a food/wine/marketing blog that is funny by accident, sarcastic on purpose.

“Sonoma County”

moved to shanaray.com.

Hey everyone, my blog has finally received a true makeover (courtesy of Philip Wyers at Advertainment Media) and while I still may use a WordPress template, it is no longer hosted on WordPress.

I also am in the middle of changing the name… So goodbye, shana; out on VHS yet and hello ?????

So please visit ShanaRay.com to read more about my adventures in Wine, Food and Marketing!

Thanks.

*shana.


first step for sunchips, giant leap for the industry.

You can only get Media Post articles if you subscribe to them, so I took an excerpt from SunChips Rolling Out Compostable Package written by Karl Greenberg that I read this morning about SunChips takes a huge step in the greening of product packaging.

sunchips-bSnack brand SunChips, a division of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, likes its packaging to be ubiquitous on shelves — but on sidewalks, bushes, in trees or the random gutter? Not so much. The company is rolling out compostable, organic-based packaging bit by bit this year, with a fully compostable bag due out on Earth Day in 2010.

The marketing effort includes a 45-second ad showing a time lapse of the 100% biodegradable bag decomposing over 14 weeks. It will run once on “American Idol” on Tuesday — the day before Earth Day — followed by a home-page takeover on various social/video Web sites.  Print ads running in People will include samples of the new biodegradable material.  SunChips has also begun a national point-of-purchase effort in grocery stores this week with pamphlets containing swatches of the material — made of polylactic acid (trade name Ingeo) with instructions on how to compost it.

The campaign will be extended after Earth Day through a participation initiative via a partnership with National Geographic.  A digital campaign — centering on the video — will direct people to GreenEffect.com, where they can submit an account of steps they or their community groups are taking toward a sustainable lifestyle.

Out of all of the Earth Day promotions that I have been reading about, this one stands out the most for me.  SunChips seems to be taking this a step further than just talking the talk…. They are actually inventing a material that will revolutionize the way product packaging is made and putting the idea of composting out there.  Gone are the days that hippies and farmers are the only ones who compost their scrapes of food and now businesses like Whole Foods are setting up Composting Facilities around the United States.  I look forward to seeing this trend continue further than Whole Foods and my backyard (the picture below is a before shot of our garden).

garden


melon shooters & eye shadow in green valley.

This past Sunday, I hopped into my semi-gas friendly Honda Civic with three of my girls and trekked through the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market to make my way through West County.  Our mission was to Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley.  Yes, the official Earth Day is this Wednesday, but who does a wine tasting event on a Wed other than me?

This year the theme was “Low Key, Low Impact” and five different Russian River Valley Wineries (aka pinot-yumminess) opened their tasting rooms to the public and held free earth-friendly exhibits, food pairings and tastings.

The first stop was at Iron Horse Vineyards where we were greeted by 80 degree heat, delicious sparkling wines, my favorite wine radio host and Sonoma County wine queen – Ziggy the Wine Gal and the owner of the winery, the “earth mother goodness” herself – Joy Sterling.  My favorite part of the Iron Horse event was the art exhibit which focused on re-cycled art, made from re-claimed, re-purposed, re-imagined materials.  I will have to say part of my reasoning for this was because it was in the bottling room and the only way to get away from the heat!lukka

Lukka Feldman of Barn Diva was in charge of the salt (and popcorn) tasting which including a chunk of salt that Joy brought back from the Himalayan Mountains.  The winery’s head chef Ruben Gomez served a spring vegetable soup with bread from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone.  The chocolate from TCHO chocolate paired perfectly with the Iron Horse Chardonnay.  According to Joy, “The Citrus chocolate is from Madagascar and has a distinct lively citrusy zing that crazy as it sounds is delicious with Chardonnay.”

After our amazing experience over at Iron Horse, we made our way past the redwoods and Russian River Valley vineyards to Harford Family Winery, where I wasn’t able to have the same interaction with the owner and winemakers (though I would love to in the future).

This didn’t stop my friends and me to gush over the pairing of their Four Hearts Vineyard Chardonnay along with some Melon Shooters.  At first I was a bit hesitant to try because I think of either sparkling wine or a Sauvignon Blanc is best paired with any sort of fruit, but this pairing was perfection.  I even advise the people at Harford to have that pairing as part of an everyday tasting experience, maybe even let people know the recipe on their site.

matt

Dutton-Goldfield and Balletto Vineyards was our last stop because we wanted take their 2:30 tour of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s watershed, wildlife preserve that can be found in their backyard.  Of course getting four girls to get anywhere on time hardly ever works, so we were about 10 minutes late.  Not that I minded because we got to spend more time drinking their Pinot Noir.  While Balletto’s Pinot is a great every day wine, Dutton-Goldfield’s had a range of Pinots that any wine drinker would love.  My personal favorite, as well as the tasting room staff’s recommendation was the 2006 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Okay, maybe the only “green” part of my experience was the melon shooters and my green eye shadow, but it is nice to see a West County event that was a perfect balance of really good wine and food along with education without it being forced down your throat.


ttl @ estate.

Last night was the Twitter Taste Live Rhone event, put on by the Hospice du Rhône, the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhône Variety Wines and Sondra at Estate, an amazing new Italian restaurant in Sonoma, Ca.

Toting itself as the largest #ttl event that has taken place, the party at ESTATE brought in a huge crowd.  Twitters, both old school and new to Sonoma to try Rhone varietals and eat, mac and cheese.  If you take a look at the list below you will see many newbies that don’t even have a picture uploaded.  Either way, it is great seeing new people join Twitter (especially if they didn’t join because of the whole annoying Oprah and Ashton Kucher craze), drinking wine… and socializing.

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Let me know if I missed anyone!

sharayray  – me!

figgirl

HdR2009

winebratsf aka vinquire

JugShop

VERGEwine

sonadora

randyhall

RandallGrahm

DrncPno

mwangbickler

sonomawineguy

LisaAdamsWalter

dmhoro

lorenza

brixchick_liza

mykhael

DaedalusHowell

shewinesocial

vintuba

winedog

wineevangelist

marcygordonttl-009

winotone

TyffaniP

queenkv

shane_syrah

Bourassawines

randaltbennett

sommowens

hellosonoma

ulyzp

Audelssa

TraceyLaPierre

Gratuitous iPhone, mac and cheese and wine shot .


note from tom (myspace).

