Archive for the ‘NY Wine’ Category

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?

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

WBCridesharers

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 🙂

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.

First Ever TasteCamp EAST To Explore Long Island Wine Country

tastecampeast-logo

If you’re my friend on Facebook or read LENNDEVOURS regularly, you probably have heard about the upcoming and  first TasteCamp EAST event that has me writing this to you from Midtown Manhattan.  I came in a day early to be sure that I don’t miss any of the fun.

Since getting back from the Wine Bloggers Conference last fall, many of the East Coast bloggers in attendance have been “harassing” Lenn about taking the lead and organizing a reunion for those of us on the East Coast so here we are, thanks to Lenn.

Not only am I looking forward to touring and tasting the wines of Long Island and having fun with my fellow bloggers, but now I see that May is rose’ season throughout Long Island wine country...yes, I love rose’ almost as much as Riesling, so there’s yet another reason to be here.

I plan to blog when possible, but also look for photos on my Facebook profile as we go along.

Report: American Association of Wine Economists-“Modeling Perceptions Of Locally Produced Wine Among Restauranteurs In New York City”

Manhattan's BAR VELOCE uploaded from BAR VELOCE's flickr stream

Manhattan's BAR VELOCE uploaded from BAR VELOCE's flickr stream

I was just alerted to this paper by Twitter friend Tish of WineForAll.com. The abstract summary of the paper written by Trent Preszler and Todd M. Schmit for American Association of Wine Economists reads,

“Poor perceived product quality, an inadequate sales force, and intense competition from wines produced elsewhere are common reasons cited for why New York wines have not achieved broad acceptance in the New York City (NYC) market. NYC restaurant owners, sommeliers, and chefs were surveyed regarding their perceptions and purchasing decisions of wines grown and bottled in New York State. Factor analysis was applied to examine the structure of interrelationships among key indicators of product perception, and an ordinal logistic regression model was used to identify the characteristics of restaurants that show a strong propensity to adopt local wines. The results indicate that a NYC restaurant’s type of cuisine does not affect its propensity to adopt local wine, nor does a restaurant’s desire to offer a large, geographically diverse wine list. The perceived collective reputation for a wine region’s excellence in one particular grape varietal was found to be the most significant factor in the probability of adoption of local wines in NYC. An important implication of these results is that being local is not enough, and New York winery stakeholders could establish a more prominent presence in NYC by emphasizing their collective reputation for particular grape varietals.”

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Wines produced in New York (NY) have traditionally been shut out of the upscale New York City (NYC) market. Nearly 75 percent of gross revenue at small independent NY wineries is earned directly from consumers in the winery tasting room
  • Market impediments for premium NY wines could be underscored by the long-standing association of NY with high-volume jug wines made using native and French-hybrid grapes.
  • Price is another factor, with lingering doubts by consumers that local wines can justify the same prices as imports.
  • Sommeliers experience wine differently, using intrinsic cues such as flavor, aroma, and color to guide buying decisions, and are driven by different economic motivations.
  • The most important factor influencing wine purchase decisions from this sample of upscale NYC restaurants was the wine’s “Quality for Price Point.”
  • Factors of relatively less importance included “Personal Relationships” that related to personal relationships with wholesalers/distributors or the winery/winemaker , as well as wholesaler/distributor wine recommendations.
  • The absence of strong NY wine sales in NYC is not necessarily due to a predominantly negative image of the product quality, nor to high prices. Instead, low sales in NYC can likely be attributed to the lack of any specific image at all. The regional brand identity of NY wine is not strongly defined because it is not explicitly communicated, and therefore is not universally understood by those who set trends in the culinary industry. A coalescence of marketing goals and principles among NY winery stakeholders could make a difference in this regard.

But wait, with all of the acclaim that Finger Lakes wine, especially Riesling, has garnered this past year, will we see an increase in the adoption of local wines in New York City in the coming years?   A strong, focused effort to communicate a world-class wine message is being made by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association and the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. (Disclosure:  both are clients of Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing)  Although I have mentioned the locavore trend as one that may help to gain a foothold in the trendy, upscale NYC market, this paper states that “it is simply not enough to base a marketing platform on being local unless it is accompanied by strong associations with excellence and focused production priorities.”

