September 2009 Blog Posts (17)

Joining the Boy Scouts!

I spent 7 years as a Scoutmaster where I tried to instill an attitude that the scouts in my troop planned for the best, prepared for the worst, & tried with every ounce of energy to succeed. The BSA simplified that as their motto of “Be Prepared”.

During the past weeks every time I turn a page or click the mouse I see an article about next year’s wine business & predictions for 2010. Some are upbeat, many are neutral, but very few paint a dark image. No one likes to read doom… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 30, 2009 at 9:11am — No Comments

Mountain Majesty

Napa Winery Elaborates Two Styles of Cabernet from its Steep Hillside Vineyards.

An Interview with the Talent Behind Spring Mountain Vineyard.

Grace and Complexity. Power and Intensity. These are the discrete expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon that we tend to associate respectively with the Old and New World. Yet one Napa Valley winery, in tapping the fullest potential of its mountainside grapevines, seems to have succeeded in… Continue

Added by Nikitas Magel on September 29, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

Wine Walk & Shop ,Truckee,CA Oct 3rd. 2009

Our annual wine tasting in downtown Historic Truckee is next Saturday, Oct 3rd from noon to four. 30 wineries with at least 2 wines each, a red and a white, and most of the restaurants will have tasty bits to share all for only $25 in advance and $35 the day of. You should know that you have to walk around at least 2 or 3 blocks to taste it all. One shop, Sweets, has CHOCOLATE! and usually with a port pairing! Parking is free that day!

see the big and fancy link for more details.… Continue

Added by Judith V. on September 27, 2009 at 11:34am — No Comments

"They Were The Best of Guests, They Were The Worst of Guests..."

Despite our best efforts and our deeply entrenched sense of hospitality, occasional guest dissatisfaction is a fact of life in our business. Sometimes it’s food over or under cooked; or the accidental beverage spill on a cashmere sweater; long waits for courses or maybe some other half imagined, half true issue. Whatever the case, the staff’s reaction and handling of complaints should be as professional and accommodating as possible. Sometimes, however, they don’t make it easy, these… Continue

Added by Patrick Loomis on September 27, 2009 at 10:27am — 1 Comment

American Grand Cru classifications, is there any debate?

Back in 2007 an article appeared in food and wine magazine called The American Grand Cru debate. The work I thought was well researched and written, and included quotes from well several very known producers, along with Robert Parker...among others. Only by my read there was no real debate, but instead a discussion emerged about when an American Grand Cru system becomes a reality, some (a few) may have to share coveted status, while many, many others would gain deserved recognition in the… Continue

Added by Gregoire on September 23, 2009 at 7:04pm — No Comments

The green wars part 2 (organic, Biodynamic® & sustainable tasting notes)

Here’s the lowdown on some of the more notable – if not fantastic – organic, Biodynamic®, and sustainably grown wines tasted during (and just after) my most recent jaunt (August 2009) through the West Coast. For an explication of the green delineations, please refer to previous pieces on… Continue

Added by Randy Caparoso on September 22, 2009 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Peak Performer

Napa Trailblazer Continues to Reshape New Identity with Mountain Cabernets.

An Interview with the Winemaker of Atlas Peak Winery.

Throughout the 1990s, Atlas Peak Winery built and enjoyed renown in the marketplace for the Sangiovese varietal wine it produced from the elevation after which it was named. But with the new Millennium came broad changes to Napa's wine industry, not the least of which was an upsurge in the production of… Continue

Added by Nikitas Magel on September 22, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

The Future is Here!

Four weeks ago I published a blog entitled “It’s Not Social Media it is a Total Change in Our Way of Life!”; where I wrote about the future impact of phone apps on the wine industry. In that blog (and also in ”United You May Stand, Divide You May Fall”) I mentioned that wine associations should start thinking about developing phone apps for their members. Last week I received an… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 21, 2009 at 10:30am — No Comments

The war between the greens (sustainable vs. organic vs. Biodynamic® viticulture)

Green wines have become more plentiful and better than ever, which is good news for all of us, and the environment.

