Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

How To Follow This Weekend's Rhone Ranger Gala Online #RRSF

Its here! The San Francisco Rhone Rangers weekend!

As I wrote a few weeks ago its much more than the big walk around tasting that most associate with it. There are 3 great Seminars; one on Mourvedre, One on Green, Sustainable, and one one “Wild’ wines. There is also the Saturday winemakers dinner, which includes a walk around tasting and an auction. I will be attending all, with bells on (er and a Netbook, iPad, iPhone, MiFiand my new DLSR) and ‘broadcasting’ live.

Not able to attend some or any of the event, but want to follow along? Not on Twitter? Thats ok, all you need is a web browser.

Participants cialis lowest prices will be Tweeting under the hash tag (a sorting mechanism) of #RRSF. To follow along simple go to and under the search window type #RRSF or click here.

If you want to focus in more narrowly you can simple follow my Tweets or the Rhone Ranger tweets (someone I know well.) Type in (or click here)  @sonomawilliam or @rhonerangers to follow along.

I will also be uploading some pictures and updates as I go on the blog Facebook Page:

If you are attending any, please do come introduce yourself – I always love to meet readers in person!

Cheers and lets get ready to Rhonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne! :)

Related Recent Articles:

Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting

‘Sonoma William’ Joins Forces With the Rhone Rangers; Some History & New Directions

(Updated) Want to host the next ‘Sonoma Facebook Meetup’? – Criteria inside

Late last year, I launched the idea of the ‘Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup’ (ok not the shortest name.) The basic premise was simple; I observed lots of people here in Sonoma County were Facebook friends whom had never met, even though many worked in the industry, or were avid consumers. The idea was to put the ‘social’ in Social Networking. This is NOT a Tweetup; attendees are of course encourage to Tweet, but its a Social Networking event, use of Twitter (or really even Facebook) isn’t required.

I have had a lot of experience hosting events, happy hours, networking events over the years, and this one has evolved as I have learned what has and has not worked.

The events have become well attended, generally averaging 60 people an event, spiking over 80 a few times. It has been very rewarding every event to hear ” So great to finally meet you” and many people have made valuable connections, and in general the majority of the people had not been to the venue before.

Restaurants and bars have turned out to not  always be a good choice, especially if we do the event on a Friday night, as is most popular, as they just don’t have the capacity for the extra patrons, and/or want deposits, guarantees, etc etc. Thus was born the idea of hosting it at wineries, as they can now pour by the glass, and also like the exposure. It is after all a ‘Wine Meetup.’ They aren’t excluded, but they need to fit into the format. Generally we do these Thursday or Friday night, Saturday night would be considered as well. (The Napa group has been using Monday nights, which have worked well for them, but hasn’t been done here to date.)

Who attends? The mix has differed each time, but its generally a mix of industry, consumers, and Social Media/PR people. Its a good cross section of exposure.

Event Guidelines

  • Must have adequate space to accommodate 50-70 people; including a large enough serving area and staff; its a fair amount of people, packed into a 90 minute event.
  • The event space must be able to accommodate the group in inclement weather; rain, cold evenings etc.
  • If we do it at a restaurant or bar, there needs to be a separate area, clearly marked, and ample space, staff to support. No F&B deposits.
  • The intent is for the venue to at a minimum, break even, if not make money via by the glass sales, but the exposure should be desired as well, to make this event worth your investment of time and staff.
  • The location should ideally be in a accessible, central location to draw traffic.
  • A check in desk that funnels people in needs to be created, and manned by the hosting venue. People pay, get name tags, raffle tickets, and then enter. I provide signage.
  • Given people are consuming alcohol at then end of the day, some basic finger food should be offered. I have experimented with personally arranging outside caterers and collecting money at the door, and desire the venue to take responsibility for that.
  • Its expected to charge a basic fee to cover the costs of food; in the past its been $5-10. I’d like the winery to collect that at check-in and pay the food purveyor if possible. Food could be left for general self serve, or be done via portions/per person with a ticket given at check-in.
  • I don’t encourage giving away a lot of wine samples as it reduces wine sales, but in some cases its not a bad idea to have a method for attendees to sample wine. This could be done a variety of ways; your normal tasting fee; a ticket at check in (entry price can be bumped a bit if needed.)
  • I do ask you pour wines in a affordable price range; offer a special for the event; as well as a special for drink there or take home, bottle sales. Goal would be to have at least one offering for ~$5.
  • The event is attended by industry, so please support industry discounting. Some have offered Wine club/Industry for the night to everyone for bottle sales.
  • I will do  Social Media promotion, but its helpful and desirable if the Venue supports the event on Facebook, Twitter, newsletter etc.
  • A sign in sheet of attendees is created and shared with the venue.
  • Pictures and a Post Blog article on will be done for follow-up visibility on the event.
  • I ask you don’t schedule another event at the same time with out first discussing, permission.
  • The Facebook event invite is created by me via the Fan page, and then you will also be made a admin, so that you can invite, promote etc.
  • Have fun!

