Charles Krug Winery Celebrates 150 years

150th Anniversary Magnum

150th Anniversary Magnum

Follow the hashtag #CharlesKrugLive on Twitter at 8pm EST on Wednesday May 28th.  The virtual tasting will be hosted by Peter Mondavi Jr.  This year also marks Peter Mondavi seniors 100th birthday.  During the virtual tasting fans who have picked up their own bottles of the current Charles Krug vintages will be guided through a tasting and discussion. The Charles Krug Winery is also releasing a very limited production 150th anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum format from their 2008 vintage.

World Wide #Cabernet Day

If you are on Twitter and enjoy wine you won’t want to miss #Cabernet on Thursday September 2nd, 2010.  With over 50 wineries and over 100 restaurants participating from all over the world this is sure to be the biggest online tasting ever.  You can participate by following the hashtag #Cabernet.  This online gathering is the brainchild of Rick Bakkas and St Supery.  Rick is a  social media expert and works for St Supery winery in California.  Rick has hosted online events like this before, but this one is definitely getting the most “buzz” pardon the pun.

Check out the Event Brite listing to see a list of participating wineries and restaurants.  If you are in the Phoenix Metro area give Morton’s Steakhouse a call  (they are one of the sponsors)  They are offering BV Coastal Cabernet for $6 a glass.

Morton’s Phoenix: 602 955 9577

Morton’s Scottsdale: 480 951 4440

If you are hosting a party or event and want to promote it, please leave your info in the comment section below!  Cheers!

Innovative Branding: Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer at the Wrigley Mansion

In July I attended a Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer held at the Wrigley Mansion.  The featured winery was Arizona Stronghold.  I received an email with the event details, I quickly scanned the email and noticed two things:  Free and Wrigley Mansion.  Sounds great!  The day of the event I just wanted to make sure of the time so I quickly googled the event.  Nothing came up…I went on the Wrigley website and checked out the calendar.  Nothing.  Finally I logged in and checked my email, and as I had previously thought it said 4pm.  I always double check these things.

I arrived at the mansion and was greeted by the friendly staff who directed me to the wine event.  Once there I checked in at the greeter station and picked up a name tag.  A quick glance around

Jeff Hecht

the room and I started to recognize people, some of whom I have never met!  How is that possible?  Twitter.  Most people have a picture of their face as an avatar, which is very helpful in situations like this.  I started out with a conversation with Molly Maguth.  She coordinated the event and is a public relations account manager for MMA advertising, a premier metro phoenix advertising and PR agency.  The pieces of the puzzle started to fall together.  MMA handles the Wrigley account as well as the Arizona Stronghold account.  I found the idea to piggyback the two clients into one event to be very interesting.  The even more interesting thing was the very deliberate selection of guests.  I had a chance to ask Ms. Maguth and Jeff Hecht, director of public relations for MMA about the reasoning behind the selection process.  They explained that everyone that had been invited was either a Concierge at a metro Phoenix resort style hotel, or a prominent member of local social media.  So what was I doing there I wondered!  Then it hit me.  After 8 months of wine blogging, the Weekly Wine Journal might have actually crossed the relevance threshold!

Back to the guests…  every year millions of people visit the Valley of the Sun.  And some of these people stay at wonderful resort style hotels complete with a full time concierge.  The concierge deals directly with the public, often answering questions about the local community and giving recommendations on where to eat and where to visit. They are influencers in every sense of the word.  The second angle on the guest list was the local social media influencers.  I have written about the power of social media over at as well.

This event was a great case study in guest selection.  Although I wasn’t able to meet all the guests I did run into the following Twitter personalities:

@AZVineyardGuy, @AZWineries, @AZVinesandWines @Noshtopia – also known as @skinnyjeans, @CChaserun @ReneeMoorePR

Just these personalities alone have a combined 50,000+ followers on Twitter ( Stephanie @skinnyjeans is responsible for at least 48,000 of them) but Twitter is not  only about how many followers you have, it’s also about your influence.  @AZVineyardGuy, Josh Moffit is Arizona’s go to guy for vineyard real estate and has over 2,500 acres of land in his portfolio.

