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.

ttl-022

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!

12

21

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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.

3

“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.

lizz-149

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….


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