Archive for July, 2009

2009 Wine Bloggers Conference: Fewer Words, More People Pictures

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

There’s been so much buzz about the Wine Bloggers Conference in Napa and Sonoma, CA this year.  With close to 300 attendees (and 75 waitlisted) the WBC has been a dominant topic of conversation for months now among many in the wine community.  There have been several posts already as I’m late to the game.  But I had to show you the Wine Bloggers Conference in pictures.  Recognize anyone?

Jeff Stai aka El Jefe-one of the best social brand builders in our industry

Jeff Stai aka @eljefetwisted-One of the Best Social Brand Builders in Our Industry

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Jeff Lefevere Diving In Before Live Blogging

Jeff Lefevere Pouring for Dinner

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

For truly exceptional blogger photos, see Bricks of Wine’s Eric Hwang’s photostream.

Wine Bloggers Conference 2009-Live Wine Blogging Impresssions

Okay, a couple of quick impressions for you from the Live Blogging segment.

2008 Fish Eye Pinot Grigio NV:  a bit astringent on the nose, described as “light, fruity wine”, Central Valley. $6.99 for 750 ml, also comes in a 3 L box.  This is recommended by the winery representative for newer wine drinkers, for fun, mass appeal.  RS .70%

Pinot Evil Pinot Noir (France):  promoted as quality, value and eco-friendly.  Decanted but still tannic, light in style IMO.  Premium wine cask category grew by 30% in 2008.  Good for entertaining, put in carafes for guests.

2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: 100% malolactic fermentation, aged in American Oak for 12 mos. This is marketed as an adult treat (cupcake).  Dark cherry in color, toasty on the nose, smooth rounded flavors.  $13.99 or on special for $9.99.  This is a good value wine to seek out.

Snows Lake Two Blend:  250 cases each of 2 varietals.  72% Cabernet Sauvignon 28% Cab Franc.  French Oak and New French Oak. Dark, dark in color smooth and supple for young fruit.  Retail $45. Available in NY/NJ as well as many other states.

2007 Line County Petite Sirah Lake County: Oak on the nose, described as afull-bodied Petit Sirah, but I found it to be more medium-bodied. Would pair well with many dishes similar to pairing ability of Pinot Noir.  Nice value at $10.

2007  Cline Ancient Vines Mouvedre: little oak (25% new French Oak) so as not to mute the fruit.  Mostly Mouvedre. Mouvedre was very popular in the ’30s but has almost disappeared. $16.00.  Peel back label.  This is my first Mouvedre and I will explore more of them.

2007 Tandem Manchester Ridge Chardonnay: family operation, Manchester Ridge.  Paired with Old Wente.  Skin contacting for 32 hours.  I got lemon on the palate.

2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay:  Australian winemaker formerly with Penfolds.  Very light straw in color.  190 cases.  Single label.

2006 Clif Gary’s Improv Syrah: dark cherry color, toasted oak nose.  Tasting a bit young though should round out with age or decanting.

2007 Benovia Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir focus, Russian River AVA, 370 cases, $55.  Minimal intervention, cold soaked.  Unfined, unfiltered.

2007 Lion’s Pride El Molino High School Russian River valley Pinot Noir: high school students have a winery permit .  100% of proceeds go back to the high school Ag program.  A labor of love. Celebrity winemakers donate time and materials to make the wine.

2005 Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Rodney Strong.  Sugary cherry on the nose like a cherry tart, hillside fruit.

Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter


I have recently joined a group that I foresee as one of the future.  The Academy of Wine Communications is a group of forward-thinking wine and food communications professionals interested in collaborating and shaping the future of the industry.  The AWC is fueled by the passion of my colleagues, Michael Wangbickler of Balzac Communications and Caveman Wines blog who is the Executive Director and Lisa Adams Walter of Adams Walter Communications, Assistant Director.  The AWC is built on the vision of original founders Paul Wagner, Harvey Posert and Sam Folsom.

