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

Posts tagged “wine

the simplicity of chocolate and wine.

There is a reason that chocolate and wine are a perfect pair.  Both are two of my favorite items to consume.  Both enhance the flavors of anything that either is paired with.  Both start off as a fruit (cacao beans or grapes).  Both are products of their environment, and if grown with the proper care, it is a fairly simplistic process to create the final result.  As Erik Olsen at Kokomo Winery stated in an interview with The Wine Spies, his wine making philosophy is to “try my best to keep my own personal thumbprint off the wines I make.  Instead, I try to make wines that show the terroir or convey a real sense of the place where they were grown.  I want the fruit and the vineyard to really shine through.”

At the Wine 2.0 Expo last Thursday, I met up with a few folks at TCHO chocolate.  They were the one of the only non-alcohol related brands at the event and it was a welcomed booth at the wine/technology event.  Back when I was working with Scharffen Berger on their pr efforts, I took a great interest in the story of TCHO.

It is a new chocolate brand that started last year in “beta” form, meaning they sent out samples of their chocolate in plain brown packs to members of the media and bloggers.  No fancy packaging or gimmicks – just quality chocolate.  It was such a great PR move in my eye.  A bit of mystery about the brand before releasing it to the public is a gutsy move on their part and thankfully they have quality chocolate to back it up.  It is simple chocolate without any added flavors and currently comes in 4 different varieties.  Each with it’s own characteristic. Chocolaty, nutty, fruity and citrus.

Now, they have a great new high-tech design (TCHO 1.0), a retail location in San Francisco and can be found in many different tasting rooms and gourmet shops in Sonoma and Napa Counties (including Jimtown and the Cheese Shop in Healdsburg).  Go to TCHO IS to see TCHO’s philosophy, it is a fun read.

They are branching out into the wine and technology world so it is logical to see them at Wine 2.0, which was created as a mixture of both.  I look forward to seeing TCHO 2.0* and them diving more into the social media world where they are a perfect fit with the bacon loving blogger crowd!

*I think I may know of someone who would love to help… Cough, cough… Amy and team.

A winery that really stood out for me at the Expo was Round Pond Estate, a Napa Valley winery out of Rutherford.  With a few limited-production varietals and handpicked fruit, olive oils and red wine vinegars, they are the type of family owned Napa winery that I can respect.  The wine was made to respect to the fruit and the vineyards, same with their olive oils.

46146032Miles MacDonnell, who runs the winery, is the reason that I even visited the booth in the first place.  He was right next to the Titus booth and he asked me to “stick my finger out.”  Honestly, how could I not listen to this guy?  He placed a drop of the Estate’s Myer Lemon Olive Oil on my pointer finger and poured me their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  I was shocked that the combination of the lemony olive oil and the cherry cab actually paired very well together.  The cab mellowed out the tanginess of the lemon and vice versa.  Both products were very clean tasting, with no heavy, lingering aftertaste. The pairing was a great treat, especially considering what usually happened when people ask you to pull their fingers.

Tastings are by reservation only, so if you are headed out to Rutherford, give them a call.

Once again, the Wine 2.0 boys threw a great party.  I met so many wonderful new contacts and Twitter friends via the plasma screens streaming tweets all night.  I do look forward to the next event and the continuation of the fusion of wine (food) and technology through social media and beyond.

Now, I am hungry!


imported beer, wine sales slipped in ’08.

Since you can only read article’s from Media Post if you are a member (sign up for free here, I promise you will not be disappointed) I want to copy and paste an article I read about the trend of trading-down with wine and beer. (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.


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.


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!”

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.


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.


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.

wbw post #2: the tofu bacon and Bella Zin.

It is a lovely Saturday morning in Alexander Valley. The weather is a surprising 75 degrees in January, it may be global warming but at this time in my life I am loving the Northern California heat. The perfect opportunity to eat breakfast and drink some wine on my back patio.

Since I spent a whole post talking about my morning habits, this post is my official Wine Blogging Wednesday (or Saturday) post*.

I bought the Morningstar Veggie Bacon Strips and the other ingredients for my Vegan “Bacon”, Potato, and Green Onion Frittata with the full intent to create this meal and drink it with my 2005 Bella Vineyard Zinfandel.

morningstar Great tagline:  “Bring home the bacon  — Leave the Guilt Behind.”

Once I got home and opened my tofu bacon strips, I was even more hesitant to make this whole meal and be disappointed in the texture and the taste of the tofu bacon. Seriously, look at it… I t looks like a fruit rollup and smells like a chemical version of paprika.


Tofu bacon has always been the “Everest” of tofu by-products for me… Something I have no real desire to try, but I feel like it is something I should — just to say I tried it.  After my tofurkey attempt last Thanksgiving, I am hoping that the tofu bacon could restore my faith in tofu products that attempt to taste and look like meat.

