Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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.

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Happy 2010 from Family, Love, Wine!!

Frying Cheese Pierogis for Christmas with my little sis

Wishing you all of the love, success, happiness and new wine discoveries in the New Year.  I hope to continue to evolve both my business and the content here to bring you more consistent and helpful info.  I’d love to connect and help you with questions via Twitter @MelissaDobson, on Facebook at facebook.com/MelissaDobsonPRMarketing , or via email at melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild (dot) com.  See you soon!

Very best to you always,

Melissa Dobson

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you’re rushing around today, getting ready to gather with your family and friends for Thanksgiving tomorrow, let me stop you for just a moment to say thank you.  I sincerely appreciate your interest in my posts and the fact that you continue to return here, even though my posting schedule is oftentimes sporadic.  This blog houses my passions, both personal and professional, and being a bit of a creative soul, passion oftentimes comes in spurts.  I plan to continue to improve the content here as I learn and grow and I hope that it helps and entertains you.

Pictured above are the bottles I’m bringing along for this Thanksgiving weekend.  The 2008 Red Tail Ridge Barrel Fermented, Estate Grown Chardonnay is a gift for my sister to congratulate her on a big promotion she just got.  Anthony Road Tony’s White is for those who enjoy a bit of sweetness in their whites and the 2008 Bloomer Creek Reserve White Riesling blend will accompany Thanksgiving dinner.  When I select wines to share, I tend to think about the style preferences of those I’ll be popping the cork with, not just what I prefer.  I enjoy mixing it up, bringing some of my favorites and new discoveries. What are you bringing to share over the holiday?  (Disclosure: I purchased all of the bottles shown)

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!!

Melissa

 

 

Seneca Lake Wine Touring on a Beautiful Fall Day

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Cynthia, Janelle and I at Red Tail Ridge Winery

It’s not often that I have the opportunity to have a “girls weekend” like I used to before I met Rich, and I definitely miss my girl time.  (Don’t worry, Rich is well aware of this and was brave enough to offer not only to host my friends for the weekend, but also to drive us for our wine tour on Saturday  🙂 )

It really is a blast to get together and explore the beauty of the region along with the wines and especially to see who likes and dislikes each of the wines we taste together.  The only things I knew about my friends Cynthia and Janelle’s wine personalities was that they both dig Sokol Blosser’s Evolution, an Oregon State produced, stainless-steel fermented  blend of nine grape varieties: Muller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and that they’re both partial to drinking California reds ranging from Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon.

We ventured out on what was supposed to be a rainy, windy Saturday afternoon but turned out to be sunny and warm, starting at Red Tail Ridge Winery.  The first thing we noticed was the privacy and beauty of the winery setting.  It’s set back from the road and the tasting room is small and intimate.  This was my first visit to Red Tail Ridge and also my first taste of their wines.  Our group was partial to the whites over the ’07 Estate Grown Pinot Noir and I explained to my friends that the style of Pinot Noir here is much different than from other regions and that with their palates being accustomed to West Coast Pinot Noirs, a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir would be of a unique style that they may or may not enjoy.

Our overall favorite wines were the ’08 Estate Grown Semi-Dry Riesling (1.8% RS) and the ’08 Semi-Sweet Riesling (4% RS) and I mentioned in jest that I’m one of those wine drinkers who professes to prefer dry wines, but in fact I like a bit of sweetness as long as there’s nice structure, balance and acidity which both of these Rieslings have.

Our day included stops at Anthony Road Wine Company from which we posted pictures to our Facebook pages. Anthony Road Wine Company is among our favorite wineries and we enjoy their reds and whites across the board and always highly recommend them to newbies seeking Finger Lakes winery recommendations.   We agreed that the value discoveries to please a crowd were Tony’s White made of the Cayuga White grape ($8.99)  and the new 1.5 liter offering called PN II Red Table Wine (around $15), from pinot noir grapes that are the second selection of the sorting process.  I told the girls that although I’m enmeshed in the wine industry and love and appreciate special bottles like anyone else, I’m truly an everyday wine drinker in that I’m driven to find wines to enjoy of a high QPR and save my special bottles for sharing at get-togethers or to celebrate with.

We also visited Glenora Wine Cellars, where we discovered that Cynthia much prefers sweeter reds and doesn’t like sparkling bruts.  This is where Janelle and I disagreed with her and both chose ’07 Pinot Noir Rose’ and newly-released ’08 Merlot.  We had an incredible view of Seneca Lake from the back tasting bar and we had a blast watching Cynthia grab up every pair of Santa Pants wine holders they had out on the floor.

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Our last stop was to Fulkerson Winery.  We’ve consistently been treated very well each time we’ve tasted at Fulkerson and Vincent is one of our favorite red hybrids in the region.  The tasting room is spacious and beautiful with bright sunlight streaming in the large windows.  We had the opportunity to say hello to John Iszard, Wine Sales and Marketing Director at the winery and, of course, the topic of interest among my group of Buffalonians and John was football.  We “admitted” to our love for the Buffalo Bills and I wished him luck in cheering for his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It’s just this type of banter and low-key conversation that I have come to cherish among the members of the Finger Lakes wine community.  During our day, we spoke to a group of out-of-town tourists who are regular visitors to the region.  They reiterated the importance of wineries selling not only their wines but the experience of each winery and their backstory.  More on that in a post to come.

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  🙂

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

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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 🙂

Happy Holidays!!

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Karma, Rich and I wish you and your family a truly joyous holiday season, leading into a prosperous new year.  Thank you all for your support this past year.  It has been an amazing year because of you!!  Now go and grab a glass of your favorite wine (Finger Lakes of course!) and toast with us  🙂