Communicating with sommeliers requires a separate, focused strategy.  This article in Sommelier Journal was a nice one to begin educating them about the region.  Perhaps some follow up with NYC sommeliers is in order, and may be on the agenda already.

It seems clear that the wheels are in motion with communication strategies being executed to elevate the image of the Finger Lakes wine industry and Finger Lakes Wine Country.  As my friend, Michael Wangbickler at Cave Man Wines Blog recently stated while we were speaking about communications strategies, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Bringing the Wines of New York to the Wine Bloggers Conference

032When Lenn Thompson, Publisher and Editor of LENNDEVOURS blog, and I decided to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma last month, the wheels in Lenn’s head started turning, looking for an opportunity to get our beloved NY wines in front of a group of wine bloggers from around the country and beyond sometime during our gathering. He asked me to help him to gather a selection of wines from the Finger Lakes AVA and have them shipped out to our wine blogger friend, Russ Beebe of winehiker witiculture, the official blog for californiawinehikes.com who took great care of them for us. The tasting was structured as a casual, and self-guided overview of NY wines with Lenn opening the bottles and placing them on the countertops of the kitchen area at the center of the gathering of around 40 bloggers who were invited. As Lenn outlined in his post about reactions to the New York wines, it was the end of a long day with many wines already poured during the day’s earlier events, so this casual setting was well-received. For reactions to specific wines, please see Lenn’s post and watch for updates on Open Wine Consortium.

034Thank you to all of the wineries who submitted their wines for the tasting. A recommended next step would be to follow up with some of the bloggers in attendance with additional wine submissions for their review (for those who accept submissions), from the comfort of their homes, now that they have had an overview of NY wines.  Feel free to contact me directly if you’re interested in discussing this strategy.

Dr. Konstantin Frank was one of the winery sponsors of the Wine Bloggers Conference and a review of the submitted 2006 Rkatsiteli is posted on my new friend, (and fearless WBC chauffeur) Remy Charest’s blog The Wine Case.

Cheers! From Melissa’a Desk

Week of 10/27/08:

  • First I must apologize for missing a couple of weeks of my Cheers! updates. As a new solopreneur, (solo entrepreneur) I’m still navigating just how to keep my passion for making Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing a successful and resourceful business in line with my personal time with my husband and the rest of my family and friends. One of the reasons I created a home-based business is because I found that what makes Rich and I happy is to have me attend to appointments, errands and packing lunch for him and cooking dinner most nights along with creating a viable business promoting an industry that I truly love. Anyway, I’m still learning how to manage it all. And I have you to thank for keeping me busy with new challenges and projects. I feel very lucky for being embraced by my local wine community here in the Finger Lakes as well as by my group of wine-loving, wine-blogging friends throughout the country. Thank you!
  • Big, big news with Wine Specatator’s James Molesworth choosing to head our way to Finger Lakes Wine Country for his Fall trip instead of his usual choice to visit the Rhone. He includes his impressions on his WS blog. Some of the key takeaways from the two posts I’ve read to date include:
    • There is “a new breed of winery in the region-small, quality-oriented and committed to vinifera grapes.”
    • Ravines Wine Cellars, Fox Run Vineyards, Anthony Road Wine Company, Shaw Vineyard and Standing Stone Vineyards all impressed for their own reasons as outlined in the posts.
    • There is “a growing trend of attention to detail in the region-detail in the vineyards.”

    These are exciting times for the Finger Lakes wine region. On that note, Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars has been named the greatest wine producer in the Atlantic Northeast region for the fifth year in a row. Five of the ten producers listed are from New York State.

These are just a few of the exciting recent developments in the Finger Lakes. I have a feeling that I’ll be kept very busy keeping up with news to come…

Cheers until next week,

Melissa