Anyways, this post isn’t just about the tofu bacon or my thoughts on bacon in general.

Yes, bacon still stalks me online.  No, I still have no desire to eat it.

But it is about the wine pairing (it is called Wine Blogging Wednesday, not Shana’s thoughts on breakfast).

2005_big_zinWhat I ended up pairing with my zinfandel is the tofu bacon, frozen hashbrowns and a side of wheat toast.   The cherry and raspberry flavors, along with the hint of cinnamon of the zin actually did pair very well with the tofu bacon’s attempt to taste like the real thing.  The bacon had a smoky paprika taste that in theory wasn’t too bad.

Of course, once again – It was the texture that got to me. The “bacon” was a limp and rubbery, a failed attempt to come anything close to the crispy greasy piece of pork that everyone is so obsessed with.

So after getting through two pieces of the tofu bacon, I decided that this product wasn’t for me and finished the glass of wine with my hashbrowns and toast.

The Bella Zin is a great “food” wine, especially savory items like hashbrowns or possibly real bacon. It compliments the food without overshadowing it. It is also great on its own. Which, after I ate my breakfast, I drank while watching the birds in my backyard play in the one small puddle left over from the last rain (sometime in December).

Another attempt at a tofu product that is supposed to taste like meat ending in an epic fail. I feel like am letting my fellow Vegetarian’s down with my blogs about disliking tofu….  But seriously, I love tofu…  I just think it needs to stick to the basics and not to try be something it is not.


I am still on your side Monsieur Tofu!!

*Another thing of focus for me in 2009 is my procrastination habits. Two weeks to do write this post and I wait until the day after the deadline too post it. Ooops.

wine tasting as just one of the guys.

Recently I spent a day wine tasting throughout Dry Creek Valley.  True, I do this all the time, so it is not blog worthy. The difference is that this time I went with my two roommates and a friend of theirs from Chicago (for this blog post I shall call him Ed, because I like that name, and because it is his actual name).

Did I mention that all three of my wine tasting buddies are of the male species? Yes, a day of wine tasting with three guys.  Oh, and Ed doesn’t even like wine.

Our first stop was Turett Hurst Winery to visit Bob* in the tasting room and to check out the salmon in the creek (at Jim’s suggestion).

“Truett-Hurst Winery is Dry Creek Valley’s newest Biodynamic winery. Our commitment to earth-friendly stewardship is paramount and echoes throughout everything we do, from the scenic stretch of bucolic Dry Creek on which we reside, through the vineyards and tasting room.”

They just opened up a few months back and they are completely remodeling the place to be a sustainable farm slash awesome place to drink some wine and listen to music. I look forward to seeing the barn open up, bringing my niece and nephew to visit the sheep and have a few picnic’s on their lawn next summer.

*Bob was a gracious host. We drank great pinots and zins while Bob and the guys talked about music. It was definitely a great first experience into the wine realm for Ed. He even bought the 2006 Red Rooster Zinfandel.

dan (pic of one of my roommates)

Next we went to visit Ross at Bella Winery. Two years living in Healdsburg and I have yet to visit this beautiful venue.  It is probably because I tend to get stuck drinking wine with Amy at PappaPertrio Perry.


The entire wine cave at Bella was still decked out with Christmas trees that brought an instant smile to my face. The smell was exactly what I think of when I think of Christmas, and the great part was that it was combined with the smell of the oak wine barrels.

Here we tried 3 different zins and a syrah that I even liked. We attempted to show Ed the proper wine glass etiquette by explaining that the correct way to hold a wine glass is by the stem which does not interfere with the temperature of the wine.  It was amusing to see such a big guy attempt to hold the glass by the stem, it just looked so unnatural for him.  I left with a bottle of the 2005 Bella Vineyard Zinfandel.


During my brief period working at the lovely Kokomo Winery (yes, another one of our stops) Becky and I would be on the lookout for a group of guys wine tasting together. It was a rare occurrence for a group only consisting of guys to go out and taste wine together.  When it happened, we loved it though.  They definitely got a good amount of attention from us.

Though, since my adventure some of my questions that are been running through my head are:

  • Is a group of guys wine tasting not “macho” enough?
  • Are they like Ed holding the glass by the stem – Unnatural?

Is it just me that thinks this?

a twisted christmas.

Just wanted to show off my Christmas tree this year.   Ever since I have been living on my own I have lived in apartments either alone or with roommates that hate Christmas.  This year I finally have a large enough place to get a tree that is taller than me. 🙂


I also decided to add a few twisted friends from my favorite winery that I have yet to actually visit: Twisted Oak down in Calveras County, CA