Hello 2011!

Well, here I am in traditional Irish fashion, showing up to the party (The New Year) late. Maybe I can blame it on the cold I’ve had all week. Certainly when I have a cold there is no wine tasting going on. Cause, really, what’s the point. Wine tasting / drinking is all about smelling and actually tasting, which you can’t do if you’re all plugged up.

One year ago I started this blog (over on Blogger). Half way through the year, I switched over to Word Press. I really like this format much better – especially for uploading pictures. Last year I posted 74 blogs. Pretty good for my rookie year, I think. I also hold down a full time job (in the wine industry) and have two kids under five. A very busy life, for sure. This year, I hope to post more, but most importantly I hope that my posts are informative, educational, and fun.


On to today’s post:

Today I was reminded of something. A trip to Sonoma (or Napa) could be a once in a lifetime trip for some people. For many people probably. This woman in the tasting room today was so excited about being in wine country. She had clearly wanted to visit for a long time. She was only from Las Vegas (about a 9 hour drive or 2 hour plane flight), but just kept saying how happy she was to be here. In the next room, I was hosting a tasting for two local gals and their two friends from Germany. Likely their only time to wine country as well. Then, at the end of the day a group visiting from Japan walked in. Probably the same story there. A few of hundreds of stories today in the valleys.

So, we’ve marketed these places to worldwide consumers and they come in droves – even in the dead of Winter. Do we give them what they’re looking for? Do we show them a good time? Are the things we choose to educate them on interesting to us or them? And the most important item, do they leave the winery as an ambassador for the brand?

Will they go home and say, “Chris at (blank) winery said this….”? “Isn’t that cool?” Or is it all in one ear and out the other? I’ll never know for sure, but certainly I choose what to say to each group based on the feedback they are giving me. If they are engaging and interested, I’ll likely spend more time with them explaining the differences in the wine, wine growing regions.

I guess every once in a while we need a reality check. When you work with the public daily (even at a winery), it’s easy to lose the romance and enchantment that wine country has to offer. Sure, there’s vines and barrels and world-class restaurants along with mountains, valleys and historic and new wineries. Okay, maybe it’s not easy to lose the romance, but it’s easy to get caught up in daily life and miss some things that are happening around you. I think Ferris Bueller said it best, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it…”

Your time in wine country may be short, but don’t forget to look around. It may be your only visit here.


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