I am working to move these around the county, to different AVAs. These events thrive on participation of the local wineries, so we host one there, and you’d like more, please try and support and promote!  Napa is not being ignored; Andrew Healy recently started a Napa Chapter, whose  meetups have been very successful.

Drop me an email (see contact info) if you’d like to be considered for a host. Our next two are at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Glen Ellen Aug 26th 5-7pm (or later) and at Harvest Moon Winery Sept 23rd in the Russian River Valley.



This Friday – Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup & Mixer at Michel-Schlumberger Winery

It’s that Wild and Crazy time again this Friday: the monthly Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup; 530-730 p.m.

What is this all about, and why should you attend? I’ll pretend you have been buried in work, and not heard about this popular event, that started last December. I quickly realized two things when I made the permanent move to Sonoma last June; wine industry people, and to a great extent local consumers, networked heavily on Facebook. I also quickly learned how many locals may have been ‘friends’ for years, and never met.

It dawned on me that ‘social networking’ needed to be less behind the PC and more face to face, and thus this event was born. The concept is simple; it’s a chance to meet other people in Sonoma; wine industry, consumers, or just people passionate about this amazing county. You don’t have to be on Facebook, or Twitter, or even email (it sure helps though) but we have had great success connecting via Facebook, so that remains the prominent theme.

This month we are pleased to team up with Michel-Schlumberger in Dry Creek Valley, for an enhanced version of our monthly event – by piggybacking on to their Friday Summer Music series.

Check In Details

There is a special check-in desk for the event; where you receive your raffle ticket, name tag, food ticket. Check-in is $10 for music and food, and wine is available by the glass and bottle at special prices, in the Salon. There will also be a special case sale event.
The winery is open to the public as well, so the Meetup congregation and networking/talking area will be setup under the old Oak Tree, so we don’t disturb (or scare!) normal patrons. The band itself has a large following and expects 50+ people, so please use the Meetup checkin, and networking area. We expect 75-100 attendees of our own event.

Event Details

Join us for Music by T’Soul, Food by Hamburger Ranch, Wine by Michel-Schlumberger and good times had by all at 5:30, July 16.  Price is $10 and  covers food (2 pulled pork sliders per person and cole slaw – veggie option as well), place and music.  Wines are available by the glass or bottle to consume. Additional food tickets can be purchased for $5.

Sonoma’s social media celeb Hardy Wallace, is also expected to show up after work, assuming he isn’t kidnapped by Vikings.
Rick Bakas, another prominent social media industry leader, will also be there signing his book, 75 Savory Tips for Social Media Success.

As always wineries etc can bring physical items for the raffle. Donors get to present their wine, or raffle item.
The door prize raffle drawings is at 715 pm, so try to be there by then!

Your Hosts:

William Allen – Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog and Sonoma F.B. Meetup
Jim Morris – Michel-Schlumberger

The link on Facebook to RSVP is here. (RVSP if can, or here in comments if not on Facebook.)

Hope to see you Friday – cheers!

Introducing new Simple Hedonisms writer, Katherine Parker

I alluded a few weeks ago I was bringing on a new writer, and tonight is the Red Carpet night!

I wish I had many more hours a week to devote to the articles in my head I’d love to share, stories I want to tell, and educational experiences I’d like to pass on.  Hopefully one of these days my demanding IRL job will abate enough, and I can get more content up. Blog traffic and readership is directly correlated to articles; I have been blessed with a strong readership despite breaking most of the rules of blogging; but the harsh reality is it needs more regular writing, thus I was super thrilled when Katherine, who has her own blog VitaeVino, offered to write for Simple Hedonisms as well.