Josh Moffit

His lovely wife, Rhonni Moffit ( @AZWineries and @AZVinesandWines) is the executive director of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.  @CChaserun is Colleen Chase, and she runs a joint venture wine tour company with her sister called Arizona Grape Escapes.

Collen Chase

They take up to a dozen people on Arizona wine country tours every weekend.  @SkinnyJeans is Stephanie Quilao.  She is a professional blogger and has really taken it to the next level with her Noshtopia website.  Renee Moore is in PR as you might have guessed from her Twitter handle, @ReneeMoorePR.

This event was the best wine tasting I’ve been to.  I’ve been to a few, and I thought this was so well coordinated in terms of the guests, the setting and the wine.  I noticed that all the wines were being taken care of in terms of proper serving temperature.

Nice work keeping the wines cool!

Arizona is very hot and my pet peeve is people serving red wine at room temperature in Arizona, so I thought that attention to quality control and detail was very refreshing.  Secondly the guests were extremely engaging.  We would have stayed all night talking!  Right now MMA has no plans to handle other wine accounts as they want to focus solely on the Arizona Stronghold brand.  However, they do handle other accounts, large accounts such as The Mayo Clinic, Harkins Theatres and Desert Schools Credit Union.  MMA has a combined 70 years experience in Advertising branding and PR in just it’s 3 principals.  They really know there stuff, and especially the new media way of doing things.  They get social media, they get viral marketing.  It was exciting to be a part of this event, and I am looking forward to future events by MMA and Arizona Stronghold.

What say you?  Branding and PR, have you seen good/bad examples?  Is marketing and branding a wine different from say branding a potato chip?  What do you think of social media’s role in branding?

go ahead, don’t be afraid…comment! 🙂 If I missed anyone out please let me know, I will add them

Molly Maguth on Twitter
Jeff Hecht on Twitter
MMA Homepage
Wrigley Mansion Homepage
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards homepage

“I’m a Blogger” is the new “I’m in a Band” !

The late ’80’s and early ’90’s was an amazing time for live music if you lived in the Pacific Northwest.

Old School

During that time it seemed that everyone was in a band or starting a side project with members of another band.  Bands like Green River, Mudhoney and The Melvins were DIY before DIY even existed.  Bands like Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden and The Screaming Trees brought the Seattle Sound a step closer to the masses.  And eventually the movement exploded with the success of Pearl Jam and Nirvana.  There were over 80,000 people at Lollapalooza ’91 at the King County Fairgrounds in Enumclaw, Washington State.  Organizers were completely overwhelmed when 4 times as many people as they had expected arrived.  All pretty much by word of mouth and one ahead of the curve radio station,   Unfortunately I missed Lollapalooza that year as I had only $2 to my name at the time and decided to spend it on a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee instead. “Back in the day” in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia there were dozens and dozens of bands all contributing to a vibrant local scene.  Independent record labels like Sub Pop from Seattle were springing up across the city.  Scratch records and Zulu records were just a couple.  By the summer of 1993 my own band was ready to move out of the rehearsal space and begin playing shows at bars.  Unfortunately or fortunately most bars were still mostly interested in bands that could play cover songs all night.  In 1993 there was really no internet and very few cell phones.  So how did bands promote themselves??  Word of Mouth and networking.  If you had friends in a band, you would always make sure to go to their shows, and they would return the favor.

Live bands tonight! $5 Cover. Full Bar!

We would put up posters on vacant buildings, we would print up handbills and hand them out the night of our shows.  Shows would be held in small art galleries, in empty warehouses, in restaurants.  A whole underground music culture developed independent of the gate keepers at all of the local bars.  At a decent boozecan show you could expect hundreds of people to show up, all looking for cheap drinks and LIVE music.  I managed to get in contact with most of the bands in the city by placing a $20 ad in the local independent newspaper: “bands wanted” and my home phone number.  I had an answering machine with a voice message to the effect “leave your band name and number’.  I stored all of this information in a Rolodex.

Fast forward to 2010.

