The Impact of Wine Blogging and Social Media in The Wine Industry

People who have taken to internet blogging in order to speak casually about wine, have suddenly become a serious influential force in the wine industry- or so it seems.

In the short, few months that I have been blogging, I’ve stumbled across a vast number of citizen wine bloggers who blog about everything from the ethereal consumption experience of a 30 year old Vouvray to what wines were served at the recent presidential inauguration.

I didn’t realize what sort of influence or at least perceived influence wine bloggers have had on the consumer market, until I started noticing that many of these bloggers actually receive press samples from wineries looking to have their wine reviewed.  Obviously the wineries have some sense that these wine blogs wield some influence on the consumer wine market. Continue reading

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From Rare to Accessible – Cult Wines Make Their Appearance on Retail Shelves

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This was the only view I ever had of Shafer Hillside, until I saw it on a retail shelf recently

I found a good article on SfGate.com revolving around a recent and frequently recurring subject the other day.  I also had a first-hand experience related to the article, so I thought I’d write a little bit about the subject.

The link to the article and a related post by another wine blogger are located at the end of this post.

Not a day goes by on the news networks that you don’t hear the words, stimulus package, job loss and sector meltdown.  Like the financial sector and manufacturing sector, the wine business is not without it’s own challenges.

There’s a particular trickle down effect in the industry that has gotten my attention and the SFGate article examines this particular phenomena.  That effect is the ability of retailers to get previously difficult, or even impossible to get allocations of particular bottlings from wineries.

Wineries, for reasons I’m still unclear about, but will soon find out, prefer to have their best wines on the lists of the best restaurants.  Often times these wines will be allocated to restaurants period, while retailers are left begging and hoping that if they’re in business long enough that they’ll one day secure an allocation from the winery. Continue reading

Renowned Consultant Michel Rolland Visits Honolulu

This is the original, pre-edited version of the article I wrote for The Honolulu Advertiser on February 4th, 2009.  Who says I’m long-winded?

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A giddy fan waits patiently as his Long Shadows Pedestal magnum is signed by Rolland. Yours Truly waiting in the wings for the interview to resume.

On Wednesday, January 28, 2008, Hawaii welcomed world-renown, consulting winemaker Michel Rolland.  Mr. Rolland’s first stop after arriving in the state was here on Oahu to promote his wines during a seminar held at The Honolulu Design Center and Stage Restaurant.

Immediately afterwards, he was to jet off to the Big Island, before heading off to South America and South Africa.  Mr. Rolland spends the majority of his time consulting with clients overseas, so we were indeed lucky for the opportunity to have him here for a formal, yet personal seminar.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mr. Rolland as far as his personality was concerned.  His accomplishments and influence in the wine world are so wide-reaching and impressive; it was hard for me not to be intimidated.  Continue reading

Donn Reisen, President, Ridge Vineyards

donnreisenI was saddened to find out today that Don Reisen, president of Ridge Vineyards passed away on Monday, due to an apparent suicide.

I met Don only once, when we first opened our retail shop in 2006.  He was one of the first winery sales representatives to visit our store.  I didn’t know him personally prior to his visiting our shop.  All I knew is that I really respected Ridge Vineyards and that his connection to the winery was enough to get me revved and excited that he was actually in our store, in the flesh!

He was easy-going, charming, jovial and he had a great sense of humor.  He emanated that kind of energy that just made you want to be his friend.  I still remember pretty clearly a couple of random, but poignant moments in our shop during his visit.

ridgelyttonOne; apparently the wine we were tasting, a Lytton Springs I believe, just wasn’t tasting right, so he promptly re-corked the bottle, shook it up and down vigorously, popped the cork, re-poured it, tasted it and then approved it for further tasting.  Maybe it was an old industry trick, but it was only a few weeks that we had in been in business so it was all new and to me.  It was just a humorous, physical display of actions that’s burned in my memory.

Two; I remember him talking about having “almost checked out early” a few years back when he suffered a horrible accident.  He mentioned how lucky he was to be standing there in our shop.  He told us about a neighbor of his who had one of those trophy wine collections that just sat idle and how he egged him on to finally open one of his aged, prized Bordeaux.  He said in so many words, “life was too short.”

Although winemaker Paul Draper was the one with the high profile at Ridge, Don was just as instrumental in the winery’s success as Paul was.  He was well-respected by industry people as well as countless wine consumers.

Our meeting was brief, but it was meaningful.  I will not forget the visit.

Our condolences to his family.  He will be missed.

Industry News – White wine as healthy as red wine!

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It’s good to see the scientific world constantly undertaking research that proves wine is good for you.  We hear from many different sources on a pretty consistent basis how red wine is good for you, but recent research as cited from a recent article shows that white wine can be just as beneficial as red wine.  Research performed by Dr. Dipak at the University of Connecticut showed that two glasses of white wine per day, given to laboratory rats showed to cause less damage to the rats during a heart attack, than water or grain alcohol.

My question is, how big are these rats?  Unless there’s some human-to-rodent-wine-serving conversion formula I’m not aware of, I’ll assume that the two glasses of wine given to the rats per day were human sized portions.  I can’t imagine that the rats consumed an amount equal to what we would drink on a daily basis.  They might have forgotten to state that the heart attacks suffered by the rats, were due to the sheer volume of liquid they consumed.  Oh well, any research citing the positive effects of wine consumption is good research in my book.

Click here to read the article.

Since substances in the grape skins are what’s responsible for the health benefits, I’m recommending chardonnays.  If there’s any white grape varieties that spend any time on the skins, it’ll be chardonnay.  Here are some toothsome delights even a rodent would love:

Ramey Chardonnay ($38 – $70)- David Ramey makes an appellation series as well as a single vineyard series of chardonnays that are powerful, intricate and most importantly in this case, fleshy.  Check out the winery’s website.

Molnar Family Chardonnay ($22) – All of their wines have a lot of character, but it’s their chardonnay that we really love.  Spice, mineral, acid, oak, it’s all there baby!  Click here for more info.

Heron Chardonnay ($12) – Tremendous value.  Looking for a good house white?  Look no further.  Click here for more info.

On Oahu, most of these wines can be found at Fujioka’s, Tamura’s, The Wine Stop, Vintage Wine Cellar and SWAM.  Call ahead to make sure though or check with your own favorite retail sources if I didn’t mention them.