Fun and Balance

  • Millennials & Varietals

    From this months Wine Spectator online, comes this concept of a no-varietal generation. Interesting enough that we in the wine business should probably take pains to think about and let it percolate in.

    "Red blends in particular, most notably those coming from California, have seen a boom in recent years, both in volume and diversity, as Wine Spectator sister publication Market Watch reports. In years past, blends might have been identified as a Cabernet-Merlot or Shiraz-Grenache; now they bear names like Apothic's "Dark" or "Crush" and Ménage à Trois' "Silk" and "Midnight" that hint at a style. These popular brands, in the $15 and under range, have developed a solid Millennial customer base.

    At a higher price point, and possibly attracting the older and more affluent subset of the generation, are wines like The Prisoner and Orin Swift's California reds, Machete and Abstract, which take a similar approach of not putting the grapes front and center. "[It] allows us the freedom to not be constrained by a single varietal, affording us the opportunity to make the best wine possible and maintain consistency from vintage to vintage," said Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney, who launched both brands before selling them, respectively, to Constellation and E. & J. Gallo, who have been expanding them. Phinney believes that while young wine drinkers do want to know the grapes, their focus is more on the quality of the wine, and that they're always willing to try new things."

    See full article

  • Will Stringent AG Rules in Napa Make it Untenable to Grow Grapes?

    Napa Ag Under Attack

    My newest piece for Wine Industry Advisor took me into a realm I haven't worked with before--the politics of agriculture. As a wine grape grower under contract, I should really pay more attention. As a hobby vineyard size however (still tons of work! No economies of scale), I follow the main tenants for Sonoma County and then let the hubby worry about it. Napa, however, is experiencing some interesting politicking on their AG front. An initiative to "protect" the oak woodland watershed is at the crux of the matter. Those “for” have had a lot of say, so this article was commissioned to present the “against” side. I found it quite interesting to do the research for it, and talk with the “against” people. It made me wonder just how far we could eventually go in Sonoma County. 

  • The Experience Economy

    In my newest article, Engaging Clients Digitally in the Experience Economy, I've talked about how an offering for the experience economay can be laid out. I think what Daniel Newman stated is critical; “We no longer simply make a purchase and walk away. Consumers seek—and often expect, whether we realize it or not—additional utility from the brands we patronize."  What I didn't discuss is what experiences might actually add value to your brand. I cited the example Dave Moser gave of a vineyard tour, which certainly can be appealing to clients. But what about other options? Blending seminars? Special food pairings? Critters of the Vineyard tour? Sniff It seminar? 

    Not in the wine industry? The same principals apply. Capitalize on what your location or business offers, think up something of interest to your current and potential clients, do your homework on costs, price it correctly for your region, and market it correctly. 

  • I Belong to Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce

    Here is a notice that members of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce have been asked to send out.  I believe this is all true, and we need to keep workers employed throughout the county, and work to solve our critical housing issue, made worse by the fire destruction.

    Our beloved Wine Country has endured an unimaginable tragedy and we are grieving for those who have lost lives, homes, and businesses. 

    As our brave firefighters continue to bring these wildfires to heel, stories of hope, generosity, and heroism will appear.

    While the fires impacted a portion of Sonoma County, our scenic beauty, rolling vineyards, amazing wine, and locally grown food remains intact.  Many Healdsburg workers have lost their homes or are displaced from their communities, but we are extremely fortunate that Healdsburg’s businesses remain unscathed and workers have a place of business to return to where we can focus on the efforts of rebuilding and moving forward.

     As we strive to take care of our community and our neighbors in surrounding communities, we are asking for your help to support Sonoma County wineries, breweries, cheese makers, farmers, and local artisans. Purchases of items that were bottled in, made in, grown in, brewed in or otherwise came from Sonoma County help local families recover economically.