The Door to the Future

There have been huge advancements in communication technology, but I think the basic time tested system is still the way it works.  Build a network by word of mouth.  These days blogs are exploding in number like bands were 20 years ago.  Everyone has a blog or writes for a blog, or is starting a new blog, branding themselves promoting themselves just like before. Some blogs are better than others.  Content is like songs.  Catchy songs helped people remember your band just like great content brings people to your blog nowadays.  If you visit a blog and comment, they’ll do the same, we trade links on our blog rolls, we attend each others tweetups just like the band scene and community provided mutual support in the past. We share in each others successes, we say things like “I knew so and so before they made it’.  We are building communities around the subjects we are passionate about, just like we built a fan base centered around different genres of music.  In the music scene of the past eventually bands would jam with each other onstage and form side projects.  The most well known side project ever is probably Temple of the Dog a collaboration between members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.  These days bloggers regularly make guest appearances on each others blogs and many bloggers have decided to start multiple blogs.

And I have noticed that “I’m a blogger”, is the new “I’m in a band”  It elicits the same response “Really?  what kind of music do you play, where do you play? Do you have a tape/CD?  or Really? what do you blog about? How much traffic do you get?”  People are genuinely interested. They view blogging in the same way as being in a band was viewed.  You are viewed as an influencer,  a trend setter in the community.  And secondly blogging has largely been a response to being shut out of the system by the big gatekeepers of our day.  When we couldn’t catch a break back in 1992, we would rent a hall or gallery and make our own shows.  In Vancouver, a whole music showcase called “Music Waste” was developed as a response to the exclusive and industry/radio friendly “Music West”.

Something else I’ve noticed is that a lot of bloggers are actually musicians too!  I guess creative types are drawn to mediums in which they can create right?

What do you think?  Are you old enough to remember the Seattle Scene? Was there a scene like that in your town “back in the day” ?   Hows your local blogging community coming along.  Are you making the effort to connect in real life as well as online?


Is Twitter the new eHarmony?

I don’t remember where I heard it but someone said “Twitter is the new eHarmony”.

Art Department budget: $0

Initially I scoffed at the idea.  Twitter is for professionals.  Professionals don’t mix business with pleasure, ridiculous!  But then…

Tweetups.  Meetups of people on Twitter.  In my case, wine tweetups.  Suddenly I am surrounded by social people who share a passion for wine, for exploring their senses and who are interested in learning.  Twitter is still very new, there is much to learn, it is still evolving, so I think at this point Twitter is attracting a sort of trend setting crowd of early adopters.  Nevertheless I am noticing a vibe, a trend at the tweetups I have been to.  People are genuinely interested in each other!  Who are you?  What do you do?  What are you passionate about, and what do you do to pay the bills?  Sometimes they are one and the same.  Sure there is an element of networking and a professional theme (somewhat)  but after you start to meet the same people and get to know a group of like minded individuals, I can honestly say that they become friends.  Can that lead to more than friends?  Probably, I don’t have any examples as of yet.  Do you?  What do you think?  Keep it professional, or go with the flow see what happens?

Wineries and Tweetups: How to

I get quite a bit of email from wineries on the subject of Tweetups.

Imagine a Tweetup this big!

I wrote a guest article for Gary Vaynerchuk’s on the subject to touch on the benefits. See the article HERE.  This resulted in a whole bunch more emails with specific questions about the nuts and bolts, the details of how to do the Tweetup thing.  So I put together a quick little reference specifically for wineries based on the email help I provided this weekend.

Participate in every #varietal tweetup #cabernet #merlot #shiraz ect.  Varietal Tweetups promote wine in general and a specific varietal.  Successful examples are @rickbakas ‘s #calicabs which featured California Cabernet’s.  Josh Wade’s ( @nectarwine) #WAMerlot featured Merlot from Washington State.  Shannon Casey (@michbythebottle) put together Tweet and Taste Michigan and used the #hashtag #TTMI so that people could follow along in real time on twitter.

