At the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium (yeah, I know… that topic again?!??), the Napa Valley Vintners (a non-profit trade organization that promotes its members wines and the region as a wine powerhouse generally) hooked us (the attendees) up with wines produced by their various association members. A couple of random bottles of what-have-you in the SWAG bag, basically (I think mine contained a Cakebread Cab and Lieff Cab as well).
At one of the “Postprandial Hospitality” (read: “after-party”) tastings, a few attendees noticed a slew of goodie bags stacked in the corner of the room. They were, apparently, extras, and we were encouraged to grab wines out of them as samples if we liked.
I used it as an opportunity to rummage for labels that I hadn’t had opportunity to taste yet – which is becoming more difficult for me when it comes to California wine – and managed to find a few intriguing bottles. One of which was a wine named FOURTEEN from 13 Appellations.
Clever, I thought, probably mixes juice from all of the Napa AVAs. Then it was back to the madness of the Symposium and Premier Napa Valley. FOURTEEN was relegated to a bag, then a box, then to the OAK airport luggage system and the belly of at least two different Southwest airplanes before being shelved unscathed into my basement.
Of course, I’m late to the party (as usual) and it turns out that 13 Appellations has been doing this since 2002, dedicating the wine to the late husband of one of their partners, Kristi Seitz of Brookdale Vineyards. Leave it to me to casually bump into a budding Napa Valley institution, as it were.
Whatever, I was just lookin’ for some tasty juice, alright?!??
Anyway… After retrieving the bottle of FOURTEEN several days later from its temporary cellar banishment, I became much more intrigued about the concept of this wine. After all, this is something that could bring together some of the best aspects of Napa’s diverse soil and temperature profiles; or it could be something that tries so hard to be everything that it ends up being a nothing; instead of transmitting a sense of all Napa places, it might convey a sense of being from nowhere in particular.
So, which is it? How is this wine?…
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I was recently contacted by Rachel Lewis, who is currently working on a marketing master thesis centering on consumer preferences in the US wine market. And YOU can help!
According to Rachel:
“I am currently doing my marketing master thesis for the Aarhus School of Business located in Aarhus, Denmark. I am originally from Minnesota which is part of the reason I wanted to focus on the US market.
I have always had an interest in wine and an urge to learn more so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity. My thesis is focusing more on the consumer aspect of the wine market. Essentially, the reasons why people are buying the wine they buy.
Wine drinkers (your blog readers) should want to fill the survey out because it is essentially a way for them to tell these wine makers their purchasing behaviors and wine preferences. For people who strongly purchase based on the origin and grape of the wine, marketers will be able to define this segment and market specifically to it. It is a way of matching the products to the right consumers. So consumers (wine drinkers) are aware of the products (and buy the products) that align with their preferences.”
Rachel expects to have the results of the data available in about a month, which I plan to share here if possible. So, if you can spare a few minutes, fill out the survey and have your say about how wine should be marketed to you so you can get closer to the type of wines you really want.
Here’s one for the “it’s NOT just me” department:
Remember last week, when I jokingly poked fun (or, as my friends in the U.K. would say, “took the piss out of”) the current state of California vintage reports?
Well, most of the people who left comments and contacted me via twitter, facebook, and e-mail took the piece light-heartedly (thankfully!), and one of those cool people – who happens to work in the PR side of the wine biz – sent me a tool used in wine marketing meetings that proves that I am not the only one who finds humor in the situation of writing vintage reports with serious spin on them.
I give you Wine Bulsh*t Bingo. Just don’t read it while drinking coffee or sipping wine, because you’ll end up either doing a keyboard-destroying spit-take, or unintentionally snorting wine up your nose – because this stuff is scathingly, laugh-out-loud funny. Many thanks to the wonderful person (name withheld for obvious reasons) who passed this one along to me!
In other news, Dale Cruse over at the very cool DrinksAreOnMe.net blog has been running a series in which he asks wine bloggers to contribute short pieces of fiction, in which Dale provides the writer with a (usually racy) picture involving wine to act as the starting point and general muse of the submitted work. Dale waited, and waited, and waited, and waited very patiently for my submission, which is months overdue but was finally completed last week (sorry, buddy!). The piece (which Dale titled “The Innocence Slips Away”) is (unsurprisingly) odd and quirky, and involves a corkscrew, a bottle of Barolo, half-naked Southerners, a Godzilla movie, and the liquor control board. Enjoy!