One of the unseemly aspects of this inexorable movement, on the other hand, is the public sniping between the various sustainable, certified organic, and Biodynamic® camps; and I have to say, what’s even more disappointing are sides taken by individuals… Continue

Added by Randy Caparoso on September 20, 2009 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Is Your Glass Half Filled?

As I see it there are seven groups involved with the wine business; an industry in turmoil. I have always felt that whenever there is chaos there is opportunity. If you are in the wine business are you ready to do that?

Domestic Wineries – I could write pages & pages on just this topic (but not now). This is the sector where I believe that there is the most chaos. After a decade of grow (for the most part) we are seeing one of the most challenging business environments in… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 16, 2009 at 4:54pm — No Comments

An Uncommon Consultant

Former Chateauneuf-du-Pape Producer Conveys Efficacy of Biodynamic Viticulture.

An Interview with Wine Consultant Philippe Armenier.

Biodynamic viticulture was something with which I'd been vaguely familiar when I first learned about the work of wine consultant Philippe Armenier. It was during an interview I conducted some time ago with one of his clients that I began to suspect that this once-obscure approach to winegrowing was… Continue

Added by Nikitas Magel on September 15, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

United You Can Stand, Divided You May Fall!

About two months ago I reached out to a number of winery owners around the world trying to get a sense of how cooperative various wine association members were with each other in terms of sharing valuable data.

Since those inquiries went out (and answers returned) a lot has happened in the wine industry but I would bet that nothing has changed. It is my contention that most wineries were too busy selling wine to really pay much attention to the direct to consumer sales over the last… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 14, 2009 at 11:02am — No Comments

Are Your Ducks Lined Up?

You may prefer Robert Parker’s rating system for wine, but the latest issue of Wine Spectator (Oct 16th, 2009) should be causing alarm bells to be going off if you are a winery.

With a circulation of over 300,000 an issue, that magazine does affect a lot of wine drinkers’ decisions, and if this special issue doesn’t stop you in your strategic tracks I strongly suggest that you contact someone like John Corcoran (… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 11, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Mark’s Vision of the Dark Side of the Moon!

The Wine Industry is moving into uncharted waters. No one had ever seen the backside (dark side) of the moon until the astronauts circled the moon 40 years ago, and even then we never get a complete view. Last year the movie “Bottle Shock” chronicled the dramatic win by Chateau Montelena at the Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976. It forever changed the fortunes of Napa county wineries and eventually the global wine business.

Once again we are at a point where Bottle Shock 2 may be… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 10, 2009 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Social Media Use By Restaurants (NYC, SFO & PDX)

Social Media Use By Restaurants (NYC, SFO & PDX)

Initial Results of New York, San Francisco Bay Area and Portland OR Markets is compiling the results of an exhaustive study of social media use by the restaurant industry nationally. Some preliminary discoveries are very intriguing.

While the entire study encompasses sixteen (16) major metropolitan areas, we’d like to share initial results from New York, Portland Oregon and the… Continue

Added by Jeffrey J Kingman on September 10, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Words of Wisdom from Four Leaders

It would be easy to use my words to again help promote the World Wine Tour 2010, but I believe that the weight of these important individuals will have a greater impact. There is still a ways to go to reach their fundraising goal to complete the full tour, so please go to: to donate to this worthy cause. To date more than $15,000 has been raised, but just over $20,000 is still needed. Please… Continue

Added by Mark T. Norman on September 9, 2009 at 2:06pm — No Comments

Budbreak of a Brand

Budding Wine Brand Articulates Burgundian Varietals in the Russian River Valley.

An Interview with the Winemaker of Benovia Winery.

The business of wine production is frought with considerable challenges. Beyond these, launching a premium brand is a monumental undertaking requiring a tremendous amount of resources, talent, experience, planning, and above all, a clear vision for how that brand will position itself among the seemingly… Continue

Added by Nikitas Magel on September 8, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

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