So step one would be to participate in every #varietal tweetup.  The next BIG BIG event is #Cabernet.  This event is being hosted by Rick Bakas and many well known wineries will be participating.  Wineries like Duckhorn, Cakebread and St Supery.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is (or whatever the next varietal tweetup is)  a wine that you make and have in stock then host a tweetup at the winery.  These events are almost always on a Thursday night, and if your winery is a long way for people to travel don’t expect much more than a few locals to attend, but be sure to email, phone and visit people to promote the fact that you are participating and fun will be going on at your winery or tasting room on that night.  Promote the tweetup on Twitter, Facebook, on your website, on and
If the winery does not have the particular varietal you can still participate just by yourself by going to another winery in the area who does make/carry that varietal and tweet from there.  Or you can have a private party and people can bring their own wine to taste and tweet about.

For tweetups intended to promote your specific brand I suggest contacting  via Direct Message (DM)   Twitter “influencers” and invite them to your tweetup. Or get their contact emails from their blogs.  Most prominent Twitter personalities have a blog.  Tell them that their tasting fee will be waived and there will be some complimentary food for them.  In order to be considered an influencer I would suggest a minimum 1,000 followers and a ratio of pretty close to 1:1  People who follow 10,000 people but only have 1,000 followers are not very influential. Also suggest some local accommodations incase they want to stay over night. Then come up with a hashtag# to identify the event and DM the influencers with the hashtag a few weeks in advance.  Do a soft launch tweeting information about the event with the #hashtag.  Then begin to actively promote the event about 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I believe that you don’t want to be tweeting about the event every day for months before it happens, it will be overkill and people will tune it out.  I would send out a tweet several times a week leading up to the event and then just before it I would step it up and then the day before and the day of the event tweet more as the event draws closer and tweet often when the event starts. Tweet about who is at the event, what people are drinking, how many people are there, how much fun it is ect.  ENGAGE with others, don’t just blast out your information.  Thank people for retweeting your message ask them if they will be attending, ask who else will be attending, be enthusiastic!  According to Dan Zarrella most Retweets happen between 10am and 12 midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  This is apparently Eastern Standard Time, but I believe the same is true no matter what time zone you are in.
Getting back to hosting a tweetup to promote your winery. I would pick 2 or 3 influencers offer them a free tasting and food.  I would also put out a general tweet to all other Twitters and offer some other kind of discount, possibly complimentary cheese plates.  I would do the same on facebook, wineevents and Then when people show up and mention the discount you will be able to track how people heard about the wine tasting and see which form of media is most effective.
another great way to promote events is thru

During the Tweetup I would take lots of pictures for your Facebook Page, and videos for your Youtube Channel which you can embed to your website/blog.  I would limit the length of each video to 1-3 minutes maximum.  People have short attention spans.  If you visit my Youtube channel you will see that I don’t always follow the time limit rule, it’s mainly because I don’t feel like it!

One more useful event to participate in on a regular basis is #WIYG.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal came up with the idea.  It stands for Whats In Your Glass.  Most Friday and Saturday nights if you sent her an @ message with the hashtag #WIYG and a photo of what you are drinking, she will Retweet it.

Please email me any questions or feel free to contact the references below:

Josh Wade @nectarwine

Rick Bakas @RickBakas #Cabernet information

Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal

Shannon Casey @michbythebottle

Brian Solis’s post analyzing Dan Zarrella’s information

The Big Wine Tweetup: Scottsdale June 16th, 2010

Are you a business owner wondering about the value, the ROI of twitter and social media? Let me tell you about The Big Wine Tweetup that happened in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday June 16th, 2010.  The event was organized by a group of twitterers based in the metro Phoenix area to do something special for fellow Seattle based Twitter personality and social media expert, Seattle Wine Gal.  The Big Wine Tweetup was a two part event.

The first part was a dinner organized by Foodies Like Us co-owner Susie Timm and was held at FnB restaurant.  Guests included @SeattleWineGal, @bspargo, @gritsnyc and hubby, @dragonflytweet, @diyamarketing and @CookieCaroline.  I asked Seattle Wine Gal to observe the way co-owner of FnB, Pavle Milic, greeted every customer.  He greets everyone as a guest of honor, so warm and friendly – something totally lacking in most restaurant experiences these days.  For wines we enjoyed some of Sam Pillsbury’s Rose and some sparkling Chardonnay from Canelo Hills.