Hey all,

Today marks the launch of MySpace Local which is a great place to check out local businesses in your neighborhood. You can rate, review, and share your favorite neighborhood venues with friends. We’re launching with two categories today (Restaurants and Bars & Nightlife), but will be adding many more soon. MySpace Local covers every major city in the U.S. Check out cool places near you.

I already wrote some reviews of my favorite places in Los Angeles — go here to read them if you want to see how it works. I’m looking forward to seeing your favorite places. Thanks to Outback Steakhouse for helping MySpace to make this happen.

-Tom

__________________________________________________________

I just logged onto MySpace for the first time in a few days to check on a comment and the first thing I saw was the above letter from Tom the “creator” of MySpace.  Since the drop in visitors to MySpace they have been trying to win people back through many different new features (most that are carbon copies of Facebook features), but will this local rating system for restaurants and bars be the thing that sets this social network apart and possibly win visitors (or brands) back?  Doubtful….  I tried it out by searching for “beer” in Santa Rosa, CA and only two bars (one that is actually closed) came up in the search.  I guess I will have to try it out again in a few weeks to see if anything has changed.

*shana.

myspave


my social media competition.

I just stumbled upon a great social media white paper.  The 26 page pdf SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow is written by Michael A. Stelzer of Writing White Papers.  The report surveyed  over 700 social media marketers, asking them open ended questions about the industry.  If you don’t want to read the entire thing, go here to watch a video that explains some of the highlights.  After reading all 26 pages, I do have to say that I am concerned.

I have been told time and time again that the niche service I provide is a much needed one in Sonoma County (and the marketing industry as a whole) and that I need to help bring the Wine Country into the Web 2.0 world.  With so many “Social Media Consultants, Guru’s and Marketers”  that follow me online, I figured that maybe some of them might actually have some experience with the subject matter that they claim to be an expert on.  According to the report, I may be wrong.

The report justified my own personal commitment to social media and gave me a better understanding of what I should expect (or not expect) from my competition (aka those social media marketers that claim to know it all).  I have been using social media for years and my time spent on my iphone or on my laptop is almost embarrassingly high.  Honestly, ask my friends and they all will tell you I need to have my iphone within an arm’s length at all time.  A debate on if this is healthy or not is another subject.  Apparently (a  positive and a negative for me), my competition isn’t as dedicated and knowledgeable on the subject as I am. Here, I do want to state, that I know not all new social media people can be put into this stereotype and I am sure their are many respectable social media newbies out there. Right now it seems like social media marketing is the hottest trend and everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon.

Some highlights of the report include:

“When asked to rate their experience using social media marketing for their businesses, a significant 72% of marketers have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months. ” What?? I know the industry is relatively new, but a few months, come on!

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“There is a direct relationship between how long marketers have been using social media and their weekly time commitment.  For people just beginning with social media, the median weekly time commitment was two hours per week. However, for folks who have been doing this for a few months, the median jumped to 10 hours a week. And for people who have been doing this for years, their median is 20+ hours each week.” The longer you have been involved with social media, the more you understand that it does take a lot of time… You also know it pays off.

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“The longer you invest, the greater return you are gonna get”

- Michael Stelzer

So, to conclude, I will never claim to know all the answers.  That isn’t what social media is about.  It is about trial and error…. It is about being able to adapt and react quickly, it is about being honest with your consumers and most important it is about COMMITMENT and PASSION . I am happy to report that I can proudly say I am capable of all of this….  Can a social media guru who just started truly say that?


you aren’t a lush if this is what you do for a living.

It is one thing to call yourself a wine blogger and write about various consumer wine tasting events like Barrel Tasting.  It is a whole different story to be asked to attend wine blogger specific events and get a self guided tour from the vineyard manager of one of the top wineries in Napa Valley.  Add in good friends, new contacts, some chocolate & cheese and this was the ultimate wine blogging weekend….  The only problem: Too much to write about!  I am definitely not complaining here, having too much to write about is never a bad thing.  I learned so much from each event that it will take me a while to type up my thoughts so below is a short write up of each even before my thoughts become irrelevant:

Thursday April 2nd was the Wine 2.0 Expo at Crushpad in San Francisco.  It was my second encounter with the Wine 2.0 guys (the first was at ZAP) and my first time at Crushpad and it was a blast.  Being a newbie to the wine event scene, I had no idea that Crushpad was a huge warehouse that can hold over a thousand people. I was amazed at that the room was to hold over 800 wine/technology loving people. The expo was held to showcase some of the “emerging companies and wineries that are reinventing how wine is made, marketed or sold.”  This included many different wineries, mostly from Sonoma, Napa and Paso Robles, a few wine tech companies and one innovative chocolate company.  Cornelius Geary, CEO of Wine 2.0 even gave me the official Wine 2.0 Flip camera to videotape part of the evening…  More info and maybe even a video to come about my highlights of this event.

crushpadTaken from Wine 2.0’s Facebook page.

Saturday April 4th was Bloggers Day at St. Supery winery in Rutherford, Ca.  Wine bloggers from all around the Bay Area visited the winery for some wine, food and of course some socializing.  Going into this day not knowing anything about the winery, it was definitely nice to get a guided tour of some of the vineyards from their Vineyard Manager, Josh Anstey.  Everything from the croissant (and bacon) pairing with the Sauvignon Blanc to the wine tasting upstairs to the lunch under the oak tree out in front was just perfect.  I left with a better feeling about this Napa winery (yes, I am a Sonoma County girl with a deep passion for her home county).  I was given few parting gifts and much more is to be said about this day, so look for more info soon.

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The St. Supery team and the wine bloggers.

To top this weekend off on Sunday April 5th was maybe the most exciting event of the three.  I was able to participate in the Passion for Pinot Summit, an all day pinot event put on by Barbara Drady of the Affairs of the Vine.  Thea Dwelle (aka @winebratsf) invited me to be one of the blogging judges of this blind pinot noir tasting.  Me, a judge in a pinot tasting…  Could life get any better?  The top 44 pinot noirs from all over the world, chosen in a previous blind tasting from a professional tasting panel (more about Blind Tastings in another posting to come) were covered up and assigned colors.  Over 300 guests, writers, bloggers and industry professionals tasted and chose their top favorites.  The winners can be found on Barbara’s blog post about the event.  My observations on the type of pinot noir’s that I gravitated to are coming up in another blog post as well.

I lushed it up this past weekend and I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way….


seduced by pinot.

