Fun and Balance

Category
  • Aerial Doctors

    When I first went to Rombauer for a journalist luncheon in April (I was invited! So cool!), I was introduced to a new way of looking at helping the vines though a process I hadn't known about. Aerial photograpahy, or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), has been used at some of the "fancier" wineries for ten years or so, but I had never come across it. I was in awe of all the information they can glean from these heat-sensing, color-mapping photos. It's really cool. 

    Then I was reading in my most recent, summer 2018 On Wisconsin magazine (like a good alumna does), and found that at UW-Madison, a Biological Systems Engineering team are doing a similar thing to find ways to use UAV (drones) to find where pests have invaded the cranberry crops.  Seems like they should get together and share info!

    Here's my article from Wine Industry advisor.

    Technology Advances Winemaking Practices at Rombauer

  • 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.