Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

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.

Academy of Wine Communications-FLX: Invitation to our next meeting

Attendees to Our Info Meeting at Heron Hill Winery

Attention Finger Lakes wine PR & marketing professionals:  This is an open invitation to you to our next meeting on Thursday, 12/10/09.  Hope you can join us!  UPDATE 12/7/09: Meeting location is at Ravine’s Wine Cellars, 14630 State Route 54,  Hammondsport, NY 14830. Please RSVP to melissa (dot) dobson (at) before 12:00 noon tomorrow if you’ll be attending.

Hi all,

For those who haven’t discovered us, the Academy of Wine Communications is a group of wine communications pros based in Napa, CA (history with a developing chapter here in the Finger Lakes. Our goal is to bring wine communications professionals together to share and discuss hot topics and the latest developments in the wine PR & marketing industry. Additionally, the AWC strives to provide resources to wine writers and bloggers. We held our first small info meeting last month and now moving forward with our next meeting. We’re planning monthly meetings through April and then will reassess meeting frequency during busy season.

The next meeting of the Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter is set for next Thursday, 12/10 from 12-1:30, meeting location is still TBD. If you have or can suggest a winery (preferred) or restaurant (that serves a lot of local wines of course!) where we can either bring in our own lunches or order lunch, please reply back ASAP. Also, if you plan to attend, please email me back by Monday to RSVP so that I can plan for the appropriate venue.

Here’s what we have lined up for our next meeting:

* Hot topics

* Recent wine PR/marketing challenges

* Best/worst practices

* Blogger relations

* Chapter Officers

* Meeting calendar through April

* Open floor (as time allows): share current initiatives, recent events ie Spit & Twit, books, resources etc. (please feel free to bring any books, websites etc. to share)

Don’t forget, you can list yourselves on the AWC site’s wine PR directory

I’d love your help in spreading the word to anyone involved in Finger Lakes wine PR and marketing interested in attending our next meetings. The main home page for the AWC is, check out the resources tab for: Job Board, Useful Links, Social Media including blogger relations tips. We’re also updating on the Academy of Wine Communications Facebook Fan Page. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome there too. (Will be closing down the AWC-FLX fan page very soon, so please join the main AWC page)

Hope to see you all soon.

Thanks so much!


melissa (dot) dobson (at)

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!!




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  🙂

A Special Thank You to My Husband, Rich


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!!

Happy Halloween to You!

I wanted to wish you and your family a very Happy Halloween!  As you can see, our dog Karma is ready for the trick-or-treaters tonight.

Support a Great Cause: Turning Wine into Food

My friends at The Wine Spies are teaming up with the San Francisco Food Bank and Napa’s Humanitas Winery to help turn wine into food this weekend.  For each bottle of Humanitas 2006 Pinot Noir that you purchase over the weekend of June 21st and 22nd via The Wine Spies web site, Humanitas and The Wine Spies will each donate at least $1.00 per bottle sold to the San Francisco Food Bank.  You’ll also receive a 20% discount while supporting the Food Bank.  For more details on the fundraiser including coupon codes, please visit

Help by turning wine into food this weekend!

Note:  The Humanitas 2006 Pinot Noir will not appear on The Wine Spies website for purchase until Saturday, June 21st.

UPDATE:  The Wine Gives online wine sale to benefit The San Francisco Food Bank has been extended through Wednesday, June 25.  Additional winery participants include Iron Horse Winery of Sebastopol, CA; Michel-Schlumberger of Healdsburg, CA and Pengwine of Chile.