Anyone following me on Twitter knows that my favorite wine varietal is pinot noir.  As my Barrel Tasting posting stated, “It wasn’t until I discovered this varietal that I started drinking and loving wine.”   It has been an inspiration as well as my “gateway drug” into other bolder wines, like a yummy Petite Verdot, a sometimes overpowering Syrah or my recently love for Malbec’s (all thanks to Mounts Family Vineyard & Kokomo Winery).

The Wikapedia article on these grape states:

Pinot noir (IPA: [pi.no.'nwaʁ]) is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” alluding to the varietals’ tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Being lighter in style, it has benefited from a trend toward more restrained, less alcoholic wines. Robert Parker has described pinot noir in Parker’s Wine Buying Guide:

“When it’s great, Pinot noir produces the most complex, hedonistic, and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world…”

(more…)


social media classes in sonoma county.

If someone asked me at the age of eight what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have had one of three different responses: A lawyer, a teacher or the person who writes commercials.  The third dream of mine is the one that I ended up pursuing and even though my dream was crushed by the decline in TV advertising, I knew even at a young age that the marketing world was the world for me.  Good thing the world of internet advertising allows for more creative thinking and versatility than the in-the-box model of the TV advertisement.

Over the years many people have told me that I would make a great teacher, that I have a commanding voice (I think they mean loud) and now it is official – I am breaking out the glasses, the khaki pants and a plain blue blouse (memories of Mr. Murdock and Mr. Kaufman my two favorite teachers in high school) because I am going to start teaching social media classes for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau.

(more…)


defined by my generation.

Yes, I am a Millennial.  I may get made fun of by my fellow wine blogging friends for being young, but I am the epitome of a Millennial Wine Drinker (this also includes not taking the time to edit my posting to realize that I meant to say epitome instead of epiphany).  Okay, well maybe since I did grow up in Sonoma County my palette is a bit more solicited than an average middle American youth’s palette.  Then again, maybe not.  I judge wine on the experience that I have within the setting that I am drinking the wine (hence why this wine blog is about my experience rather than the tasting notes of the wine) and I will even admit to purchasing wine because of an animal on the label, a clever slogan or even a bright colors (Fat Bastard Chardonnay fits all three of these criteria)

Back when I was working on the Clos du Bois campaign in 2007 (see some of my work here) I did extensive research on Millennial’s and their wine consumption habits, coming to the consultation that if you do not have at least a portion of your Marketing Plan that talks to the younger generation then you are missing out on the big picture.

younger-gen-drive-growth

While we may not all be purchasing ultra-premium wines and joining in on high end wine club memberships, we are wanting to learn about wine and are a very passionate and social group.

dinner

We have left the toga parties in our past (some of us) and are going to and throwing dinner parties where bringing a bottle of wine and a knowledge of what to pair it with is in full regard.  We have grown up with advertising, so flashy gimmicks that I mentioned above are not the way to win us over.   We are eager to learn more, but of course we want our teachings to be fun and informative.

I don’t want to say that wineries must cater to us, but there are some things that you could do to embrace a younger generation (as well as others you may be trading down during this recession).  Lisa de Bruin had started with some good ideas of how wineries could work with wine bloggers and I think that same thinking could be applied to the Millennial generation:

Maybe a lower end wine club with deals for those entering in to their first wine club membership?

****Or maybe just a deal for one wine blogging Millennial who has not found the right Wine Club to be a part of*****

Picture taken by Em Mota.

Or a social media strategy that gets your consumers active in contests and promotions of your wine?  *Cheers to Twisted Oak Winery and El Jefe for showing us that wine can be a lot of fun

I believe that the brands that acknowledge Millennials will have a great long term strategy.

The Zinquisition said it best in the blog post about the Press Democrat’s atricle on how us Millennial’s seemed to ruin the Barrel Tasting for some older visitors, in Madcap Millennials Long Live the Queen

Think how far your marketing dollars go when the crowd gathers at your winery and HAS A GOOD TIME and then spreads the word via their own circle of friends electronically!”


customer service done right.

There has been a recent epidemic of blog postings that have been critical of the lack of customer service that a few wineries have provided, including two recent ones from me (here and here).  With the ever-expanding blog posts about everything from what people had for breakfast to the wine they drank before going to bed, the internet is a haven for people to write about their daily experiences.  It is also a fact that people talk more about their bad experiences than their good ones.  Online and during their everyday lives.

I was told by one of my male friends that my posts as of late have been a bit pessimistic and that I should write about something pleasurable and not just promotions or brands that upset me.  Though I don’t believe him, especially looking at the overwhelming exceptional customer service I received (and wrote about) from my favorite wineries over the past two Barrel Tasting weekends, I figured I would take a look at some places I have been to recently that I think have the right idea.  Two Sonoma County restaurants instantly came to mind.

Jack and Tony’s Whisky Bar- They opened up in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa last month, but local Sonoma County chef, Jack Mitchell (of Sassafrass) knows that a good restaurant is nothing without a great staff who is dedicated to providing a memorable experience.  They literally rolled out the red carpet for their customers this past Wednesday.  It was their Grand Opening celebration and no matter how cheesy it sounds, the party was in fact  Grand.

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A limo drove guests from the Santa Rosa Hyatt and dropped them off at the front door.  Here guests were greeted by a red carpet and a smiling Jack saying “thank you” for coming.  For part of the day, a paparazzi style photographer snapped candid photos, the mayor showed up for a ribbon cutting ceremony and they gave away free appetizers.  The drinks were delicious and the garlic parmesan fries were cooked perfectly.

Jack personally went from table to table to greet each of his guests and to chat for a bit.  It will be interesting to see if they can keep up this level of great customer service, but as Jack told me “He had the best restaurant staff to choose from in Sonoma County,” so look for people who know what they are doing.

Bovolo Restaurant- One several different wine tasting occasions, myself and a group of wild women have entered into Bovolo (behind Copperfield’s on the Healdsburg Square) to dine on their infamous mac and cheese and carbonara dishes.  Other than my friends being obsessed with the handmade bacon, we go there because they offer free corkage for locals and I have a bit of a crush on one of the staff members at the cash register.  I like that you order off the menu at the cash register and you go to sit down, it brings a more informal vibe to the place.

bovolo

We tend to get a bit rowdy, so instead of yelling (which has happened at various restaurants or hotels), the staff will come in the back and simply ask us to keep it down.   I understand that sometimes we need to be reminded to use our inside voices, but asking us nicely goes much further than coming back and acting like we are ruining your life.

