: What a Year It’s Been


Diane Letulle, Remy Charest, Robbin Gheesling and I at Wine Bloggers Conference

As a girl with a dream to bring together my passions for learning about the wine industry, its people and places and social media, I’m celebrating the one-year anniversary of my first blog post. One year ago, I didn’t know a soul in the wine business. I started devouring wine blogs and publications and most-importantly, joined the Open Wine Consortium on the recommendation of blogger and wine PR guru Tom Wark. It has been a year of wine events, tastings, classes, projects, obstacles and friendship. I have learned much, thanks to many of you who have stuck by me, rallied for me and advised me. I have grown to admire many of the thought leaders in this industry and the business world. See “Thought Leaders I Follow and Admire” in the sidebar.

And if this last year is any indication of how much fun, how challenging and rewarding this business is, I foresee pursuing it until I can no longer take a breath or communicate with you in some way (I wonder what the medium of choice will be by then!)

Thank you for returning to this blog, for telling me your stories and helping me to find my passion in life outside of my family and friends. I am happy and grateful to be a part of the wine community.

A slideshow of the highlights of my first year blogging and doing business. Cheers 🙂

First Online Wine Blogger Tasting: The Wines of Chile


I had the opportunity to participate in the recent online wine blogger tasting for the Wines of Chile.  The tasting included a live webcast moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant at Gourmet magazine.  Eight winemakers were  available via live webcast from Santiago, Chile…cool.  Michael led the tasting and asked each winemaker questions as we swiftly tasted through the eight wines.

There was also much activity on Twitter as the bloggers tweeted their impressions live.  The hashtag #winesofchile was used and the Twitter conversation was one of the highlights for me. Check out the tweets related to the tasting.  I did click to the Tweet Chat room to read and engage with the live tweets and minimized the winemakers and Michael in my browser, but listened to their conversation as I tweeted.

Key Takeaways:

  • Although not a replacement for in-person or group tastings, the Wines of Chile online tasting was a fun way to learn about Chilean wines, regions and the winemakers in a virtual group setting.
  • I enjoyed that the winemakers were available live.
  • The pace was rapid, I would have preferred a bit more time to taste and tweet about the wines.
  • Like some others, I was impressed with the 2008 Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Colchagua Valley.  I had no impression of Chilean Pinot Noirs going into the tasting, but liked the elegance of this one and Chilean Pinots will now go onto my radar.
  • Prior to the tasting, bloggers were actively Tweeting and updating Facebook statuses with a countdown to how long until the tasting began.  (“one more hour until Wines of Chile tasting!”)
  • Some bloggers posted pictures of their tasting items to Twitpic.
  • This tasting lends to positioning of the Wines of Chile brand as forward thinking because they demonstrated that they embrace technology, social media tools and wine bloggers.

One idea for a next step:

  • Create a Facebook Public Profile (fan page) for Wines of Chile with video of the tasting, videos of winemakers, tab with technical info including bottle shots and invite participating bloggers to become a fan and invite others.  Keep these excited bloggers engaged with the Wines of Chile brand.
    • Encourage blogger questions and have winemakers respond directly there
    • Create a page of links to blog posts about the tasting
    • Promote Wines of Chile events and tastings via Facebook events, targeting via location

There was a nice mention of the tasting in a round up story on  The article is titled, “The New Way to Learn About Wine:  Twitter.”   I’m not sure if live tweeting was a part of the strategy developed by the team at RF Binder, the agency representing the Wines of Chile, but it happened organically and was a very relevant part of the tasting.   Another fun thing was that my husband, Rich tasted along with me.  His palate is different than mine but overall he liked the wines with his favorite being the ’06 Los Vascos Reserve blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec.  Mine were the ’08 Emiliana Natura Sauvignon Blanc and ’06 Veramonte Primus, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Carmenere.  One of the first things he said to me the next morning was that the tasting was a lot of fun.  We’re packing up what’s left of our bottles for a trip to visit our good friends to taste through the wines again with them.