The AWC has roots in the Napa/Sonoma region but has its eyes on networking and creating chapters throughout the U.S. and beyond.  The first meeting of members and prospective members took place on June 30th at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where this video was shot.  Michael walks attendees through the history and vision of the AWC…and specifically calls out the Finger Lakes region as one that we’re looking to create a vibrant chapter in.  I can think of several wine PR friends here that I would love to see get involved in our chapter’s development: the Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter.

As you know, wine public relations and communications is changing rapidly and it’s challenging to keep up with the latest developments and best practices.  Social media is a powerful way for wineries and other wine businesses to engage and tell their stories to their prospective customers and current customers.  There is a unique ability for wineries to personally respond to inquiries which is a tremendous relationship builder for them beyond tasting room interaction.   By getting involved with the AWC, you can network and collaborate with other wine public relations and communications people throughout the national membership chapters and share insights on what’s working and what isn’t in new media, specifically in the wine and culinary industries.

We will also work to become a resource for bloggers and journalists who are looking for industry experts and creative content ideas.  Social media allows wine PR people to get to know bloggers and journalists on a more personal level and keep attuned to their preferences and needs.  The AWC is using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,  slideshare  and video sharing platforms like Ustream to update members and prospective members about the group’s activities.

It’s with this type of forward thinking, collaboration and sharing that an up-and-coming region like ours will move forward and gain more visibility…and respect.

Gate 8 Changed My Life

Jet Blue Gate 8-Buffalo Niagara Int'l Airport

Jet Blue Gate 8-Buffalo Niagara Int'l Airport

There are certain places that remain important to us, no matter how busy life gets.  One of the most important to me is Jet Blue’s Gate 8 at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.  I was reminded of this last weekend while flying  from Buffalo to NYC.

Let me explain.  Remember the great blackout in the Northeast in August of 2003?  If it hadn’t occurred, I would never have met my husband, Rich at Gate 8.

At the time, Rich was living in Manhattan and working as a guidance counselor at a middle school in the South Bronx, NY.  He had flown home to Buffalo to spend some time with his family while on summer break.  His dog and companion Sam had just died while they were both in Buffalo.  With an open-ended ticket on JetBlue, he suddenly felt the need to return home to NYC and booked his return trip to depart on Thursday, August 14, 2003…the day of the Northeast blackout.

After speaking to JetBlue, he was rebooked on a flight departing the next morning.

I had been in a go-nowhere relationship and decided that it was time to say good-bye.  My boyfriend at the time lived in New York City and I had just graduated from SUNY at Buffalo and was looking to move ahead in my life.  As I debated with him on the phone about the visit, I waited to press the “purchase” button on the JetBlue website until we had stopped arguing. I booked the flight from Buffalo to NYC as a farewell trip, welcoming the thought of some alone time afterwards.

The morning of our flight was a bit chaotic.  Flights in and out of NYC were delayed by several hours to make up for the flights that were grounded the previous day.  I nervously paced in the gate area debating whether or not to board the flight with such an unpleasant task to attend to on the other end.  Little did I know that I had caught the eye of one of my fellow passengers who was waiting in the gate area.  When we were finally asked to line up to prepare to board the flight, I noticed a handsome, smiling stranger next to me in the line.  We muttered a few words about the delay to each other, smiled and were separated by the mad rush of  impatient passengers.

After making my way to my assigned seat, I sat in the middle of three seats and got comfortable.  To my surprise, the handsome stranger I had briefly spoken to sat down next to me on the aisle…he was assigned to the seat right beside me!

Needless to say, the handsome stranger was my now-husband Rich.  We chatted for the one-hour flight and after exchanging numbers, he flew back home to Buffalo to take me on our first date that next weekend.  The rest is history.

photo by Fisher Creative Image

photo by Fisher Creative Image

Call it fate, luck, a blessing…all I know is that sometimes when you’re least expecting it, through many twists that may have prevented an event from occurring, what’s meant to be becomes reality and life changes in an instant.  Needless to say, Rich and I are both big fans of JetBlue and their seating system  🙂