(Bovolo picture taken from Google Images)

Both of these restaurants have proven to me on more than a few occasions that it is the simple things that create an experience worth coming back for.


barrel tasting weekend two: passion for pinot.

Saturday March 14th was the big Barrel Tasting event for me.  This time I was to be accompanied by my local Sonoma County group of friends, as well as some out of town wine blogging/twitter friends, including @Robbin_G, @Winebratsf, @BrixChick_Liza, @MmWine, and local friends @Oenophilus and @SonomaWineGuy.

We made the stops in Dry Creek Valley at the usual suspects, including Truett Hurst, Papapietro Perry, Kokomo Winery and Michel-Schlumberger.  My non-wino friends had a great time at all of my favorite wineries, laughing at the glasses from TH or loving the mystery barrel (and winemakers) at Kokomo and especially the photoshoot in the rows of barrel at MS.  They all loved the wine too, thus cementing each winery into my winery hall of fame (to be mentioned at a later date).

thegroup

The one thing all four of my favorites have in common (other than the Dry Creek location) is that each winery has their own style of Pinot Noir.  All delicious in their own way, but all very different with wines that range from lighter fruity flavors like the 2005 Pinot Noir from MS to the robust raspberry flavor of the Pinots at PP (specifically the Elsbree Vineyards).

Pinot has been my one true wine love for some time.  It wasn’t until I discovered this varietal that I started drinking and loving wine.  After years of living in Oceanside, Ca and having a roommate that would always drink heavy Zins from Ravenswood, I discovered the joy of a lighter wine in the La Creama 2003 Pinot.  Of course the movie Sideways came out a few years later and I couldn’t order a glass of wine without someone asking me about that movie.  Five years later, this wine has grown in popularity and the amount of vineyards growing this grape just keeps on getting larger.  This only fuels my love for this grape.

The two Sonoma County appellations that grow some of the best (IMO) grapes are the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast.  The fog provides the perfect blanket for these demanding grapes.

Saturday night was the second “big event.”  My first ever Twitter Taste Live where I would be able to stream live with Matt from A Good Time with Wine on the #TTL website trying none-other than my favorite wines….  Yes, it was a Passion for Pinot night on #TTL.

About 15 wine bloggers met up at Palette Art Café in Healdsburg (Great food and FREE WIFI), socialized, ate some dinner and drank many different Pinots.   Unfortunately after a long day of Barrel Tasting and a stolen iPhone, I had to leave early (I am so sorry I wasn’t able to stay).

Sunday morning I was up and ready to tackle my very last day of Barrel Tasting.  This time I was caffeined up and excited to hit some new wineries in the Russian River Valley.  I met up with Danelle (aka @daynell), fellow wine bloggers (see above) and Samantha Vega from 101.7 The Fox (aka @1017TheFox) at Joseph Swan.  Here we tried some pretty good samples of Zins.  After leaving, Danelle, Samantha and I got lost for the rest of the group…  And with no cell reception and an apparent lack of knowledge of the area, we ended up not being able to find Olivet Road to meet up with the posse.

This adventure led us to Westside Road where we passed by two friends of mine who were frantically waving at the passing cars, trying to persuade people to visit the Thomas George Estates (formally the Davis Bynum tasting room).  Of course, I had to stop.

Here we sampled two delicious Pinots.  One where I am coming out and saying was the best (in the barrel) Pinot Noir I had all weekend. – This was an 2008 Lancel Creek Russian Rover Valley Pinot.  A perfect blend of strawberries with a hint of cherry. It wasn’t too dark or too light… I guess I would have to call it “just right.”  It even paired perfectly with my vegetarian tamale that they were serving.

This new winery is definitely worth checking out.  Their tasting room currently pours several different Pinots, reminding any visitor that the Russian River appellation is a great place to visit and drink some great Pinot Noir.


barrel tasting day two: wine-napped & twitterpated.

Barrel Tasting this past Sunday was supposed to be day # 2 of new adventures and discoveries…  Basically, an extension of the agenda from Saturday.

It started off normal enough.  I met up with Thea at a new winery in the Russian River Valley called Copain Wines (aka @Copain).

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The Copain tasting room is located on top of a hill on Eastside Road, directly across from the recreation park.  It is the only winery that I know of that is on that stretch of the road, so people will most likely only visit through word of mouth or because they were simply driving past it.  I only heard about it because they recently joined Twitter.

This posting is my attempt to start the word of mouth on this place (actually I mean continue the WOM) and let people know that if they want to taste some great Anderson Valley pinots, a Russian River GSM blend and a place to have a picnic and enjoy THE BEST VIEW from a winery   –   Then they should make sure to stop on by the Copain tasting room.

When Thea finally got bored with me taking pictures of the view, we headed over to Mill Creek Winery.  I am not going to waste my time to write much about this place because it was neither good nor bad.  It was  nothing worth going back for IMO.

The next stop: Michel-Schlumberger (aka @M_Schlumberger) to visit Judd Wallenbrock, the President, General Manager and head blogger at their award winning blog – The Benchland Blog Judd and crew have seemed to perfect the art of barrel tasting weekend. Visitors are instantly greeted by Judd and given an explanation of where you should go and a brief history of the winery.  Then guests travel through the cellar to taste out of the barrels, then into the next room to try already bottled wines, then lastly into their main tasting room.  This is where my friend Joe(y) poured us some wines that go back to 1989.  Of course Thea and I had to purchase the last case of 2001 Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir (yes, I said it… There is one winery that does make Dry Creek Pinot).  After trying some aged Pinots and Cabs, we made out way into the wine club members tasting room and ended up drinking more Pinot on a picnic bench while discussing wine, social media and Judd’s new discovery of TwitPic.

bothguys

Then we were onto Mounts Family Winery (aka @MountsFamWinery).  It is off the same beaten road as Michel-Schlumberger, in the middle of a vineyard.  Blink on West Dry Creek road and you will miss it.  But this is a small family winery that you shouldn’t miss out on.  Lana greets her visitors with a smile that let’s you know she is committed to customer service. Their Malbec out of the barrel was very tasty as well.

Around 4:30, a half hour after the official ending time of the event, Thea and I decided that we were most certainly not done yet.  If you know anything about Thea and me, you know that to be the truth.  We headed over to harass Jim at Truett Hurst once again.   Here we tried some Petit Verdot and talked Jim’s ear off for an hour or so.

