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!!
The first Wine Bloggers Conference begins tomorrow afternoon in Santa Rosa. The conference organizers actually had to close registration at just over 170 attendees!
This will be my first trip out to the West Coast, so I’ll be reporting back on my impressions of the region as well as WBC attendees I’ll be meeting and my experience at the conference. This might seem funny, but I’ll be meeting Lenn Thompson at LENNDEVOURS blog for the first time in person. Do you know how we “met” in the first place? Via Open Wine Consortium. We discovered that we share a passion for telling the story of the NY wine industry and engaged in discussions solely via OWC, email and Twitter. And you probably know that this friendship has developed into an offer from Lenn for me to contribute to LENNDEVOURS as an additional voice for the Finger Lakes as the new Finger Lakes News Correspondent. It has been a great experience for me.
I will also have an opportunity to meet Tom Wark, Partner at Wark Communications, a wine marketing communications firm in Sonoma and very well-known wine blogger at Fermentation. Tom and I have also struck up a friendship and have been collaborating on a project that I will reveal down the road. How did I meet Tom? Earlier this year, I decided to research my idea of starting a business that would focus on Public Relations and Marketing for the wine industry, with a special interest in promoting Finger Lakes Wine Country and other wine businesses both locally and nationally. A Google search revealed Fermentation, a daily wine blog where Tom addresses issues in wine PR, culture, and wine politics as well as his personal experiences as a wine PR guy for almost 20 years. What better way to get an insider’s view of the business that I was researching than to read about the experiences of someone who has been in the industry for awhile. Back to how I met Tom. After devouring many of his posts, I saw a topic that a newbie like me could chime in on…and posted a comment including my name. I have followed Tom on his blog since then and have left a handful of comments. In one of the posts, Tom had revealed that he had been seeking Freelance Public Relations consultants for Wark Communications, so I then submitted my credentials and an email expressing my interest in working with him. A few months later, he had a need for extra hands on a project and contacted me about it. So we’ll also finally have the opportunity to meet this weekend.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to share my experiences of the power of social media. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the opportunities that I have had come my way because of dedicating some time to social networking. If you have been thinking about getting involved in some form of social networking, just give it a try. Do it within your own comfort level at first, and then start engaging. Give me a call if you’re unsure of how to get started or where. There are some valuable conversations going on out there that can help you promote your winery or solve a nagging business problem by finding a great new vendor…or even let you have a good laugh at the funny stuff going on outside of your winery’s doors.
I’ll be back in touch during the conference to keep you updated on how things are going. Tomorrow Lenn and I will be pouring Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Rkatsiteli during the Live Blogging session scheduled for 3:30 PM Pacific, 6:30 PM EST. Dr. Frank’s signed on as a winery sponsor for the session as outlined here and will have Rkatsiteli in front of the bloggers who will be tasting and blogging about their impressions of each of the 14 wines that were sent from sponsors as they go along. The 14 wineries that have signed up to pour live include:
- Bink Wines
- Boho Vineyards
- Clos LaChance
- Dark Horse
- Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars
- James David
- Kanzler Vineyards
- Killer/Angel Juice
- Pinot Evil
- Sean Minor Wines
- Small Vines Wines
- Twisted Oak
- Yellow & Blue
I’ll be back in touch soon with updates.
My husband Rich and I will be flying down to Atlanta to visit my parents and spend a couple of days in Savannah. We’re hoping to get into The Lady & Sons for my dad’s birthday dinner, so I’ll let you know what my impressions of the restaurant are if we are able to secure a reservation.
I’m also curious to try some Georgia wines, especially to compare them to the wines of New York. It will be interesting to see how readily available they are at retailers and grocery stores.
Will be back in touch soon and enjoy your week!