After dinner we headed around the corner to Kazimierz World Wine Bar.  Thanks to @foodieslikeus and @ciaomari for the reservations.  This is where the tweetup got interesting, and where the ROI of twitter began to show itself.  We were joined by quite a few people and the group swelled to more than 20 people.  We were moving furniture around and eventually took up the whole front entrance all the way up to the bar, and even that wasnt enough room.  We were joined by Arizona Wine Grower’s Association executive director Rhonnie Moffit (@AZWineries) and her husband @AZVineyardguy.  Also in attendance was Bulbstorm’s @Tena_Hartwig, @Cardiogoop, @DesertSmokeBBQ, @Sandy161, @KadeDworkin, @mywinehelper.  There were also a bunch of people who were not twitterers, but were friends of twitterers and just wanted to come out and have a good time.

So, how much money do you think

Could you use a few more customers?

we all dropped on dinner and after dinner drinks?  How much do you think that is worth to a business owner?  I counted up the total followers of all the Twitterers at the wine bar and it was over 22,000.  Everyone sent out a few messages during the even- as people on twitter have a difficult time not tweeting about something fun they are doing! How much do you think it is worth to a business to have their name sent out to 20,000+ people, repeatedly.  And the next day too, as people were remarking about what a great time they had.

If you are a business owner you might want to think about getting involved in a tweetup.  But how do you do that?  How do you organize it, especially if you are not even on Twitter?  Just reach out to people who are.  You can reach out to me! @wklywinejournal  or send me an email.  If you are in the Metro Phoenix area you can reach out to any of the twitterers I mentioned I’m sure they would be glad to point you in the right direction.  Getting back to what it might be worth to host a Tweetup, a Wine Tweetup or a cocktail hour Tweetup.  It might be worth offering some kind of discount to the Twitter community.  After all, you are going to be getting a ton of buzz from the event.  And just think, what if your Tweetup had 40 or 50 people, tweeting to 40 or 50 thousand people?  You could have a packed house!

The next Big Wine Tweetup is being planned right now, the Weekly Wine Journal is looking for interested guests and hosts, so get in touch!

How to have a wine tweetup

If you are on twitter you might be familiar with the term “tweetup”.  Just to recap:  A tweetup is when fellow twitterers meet up in real life, usually after work at a wine bar, pub or restaurant.  There are two basic points of view or categories of the tweetup

1. You are a twitterer, a social person, looking to host a tweetup at a location where you can meet people with common interests.  You might be a blogger writing about local restaurants, or even a wine blogger!

2. You are a business  looking to host a tweetup at your location in order to promote your business through social media.   You might be a restaurant, wine bar or winery.

My focus will be on category #1 because I am a blogger and twitterer.

The first thing you need to do is check your twitter follower strategy.  There is no sense tweeting about a #wine #tweetup in #scottsdale Arizona, when most of your followers are from Washington State, Vancouver British Columbia and New York City.  I learned this the hard way.

Before you start doing anything you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What is the purpose of this tweetup?

Is it to meet as many people who share a common interest as possible? Is is it to meet as many of your followers as possible?  Is it to meet specific followers of interest and influence? All of the above?

If you have a strong local following finding people to attend shouldn’t be too difficult, just send out a tweet.  If you don’t have a lot of local followers and want to meet as many people who share your interest in wine  send your tweets with the following hashtags: #wine #tweetup and #the-name-of-your-city.

Does anyone respond? Send out the tweet in the morning then again before lunch and maybe another one in the late afternoon.  Do this at least several days before the tweetup to give people time to plan ahead.  Don’t be too surprised if no one responds right away.

If you are looking to target specific followers and people of influence you should look thru your Direct Messages and contact those people via DM …

“Just a quick note, thinking of having a wine tweetup, you interested?”  Something like that. You might want to include foodies, food critics, writer’s, artists, an eclectic group.  Or you might want to include just the most influential PR people in your area.  It’s up to you what the mix is, but you need to be aware of it.  You need to think about the dynamic between quantity vs. quality.  My first tweetup was a small group of quality connections.  In the future I plan on hosting a larger group to experience that dynamic as well.