All together a perfect day, regardless of the fact that we were wine-napped by Judd and strayed WAY off our agenda….  Oh, wait… There is always next weekend.


barrel tasting day one: new adventures and old favorites.

One of the biggest events in Sonoma County is the two weekend extravaganza (aka drunk fest) that is Northern California Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting Weekend around Healdsburg, Ca.  The first two weekends in March provide visitors the chance to sample wines straight from barrel, pre-purchase the wine (called futures) before it is bottled and meet the winemakers.

Barrel Tasting weekend is a true celebration of spring in Wine Country: the mustard flowers are in full bloom, the sun is usually out for the first time and tourists & locals are running around in short sleeved shirts with red stained teeth.  It is the first event of the year that the wineries roll out the barrels and open up their cellars to the sunlight.

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Thea Dwelle, her mother and I headed out into the wilds of the Sonoma County wine roads with an agenda:

  1. To show Thea’s mom some of her favorite wines and wine people.
  2. To visit new wineries we haven’t been to.
  3. To visit our Winery Twitter friends.

Dry Creek Wineries: Papapietro Perry, Kokomo, Peterson, Truett Hurst (aka @truetthurst) and Sbragia.

Saturday morning was spent visiting some favorites including, Papapietro Perry, Kokomo, and Truett Hurst.  All the barrel samples from these favorites did not disappoint.  Kokomo Winery even had a delicious special “Mystery Sample” for visitors to guess the varietal.  Winemaker, Erik Olsen even gave us a clue (a Bordeaux variety). Thea did eventually get it.  If you really want to know the varietal, ask me in the comments.

Jim Morris at Truett Hurst made us laugh with his “X-Ray” glasses (aka polarized lenses to look into the creek for salmon), feed us some tri-tip and let us try some of their own zinfandels.

We also visited Sbragia where they seemed to not have enough people working to handle the massive amounts of people visiting the winery.  We tried some unmemorable Zin and left.

Alexander Valley Wineries: Route 128, Jimtown (for lunch) Hawkes Wine’s (aka @hawkeswine) and Stuhlmuller.

Route 128 is a newly opened tasting room in downtown Geyserville. They are still very small so they were not participating in Barrel Tasting, but they poured some pinot for us anyways.

The folks from Sonoma County Tourism Bureau (aka @InsideSonoma) suggested a pairing of Jimtown General Store’s infamous chocolate pudding with one of Hawkes Wine’s Cabernets.  The pairing did not disappoint. The 2007 Pyramid Cabernet Sauvignon went perfectly with the rich chocolate pudding. Good thing the two are right next to each other.

Healdsburg Wineries: Newly opened Hudson Street Wineries (Bluenose, Owl Ridge, Teira, Windsor Vineyards, etc), Holdredge, Camilla (where @Cellardiva was pouring), Sapphire Hill.

These wineries are all smaller with limited cases and I would have to say, I was not as impressed with them. It was the end of the day when we stopped by here, so my experience could have been a bit jaded because of the massive amounts of people.  I would like to stop by Camilla and Sapphire Hill again.

Altogether, I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday to spend wine tasting to experience some old favorites and new adventures.

Look for tweets with the hastag #barreltasting next weekend!  And, of course, please follow me at @ShaRayRay on twitter!


freebies + social media = hot restaurant strategy.

This article from Media Post News says it all:

Earlier this month, Denny’s gave away more than 2 million Grand Slam Breakfasts in one day with the help of a Super Bowl commercial and online chatter.

This week, Quiznos gave away a million subs in three days after using only banner ads, Facebook and Twitter presence and some free local radio exposure.

Denny’s may have been investing in brand awareness, but as the Quiznos promotion demonstrated, with consumers looking to save every penny they can, you probably don’t need the Super Bowl part to drive a freebie.

Another current example of using a giveaway and online chatter to drive restaurant traffic: International House of Pancakes just completed its third annual National Pancake Day on Tuesday, in which it gives away a small stack of pancakes and in return asks customers to consider donating to the Children’s Miracle Network or a local charity.

IHOP, which has raised nearly $2 million for charities since starting the day in 2006, relied on a dedicated Web site with a “tell a friend” pass-along application, its normal presence on key social networks and some PR to drive awareness and traffic.

The result? IHOP has not finished tallying, but the chain was shooting for $1 million and believes that this year was its best in terms of awareness, traffic and donations, according to spokesperson Patrick Lenow.  “The word-of-mouth generated through social networks was just incredible,” he says.

And that’s just this month’s roster of freebie-based promotions designed to draw in new diners, get existing customers to visit more frequently and pick up some revenue from the beverages and other purchases that usually accompany the freebie.

“Social networking and restaurants are a logical match,” says Reggie Bradford, CEO of social media marketing consultancy Vitrue.  “Food is naturally social,” he points out.  “Where do you want to eat?  Do you want to grab something here?  This is translating to online conversations around restaurant brands.  We’ve seen tremendous adoption of social media strategies among QSRs and fast-casual restaurants.”

Combine social media with freebies, and you’ve got marketing dynamite.  “Giving away food in these uncertain economic times obviously resonates strongly with consumers,” Bradford says.  “Huge gains are being made by brands who are reaching out to consumers with something tangible. IHOP deserves kudos for taking it important steps further by giving back to the community and forging loyalty along the way.”

The lift in online buzz has been significant for all of these promotions, based on Vitrue’s Social Media Index, which measures online conversations about a brand in social networks, blogs and Twitter.

Denny’s SMI score more than doubled (from 22 to 45.6) after its commercial and meal giveaway.  Quiznos’ jumped from 12.4 on the first day of the promotion to 16.1 three days later, or by 30%. IHOP’s score was 36.9 on Jan. 1 and 73.9 on Feb. 25, the day after Pancake Day–a 99% gain.

IHOP and other brands could benefit from more compelling Facebook pages, perhaps incorporating surveys, polling and a restaurant locator, Bradford says.  Providing franchisees with the tools to tap their online social circles to market local events is another opportunity, as is capturing event RSVPs to go back to individuals with coupons and other loyalty-building offers, he adds.


customer service in the consumer review era.

Years ago, back when the terms blog and twitter were still unknown, if restaurants, retailers or wineries provided terrible customer service then the word only got around to the visitors immediate friends and family.  If it was a truly horrific act of bad customer service or product failure, then maybe the word would spread a bit further.  Of course this is not the world we live in now.

