Sunday, May 30, 2010


I found my camera! It was in the bottom of a random bag from Pinot Festival, go figure, so finally here's a slideshow of some Pinot Festival photos from the press tasting and grand tasting. Janis, who works with me, took all the photos of the welcome dinner, tech conference and BBQ, so eventually I'll gather hers too. Oh, and our open house for Foursight will come soon too.

Sorry for the disarray (I would prefer to post all the photos at once), but I find it just simply takes a while to get my life back in order after a festival. The first step is clean-up the Monday after the event. Everything from all the venues gets dropped in the middle of our storage room by helpful volunteers. Then it's counting money and doing banking, revising budgets and working on a wrap-up report while monitoring resulting press. Thank you letters have to go out to sponsors, press and committee members who hosted an event or organized an event. Then it's sorting through the mess in the storage room and returning everything we borrowed, cleaning dump buckets and pour spouts by hand and laundering rags at home. And the list goes on.

In the past year I've added to the list above diving into everything for Foursight that I've pushed to the side for the past few months. There are simply things that cannot wait any longer. I'm now staring at a to-do list that includes everything from financial reports to wholesale accounts and making a tech sheet for our new Gewurztraminer (another post's in order for this one).

Enjoy the photos and I hope everyone's having a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coolest Mobile Phone App Yet

Finally got around to reading the latest PinotFile (highly recommended by the way, if you're not familiar with the publication), and I saw what I believe is the most practical phone app yet:

"A free mobile application called TaxiMagic has been introduced by California State officials. All registered users have to do is tap on button on their iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm smart phones and the application determines where the caller is, contacts the cap company, and dispatches the cab to the caller’s location automatically. The user can automatically pay by credit card. Users can also book a cab with the mobile application, on the web, or with a text message. For more information visit"

They say getting a DUI is as expensive as taking a taxi from New York to LA, and now all people have to do is touch the screen on their phones or text message to have one arrive wherever they are around the state. Pretty cool.

It's not completely flawless though - there's not a single cab in the Anderson Valley area to call, even if you do have reception, which can be tough in itself. It also means they're probably using your phone's GPS to find out where you are. I think we've all adapted to knowing that our phones could be used to track us, wherever we are, but it's still just a bit creepy. Still, I'll take creepy over DUI any day. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Anderson Valley Pinot Festival

Whew! Just finished my third Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and, per usual, it was exhausting but a lot of fun. We had the perfect weather this year - sunny and gorgeous, with some clouds and a light breeze. It was the ONE THING that I asked for this year - regardless of whatever else would or could go wrong, I asked the planning committee to think positive thoughts about 74 degrees and sunny. Who knows - maybe positive thinking works better than I give it credit for, because we got a few degrees warmer but just about on target. Better than the past few years of 100+ degrees on Saturday.

This year was, according to the attendees, the best yet, and I only truly play a small part in making that happen. The host sites and a lot of volunteers and volunteer organizers really do a lot of the work, plus having some additional help at the AVWA never hurts.

Here's my "insider" run-down of the event, including the inevitable hiccups which (hopefully) no one but the organizers notice!:

We started Thursday evening with the welcome dinner at Breggo Cellars, which was great except for the fact that we misunderstood the request to "bring some bubbly" and had to scramble at the last minute to get additional bottles (for free!) so everyone could have at least one glass when they entered. Otherwise, the food was fantastic and it was as great kick-off to the weekend.

On Friday we had the technical conference and, new this year, an afternoon consumer tasting ticket. Again, our major snafu was that the moderator didn't realize we had one remaining seminar at the end of the day and ended up running really late, with most of the audience leaving before the final talk. Otherwise, the schedule was fantastic, with speakers like Greg LaFolette, lots of wine tastings like a Savoy vineyard focus tasting with Benovia, Roessler and Radio-Coteau, and food and wine pairings in the afternoon. We did some 2008 Anderson Valley Pinot tastings during lunch (I'll expand more on that later). Again, good food and good wine = a good event.

That evening was the casual BBQ at Standish Wine Co., which went really well except people ate about three times the amount of food that was expected, and Janis (my helper)had luckily stowed away some extra plates in her car, so we brought those out to try and fill in. 250 people ate 450 large plates worth of food. We all enjoyed the live music and watching the fog roll in from the ocean until we were frozen and ready to go home.

On Saturday we had a press tasting at Goldeneye's new production facility. Then the grand tasting, which went really well this year. Kevin & The Coconuts rocked the steel drums per usual, and the lamb and wood-fired pizzas were delicious. We even had misters this year in case of heat, which felt great when turned on but, as we found out, got the auction items slightly damp (oops), so they were turned back off. Saturday evening were winemaker dinners, which I don't attend so I'll assume they went just fine, and then open houses on Sunday.

The Foursight open house was great. We served about 300-something tri-tip sliders plus a ton of other food paired with our wines. We had a band from Mendocino playing latin music, and the day was so nice we made it an indoor-outdoor event, which was much better than jamming into the cellar because it was too hot outside (like 2009). We sold quite a bit of wine, and saw a large group of our wine club members who came to pick up their shipments. However, I felt so tired that day I could barely form a coherent sentence, so I spent much of the time doing dishes and helping in the background. A perfect solution, although I was crossing my fingers that the interview I did for the Napa Valley Register made any sense at all. :)

I'll post event photos as soon as I find my camera!