While you are waiting for responses you can start to choose a venue for your wine tweetup.  Your best bet is a restaurant with a decent wine list, or a wine bar.  How do you choose the venue?  Google “wine bar” and your city.  You will come up with a list.  Quickly go through the list and visit each place’s website.  Check the wine list, check the location.  Make a list of about 3 to  5 places. Make notes and write down contact information.

Next, make contact.  Should you call, or write an email, or use twitter?  You should do all the above if you want to make sure they get your message.  Leave a message if you get voice mail.  You need to make contact with the manager or prefferably the owner.  You don’t want to be making plans with whoever answers the phone at the front desk.  Nothing against people who work in that position but you are going to be making a business proposition not a reservation.  When you talk with the manager or owner you should explain that you are a twitterer, a blogger and what you blog or tweet about and that you are looking for a venue to host a meeting of people who follow you.  If you are just starting out with your food or wine blog don’t expect anything in return for hosting this event.  The restaurant wine bar winery might not know who you are, you will probably have to prove something first.

However, if you have a decent blog and can point to site stats like how many hits a day you get, how many subscribers you have, how many local twitterer followers you have you should probably make them aware of that.  You need to let them know that hosting this event will bring their business a lot of “free” press.  In return for this free press, you would like to know what they are prepared to offer you.  Don’t be pushy, snooty or demanding about it, you just need to ask.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  If you are emailing them you might want to include a link to an article extolling the benefits of hosting a tweetup at your place of business.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal has a good one here. Josh Wade @nectarwine also has a good article on it here

Okay so where are we?

1.You’ve sent out  tweets  letting everyone that follows or everyone in your area interested in wine, or specific followers  know that you are thinking about putting together a wine tweetup.

2.You’ve Direct Messaged people on your DM radar about your plans

3. You’ve contacted possible venues.

Next, you are going to need to make some decisions about which venue to choose.  For me, in my first wine tweetup the choice was pretty simple:  I chose the only place that responded!  Next, choose a day and time.  I chose Thursday night at 7:30.  A lot of people have other plans on Friday and Saturday nights and unless your wine tweetup is the talk of the town it might be difficult to pry them away from their other plans.  Also give people enough time to get home from work and change, or at least to grab a quick inexpensive bite to eat before meeting up.  That way people can have more $$ to spend on wine, but it’s also not too late to eat at the tweetup if they are hungry.

So lets say you’ve decided where to have the tweetup. The venue will need to know how many seats to reserve.  Now you are going to need to do some quick juggling.  Tell them based on your initial guesstimate that you will need a reservation for X amount of people but that you will get back to them by a specific time  with a more definitive answer.  Ask your contact what is their preferred method of communication, and make sure you communicate with them like you said you would.  If you said you will get back to them by 4pm, then get back to them by 4pm, even if you have no new news.  It is important to do what you say and do it by the time you say you’ll do it in order to build credibility.  That goes for all aspects of life.

Now you need to move quickly and with a sense of urgency.  Tweet, Direct Message and get people to commit.  Get back the the venue with a concrete number.  It’s very important to keep in constant contact with the venue about the number of guests you are planning on bringing.  That was one of the mistakes I made.  I made a reservation for 5 people, and on the day of the tweetup I learned that there were now going to be 10 people, I left a twitter message, but did not follow up with a phone call.  A restaurant manager or owner is a very busy person.  They do not have time to check twitter all day long.  But when the phone rings, they answer it.  Luckily for my tweetup the owner and staff were top notch problem solvers and managed to make a table for 10—in a restaurant that seats less than 40!  But you might not be so lucky.

So now you’ve got the venue, you’ve got X amount of people committed to coming at 7:30pm or whatever time you chose.  It’s very important for you as the host to arrive early.  I suggest no less than 15 minutes prior to the reservation time.  This way you can greet the guests as they arrive.  You can introduce yourself to the owner/manager.  You can observe the facilities, make some notes, maybe do a little tweeting on your smartphone.  You can also grab a big glass of water.

The guests arrive, you’ve got your table…you’re on your own now!

Any Questions?  Leave a comment or email me:  weeklywinejournal at gmail do com