As shown by Lisa de Bruin’s trip to Domaine Chandon, Gary Vaynerchuk’s visit at Mondrian, a “hip” hotel in Miami, as well as my recent trip to Korbel, a bad experience is not only is talked about online – it has the ability to “go viral.”  Consumer review site’s such as Yelp (even with their problems) and personal blogs have had a great impact, both positively and negatively on the service industry.  It isn’t just wine reviewers or food critics that are telling the world their opinion.

You can bitch all you want, but this trend is not going away anytime soon.  The internet is here, and social tools are just making it easier and faster for people to voice their opinions.  Go ahead and complain that these reviews are not from trained professionals, who know what they are talking about, or negative reviews could be from disgruntled employees, or that positive reviews could even be from someone affiliated with the company.

customer-service

Okay, hopefully now that you are done complaining about the situation you can take a deep breath and accept that consumer written reviews are not going away…. Or, hopefully, you are one of the ones reading this that understands that this new form of reviewing the service industry can actually help businesses.

What some people don’t get is that BOTH negative & positive postings provide a great opportunity for publicity.  The online landscape allows businesses to respond to negative comments and even generate positive posts by asking visitors to post reviews, or just by delivering customer service that is truly above and beyond.  Those businesses that adapt to the new era of online voices and not only respond to what is said, but actually LISTEN and (if need be) make changes will be the ones who will make it through.  Yes, I do know there is more to running a business then just this — just stick with me here….

Service businesses HAVE TO adapt to the landscape or watch their competition, that are paying attention, take away customers.  They have to know that in this new online era that they truly have to go above and beyond when it comes to customer service.  If you are a business that needs some help with online publicity or even an evaluation of your place of business, then please visit here.

I will leave you with some quotes from Gary:

“Stop age discrimination in the tasting room because that 24 year old will go and blog about what kind of douche bags you are and no one will buy your wine.”

“Service industry is really going to start feeling these impacts.”


seth godin’s social media quotes.

Some great quotes from the one person I can truly call a Marketing Guru, Seth Godin.

“Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals.  Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals” (You can do it both online and office).

“What I don’t like online is the superficial networking. It doesn’t count for anything” (I can say the same thing for real world networking, sitting in a room of people who are just waiting for their turn to speak without really listening or caring what you have to say).


Thanks to Anthony De Rosa of Soup, Soup for blogging this video….  and for his humorous tweets about Social Media.


korbel’s lack of an online plan.

Just a day after reading about a friend’s lack of acknowledgment at Napa sparkling wine maker Domain Chandon, I was asked by a friend of mine to visit the Korbel tasting room to pick up some Zinfandel (yes, Korbel does make some wine).

I tweeted about my experience, briefly saying that

Korbel doesn’t get a lot of wine bloggers. Staff didn’t know what I was talking about.

kor

When I asked the older tasting room attendant if she ever gets any wine bloggers in the tasting room, I was greeted with not only a blank stare, but she almost looked insulted like I was speaking to her in a different language that she was supposed to figure out.  She asked me what a blogger was and when I told her it was a person who wrote about wine online, she still continued her blank stare and simply said no.

Okay fine, this tasting room person was clearly a different generation and my experience was mediocre enough to not give it a second thought afterward.    Expect I live in a world that is centered around the internet and my mind was on the Domain Chandon experience that I just missed out on.  Interesting enough — several hours after tweeting about my experience, and even drinking a bottle of their zin at home (saying it was pretty good) I read an article in the Press Democrat about how Korbel is suing Comcast to make Comcast identify “internet customers” who criticized the wine company on Craigslist.

Without turning this post into a debate over freedom of speech or even talking about what was said about Korbel on the postings (read about that in the article), I will say that I think Korbel is going about this all wrong.

This incident happened a year ago and I remember reading it in the Press Democrat, not really thinking too much about it.  Untrue (or possibly true) and unflattering things are said about brands online and offline everyday.  While I do agree that those who said the slanderous allegations should not be allowed to remain anonymous…  It is how a brand handles the negative PR that matters.  I think if Korbel simply dismissed the allegations as false than I wouldn’t be here talking about them or my experience in the tasting room (they were playing the Bodyguard soundtrack from the early 90’s).  Instead their reaction to the allegations was to sue Comcast to get the names of the people who created the postings, just so they can sue them for slander.  This is not a good PR move, it makes them look guilty and it brings on more negative attention.

This got me thinking about Korbel and if they even have an online strategy….  It isn’t like I hear that much about Korbel within the wine-blogging community and in my daily marketing promotions emails.  Their website, though saying brand new, is already out of date and to have their flash version open in another screen is not only unnecessary, it is annoying.

korbel

It is interesting that their site has a forum that currently isn’t working.  Their Perfect Proposal Promotion link is currently not working as well.

Altogether, my perceived image of them is that they are out of date, and Korbel people, if you are reading this (which I hope you are because it means you at least have done something right online aka Google Alerts) these are not allegations, just one person’s experience at your beautiful, yet boring tasting room.   I am a fan, especially of your blanc de noir sparkling wine.  And, hey, if you need some online publicity help, call me…  It is what I do.


why you should hire a freelancer.

I was just recently asked by a winemaker friend of mine if I have any marketing agency recommendations for him.  After he told me he was looking for an agency to create a print ad, my first question to him was why he wanted an agency to do this for him when it would be much cheaper and faster to hire a freelance graphic artist to create an amazing print ad for him.

His reaction to my question was that he hadn’t thought about that and he wasn’t sure how to go about finding the right person to help him out.

This comment got me thinking about local photographer/creative director/social elite Todd Brilliant’s new project the Creative Job Agency and the large number of freelance creative people I know around the area.

The CREATIVE JOB AGENCY will position itself as “LinkedIn for Creatives,” only with a real-world social element that will help form and cement critical professional relationships.

What is great about this “agency” is that it allows like-minded creative people to network, online and offline to discuss work opportunities and possible collaborations.   It is a great opportunity to meet freelancers and build up your list of recommended graphic artists, website developers, pr people, etc.  What it doesn’t do is get the word out to other, non-creative businesses and people who might be looking for our services.  That is up to us.