Still Not Utilizing Twitter and Not Sure It’s Worth Your Time?

twitter_follow-copyHow does 15% of a day’s sales measure in your book? Naked Pizza, a New Orleans pizza shop with an eye on national expansion, attributed 15% of their day’s sales to purchases made by their Twitter followers at @NakedPizza. Sales were tracked by asking customers how they came to call Naked Pizza for their pizza that day. To further enhance the campaign, Naked Pizza co-founder Jeff Leach took out a billboard near the restaurant advertising their Twitter handle… simple and brilliant!

AdAge’s Abbey Klaassen includes a quick list of tips for local businesses looking to use Twitter in her article, “Twitter Proves Its Worth as a Killer App for Local Businesses.”

If that hasn’t convinced you to put Twitter on your radar, check out cnet’s “When Twitter met food trucks.” Now you just need to brainstorm and implement a strategy that is true to your brand and gets that register ringing today.

Gary Vaynerchuk on Telling Your Own Story

I strongly agree with Gary on the changing PR landscape.  I embrace my role as an adviser  to my clients, not a canned pitch writer. I highly recommend that you interface with journalists and bloggers in the places where they prefer to meet and get to know you, nowadays that is via social media more times than not.  As a business owner, it’s in your best interest to humanize your communications with media, bloggers and industry influencers.  Provide resources, jump in and help your contacts from time to time.  Get to know them way before you need them to help you tell your story.  Become the face behind your brand.

Winery Resource Alert: The State of Wine Industry Social Media


More than likely, if you’re reading this post, you have an interest in gaining a detailed understanding of social media platforms and those that are most relevant to the health and happiness of your winery’s business. A group of the industry’s top thought leaders at VinTank, Derek Bromley and Tom Wark have compiled the first whitepaper specifically for the wine industry entitled, “The State of Wine Industry Social Media.”

The paper contains some tech-speak that may look a bit scary at first, but hang in there and read through to the end. These guys are in-the-know, have strong relationships in the wine industry with bloggers, traditional media and developers and seek to help you, the winery principal, to navigate and gain an understanding of the social media landscape. Facebook, Twitter, Wine Blogs, Wine Social Networks, Gary V and Wine Library TV are detailed specifically pertaining to their relevance to wineries and wine retailers.

Paul Mabray and team are eager to receive questions or input on the report and can be reached at: ADDRESS: 1250 Main Street Suite #270 Napa, CA 94559 • PHONE: 800.605.8265 • WEB: • EMAIL:

Or comment on the Tasting Room blog at

A special thank you to the VinTank team for mentions of myself, my client Andrew Kamphuis at Vin65 and senior strategist and wine blogger friend, Michael Wangbickler, on their thank you page.

UPDATE (5/12/09)

If you would like to listen to Paul Mabray discuss some of the key findings of the report, check this out

TasteCamp East-Which Winery Had Bloggers Lined Up to Buy?

Christopher Tracy and Allison Dubin lead our final tasting during TasteCamp East

Christopher Tracy and Allison Dubin lead our final tasting during TasteCamp East

There are a few key takeaways that left an impression on me after TasteCamp East on Long Island this past weekend. One of them is that I couldn’t help but notice that of all of the stops we made, there was one winery that managed to easily pry open the wallets of several participating bloggers (including me). The winery I refer to is Channing Daughters.

I discussed this briefly with some of the other bloggers and the difference is two-fold:  the wines are approachable in price, and the enthusiasm of partner/winemaker Christopher Tracy is contagious and makes you want to buy wine from him…lots of wine from him.

I didn’t expect to purchase much wine on this trip because I had flown in and stayed a few extra nights in Manhattan which meant lugging a large suitcase all over the city via hired car, Long Island Railroad, and taxi (you get the picture) but even that didn’t stop me after our visit with Christopher, partner/general manager Allison Dubin and their winery dog Remy.  I think that this is worth noting for those wineries who are looking to stand out.  Quality/Price ratio and a charming, funny, HUMAN winemaker who can enthusiastically lead a tasting in a comfortable and engaging setting.  That’s what sold me.  I’ll seek out the wines of Channing Daughters and they will move to my list of favorite wineries to purchase from and pay attention to.