My current side business (still in initial start up phase) is social media and public relations focused, which is not a discipline that local businesses usually think to use when budgeting their marketing dollars.   This means it is up to me to get out into the community to let them know that I am available to help them cheaply market their brands online.  I currently am doing this by networking with business owners and other creative people, linking businesses that might not need my services with other freelance people that can currently help them.

Other reasons a freelance PR/Marketing/Website person might be the best answer for you*

  1. Price –  Freelancers do not have the same overhead as agencies, which means it costs less for them to create
  2. Attention – More personal attention because they have less clients
  3. Localized services – Help keep freelancers in business and they will continue to live in Sonoma County and help out the economy instead of moving away to work at agencies in the big cities
  4. Talent -The lack of work  in agencies means that talented people (like me) are doing more side work

So before you go looking for a Sonoma County agency, ask yourself if you know anyone who might know a freelancer that could help you out.

*Sorry to agencies I have previously had worked for or will work for in the future.  I am not discounting the work that any Agency does, but during economic hardships, I think that freelance work is the better choice, especially for smaller businesses.


social media can help sonoma county businesses through the downturn.

Yesterday two more stories were in the Press Democrat about Sonoma County businesses laying off people and cutting back on production.  Agilent Technologies and one of my favorite food brands, Amy’s Kitchen, both have been hit hard by the recession.  Both companies say they are cautiously optimistic about the future.  This got me thinking that it may be hard to stay optimistic when reading these articles (and the many others), but if you look at this era as an opportunity, then you can be optimistic about the future.

Even though hard working people are being laid off every single day, the downtime allows people to assess their situation and do something about it. As Scott Ginsberg, motivational speaker and business blogger says in a recent article titled How to Dance in the Rain of Our Current Economic Storm:

Take advantage of your downtime to accomplish projects and activities you wouldn’t be able to do if you were booked solid.  With this approach, you’ll probably end up accomplishing more than ever…

In tough times, one still has to believe that hard work, dedication, creativity and persistence will (hopefully) prevail.   I am lucky to have inspiration from my father who owns a carpet store in Santa Rosa.  Many other carpet stores are closing down because of lack of sales, but my dad has managed to not only stay afloat, he is actually still doing relatively well.  When this recession ends and consumers start having more confidence to start buying products, he will be the one they will buy carpet from because he will still be around.

Will your business be around at to see the rainbow at the end of the storm?   What?  Too cheesy?  How about will your business stay afloat after the hurricane?

One thing that Sonoma County businesses can do to help make sure that they stay afloat is to invest in Social Media Marketing.   An unfortunate trend I am seeing at both the national and local level is that brands are cutting back on most or all of their marketing budgets to save some money.  This is fine, if you want your competition to hog the spotlight and take away your business.  But, if you want to stay relevant and keep your brand on top of mind when consumers do get their purchasing confidence back, then you need to keep on reminding them that you are still here.

Top Reasons Sonoma County businesses should use Social Media Marketing to publicize their brand online:

  1. It is cost effective
  2. It provides national coverage (especially great in such a touristy place such as this)
  3. It can improve SEO rankings and website traffic
  4. You can be responsive to negative comments (as well as thank those with positive comments)
  5. It also provides the opportunity to connect with other members of your community

Chris Brogan, Social Media guru has an awesome post back in October of 2008 on using social media to help you get through the economic downturn.

New Media Type, a Web 2.0 blog explains that Social Media Marketing is sometimes the first to be cut because of the unknown but that it shouldn’t be.


rainy days, fast cars and memories.

I am just sitting in Palette Art cafe, enjoying their free wifi and drinking a soy mocha.  Not much to say, but I feel like writing (and trying not to over think the proposal that I need to write).

The song “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman just started playing which instantly brings a rush of nostalgic happiness.  This one song can sum up my entire high school life.  The memory of after school in 9th grade with my group of girlfriends is still a strong image that will always stay with me.  Back in the day before the internet, itunes and right when CD’s were becoming the norm; we would sit in front of the stereo and call into our favorite “Top 40″ radio station to request “Fast Car” everyday, sometimes even several times each night.  We would all giggle profusely when our voice would come on the radio requesting the song, usually forgetting to attempt to tape the song because we were also singing and dancing at the top of our lungs to the poetic words.

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove

Even though the song is about a couple wanting to move INTO the suburbs, the lyrics of the song seemed to also fit with what we saw as our teenage girl, middle class, suburban angst.  We just wanted to get away from the redundancies of life.  Our parents, siblings, heartbreak, homework. We wanted to “finally see what it means to be living.”  We wanted to “be someone, be someone, be someone.”

us

Unfortunately – We were only fourteen.  Only two years to go until we could proudly state our independence and freedom, until we could legally get in a fast car and drive away…

Fourteen years later, anytime I hear this song in my car, I turn up the radio full blast and sing at the top of my lungs.  I don’t feel the same angst as I once did, but it is still nice to get away sometimes.  Driving and singing at the top of my lungs still does it for me.


wine country events coming up.

After a very warm and dry January, we finally are getting some rain in Sonoma County.  Usually during this brief rainy season, us Northern Californians tend to hibernate a bit.  So while there have been a few events going on, I haven’t really been to to much of them.  Maybe because of the economy, maybe the rain, maybe nothing has really caught my eye.

Whatever my reasoning, there are a few things I am looking forward to as we move onto early Spring (it always feels as if Spring starts early here).

This past Wednesday I visited  Napa for a presentation given by Paul Mabray of Vintank, a new Wine Marketing Think Tank.  Here he discussed their introductory project, a social media report about the state of the online wine industry.  I am looking forward to seeing the study when it comes out at the end of the month (okay, this may not be a physical event YET, but it is social media — so it is an event in my eyes).

Mr. Healdsburg is one of the best annual events in our little town.  The event is at the Raven Theater on Saturday February 28th (yes, one week from today).

Start Time: 8pm, doors 7pm
Adults: $25 advance, $30 door – 21 and older only!

Guys from all ages, occupations and popularity participate in a beauty pageant to win the title of Mr. Healdsburg.   It is a great event that the whole town gets a little kooky for.   Be warned – the bars tend to have huge crowds of people after the show!  This year will also be the first that my friend, Samantha Vega, DJ at 101.7  The Fox, will be hosting.

Barn Diva, an amazing restaurant and cocktail lounge just started up Healdsburg’s only dance scene.  Every Friday night (if everyone is behaved) they will be pushing back the tables and playing some great music.  Perfect place to dance, eat some late night food and enjoy great drink specials with your friends.  When it gets a bit warmer and dryer,  they have a gorgeous back patio that will provide more room to play.

barndiva-027

Here is a shot of the bar taken from last week’s event.  As you can see, my Twisted rubber chicken is always around.

Now onto the event that in my eyes seems to trumpet over all — Yes it is the Annual Barrel Tasting weekend here in Healdsburg.  For two, count them, TWO whole weekends in March, visitor’s and locals alike will be able to visit all the wineries in Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and the Russian River valley and try samples of wine, straight out of the barrels.

This give wineries the advantage of selling their wines before they are even released.  Though the wine fairly ever tastes the same six months later — It is a great way to get to know the people who make the wine and have some fun.

Okay, before this post gets too long and you get bored with me (like that is even a possibility) I will say  that this event is March 7-8 & 14-15 from 11 am – 4 pm each day.  The price is $20 PER weekend.

Online tickets will be sold January 23 through March 1 for $20 per person.  At the door, the price will be $30 per person.

Since this is one of my favorite events — Be on the lookout for a few more postings before, possibly during and definitely after the event.

I will also be visiting San Fransisco for two social media events at the end of March — The Wine 2.0 and Web 2.0 Expo’s are ironically (or intentionally) planned at the same time.


zinful zap events: the grand tasting.

Saturday was the big ZAP event – The Grand Zinfandel Tasting!  According to my favorite wine geek and partner in wine glass breaking, Ward of WineLog Blog aka DrXeno:

“Over 275 wineries, 400 wines, countless other food and wine specialists and 10,000 attendees will be participating”

Judging from what I saw from my bird’s eye view of only one half of the event, I believe it.  As I was taking my pictures one person noted that this year is one of the ZAP event’s slower years.

zap-view

No matter the amount of people, I know I was extremely thankful to be there.  Being a Sonoma County girl, I know the power that the Zin (especially Dry Creek Valley) has on people.  Even though it is still my second favorite varietal, it is still a great wine to drink on it’s own or paired with great hearty food — Great for the Winter time.

The reason I was able to enjoy this grand tasting was because of Lisa of Hahn Wine Estates aka WineDiverGirl who introduced me to the “Bloggers Lounge” organizer, Wine 2.0.  An online company and social network dedicated to social media and events in the wine world.  Wine 2.0 allowed us bloggers to come to the Grand Tasting and enjoy the free wifi, networking opportunities and to have a place to sit back and gather our thoughts of the event.

The wineries were split up into two different rooms based in alphabetical order.   I stayed in the I though Z room for the most part, highly concentrated on the T section.

The reason: Truett Hurst Winery, their three zinfandel’s, one pinot noir, one petite sirah, owner Phil Hurst and General Manager Jim Morris.  The Zins were a perfect balance of being bold without over powering the taste buds and the company was one of the most welcoming, friendly and humorous out of all wineries there.  It doesn’t hurt that they happened to be the only winery there that was on Twitter (please comment if I am wrong) – and we (Ashley, Ward and I) are all Twitter obsessed.

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I sent this image to Twitter of us three with Jim.

truett-hurst-sign

An image I sent to Twitter saying that Truett Hurst “gets” Social Media: Truett Hurst is Everywhere.

Without naming names, I will say that some of the wineries that were there were semi to extremely close minded to the thought of social media.  Visiting as many wineries as I could, I talked to many of them about what they were doing online to promote their brand.  Most of the response to my question was “What is Twitter?” or “I do not know how to start” or “No, we don’t believe in that.”  Needless to say, I took all their business cards and have sent an email letting them know I would love to speak to them more about the power of social media for brands.

I tweeted my frustration while at the event and my favorite response was from Penelope Gadd-Coster, owner and winemaker of Coral Mustang Winery.

“Most wineries don’t even blog, let alone do any social networking”

It reminds me of a past wine client and their CEO who thought that the internet was not where their customers where… This was a year ago…. So much has changed, yet so much remains the same.

I am just thankful to be in the presence of innovators such as the folks at Wine 2.0, fellow wine bloggers who I now call my friends and wineries such as Truett Hurst.


wbw post #1: my breakfast habits.

The January Wine Blogging Wednesday challenge has left me taking a deep look at my morning habits. El Jefe of Twister Oak Winery (yes, the winery with the  infamous Rubber Chicken) asked us to pair a glass of wine with breakfast. A great and difficult concept that has finally got me excited for a WBW challenge.

On a normal weekday I wake up, check my email, play a round of Scrabble on Facebook and then I GET OUT OF BED. This method isn’t necessarily unproductive. Actually, it is a nice change of pace from the years of having to jump out of bed, quickly get ready and run off to work at 8AM. Though it leaves me with an unsettling feeling like I am missing something. Maybe because I do all of this while half asleep.

I usually eat my breakfast of either a packet of oatmeal or an English muffin and peanut butter and a cup of Yerba Mate tea when I get into work.

This week marked my first week back in college. I decided to take a PR class at the Santa Rosa Junior College on Tuesday and Tuesday mornings which means that now my morning habits will have to include some type of breakfast so I don’t go broke and fat from grabbing a chocolate croissant every morning.

My new goal is to get out of bed, make breakfast, shower and then get on my laptop to answer emails and eat my breakfast — away from the comforts of my comfy bed.

As I ponder if my attempt to change my breakfast habits will actually play out in the long run, my mind wanders back over to wine and what breakfast items wine pairs with. El Jefe did say that any sparkling wine would not work with this challenge because it is too easy.

The recipe I decided to go with is adaptation of one from ChooseVeg.com. A Vegan “Bacon”, Potato, and Green Onion Frittata.  I have been been one to follow direction, nor did I want to eat “baco’s” I changed the recipe slightly.

Since I have been harassed constantly about bacon over the last few months (on Twitter, Facebook and even in real life) I decided this would be my chance to test out tofu bacon. Yes, tofu that is made to look and apparently taste like bacon.

The meal is now planned, but now I have to figure out which wine goes best with my vegan and tofu bacon frittata. Thankfully, I am more of a savory breakfast eater than a sweet one (though DO NOT get me started on waffles) so the wine choice was relativity easy— A bottle of 2005 Bella Vineyard Zinfandel that I picked up from my latest wine tasting adventure.

So….

I just realized I wrote too much for me to want to put in one blog post so be on the lookout for another posting about my adventures with wine and tofu bacon.


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