In many ways, we are kindred spirits with roots in the tech industry, embrace Social Media, and hover on the edge of the Wine Industry.

Katherine also balances the blog Sonoma County coverage nicely as she lives in downtown Sonoma, in Sonoma Valley, giving her close proximity to the lower half of Sonoma, as well as Napa, which is an hour trip from Healdsburg. We share the same passion for Sonoma County, its people and artisans.

She will help Simple Hedonisms broaden it’s coverage of winery businesses, winemakers, and wine, food and hospitality events of Sonoma and beyond. As demonstrated in the recent Sonoma Valley Passport event is covered in VitaeVino’s blog article.

You can find out more about Katherine on the Simple Hedonisms “About’ page, and also follow her @VitaeVino on Twitter.

Please give her a big warm wine country welcome – cheers!

About Katherine Parker aka VitaeVino

Katherine is a native San Franciscan who grew up spending her summer vacations in the Russian River Valley.  She has seen the RRV evolve from a string of sleepy beach resorts to an internationally recognized AVA.  During this time, 20 years of corporate travel opened doors for her to explore many of the world’s great cuisines and wine regions.  Based on this experience, Katherine developed a fascination with the mystique embodied in wine, food, and hospitality of diverse regions.

In 2009, she moved to Sonoma CA, enrolled in the Wine Studies program at Santa Rosa JC, and immersed herself in social media. VitaeVino (translated Life and Wine) was born out of her passion for a life enriched with wine, travel and friendship.

As a seasoned business development and communications professional, Katherine employs social media tools and practices to help businesses lower barriers to market entry, engage new consumers and foster brand loyalty.  Katherine’s business, Digital Media Solutions, helps professionals in the wine, travel, and technology industry conceive, establish and implement effective social media programs.  Digital Media Solutions also develops social media workshops for conferences and organizations.

A Heady Experience – The 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla #WBC10

Where has Simple Hedonisms been?  Not writing this last week for sure!  While I have been very active on Twitter, and a bit (much less than normal) on Facebook, reporting my events this last week, blog writing had been put aside in a dizzying pace of tasting and networking. (er and a few late nights socializing.)

It’s actually been a double whammy few weeks. It’s end of the quarter – and as the head of North American Sales for a software startup just ranked #1 as the Fastest Growing Private Company by the Portland Business Journal, I criss cross the country in a sometimes dizzying pattern, for those brave enough to follow on Facebook. It was also the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, WA.

This was my first time attending the event; although many are under the impression I have lived in Sonoma for years, its only been 13 months, and the blog is a baby of 9 months. ( Heck, only been on Twitter and really used Facebook for the last year. )

300 Wine Bloggers attended this sold out event. Walla Walla isn’t as easy to get to as Napa or Sonoma, and there was concern if people would come, but they did; demonstrating  the passion that exists in the special community, I am privileged to be a part of. Are there some hacks, free sample whores, and not so knowledgeable people  – yes, but frankly far far few than I expected. I felt myself humbled by the dedication, work, focus, and intensity of these writers, and will be renewing my efforts after such inspiration.

There were many great lessons learned, and articles are already flooding the blogosphere, some of which I’ll share. Unfortunately I landed at  1pm today, and leave for D.C. at 6 a.m. tomorrow for a 3 day work conference, so the thoughts and energy must stay contained. For right now, here are a few teasers:

I am blessed with a bigger readership than I may deserve, given the sporadic nature of my posts. Most of the original intent of my writing has somewhat denigrated into pro bono work for the Wine Industry, events, instead of the Wine Education, and Artisan focus I envisioned. Those will be re-engaged over time, but with an 80 hour a week startup at my back, and a Inbox that gets 100+ emails a week with requests to help, it will take time.

Simple Hedonisms will morph a bit in the short term,  though. How?

  • To obtain a more regular, even flow of articles, I will be announcing a Contributing editor, who writes well, and shares many similar passions. (Interested in being a contributing editor? Contact me. Its easier than you think, I’ll happily share the brand. )
  • I will be doing more wine reviews, and even some scoring. I originally resisted this idea, until I realized how much time I spend taking tasting notes, how many hits my CellarTracker notes were getting. I have a passion for wine ( a near fanatical passion for the 22 Rhone varietals (grapes)), taste and purchase a wide array of bottles, and there seems to be interest in the reviews. Time permitting, I usually try and add some details about the winery and/or the wine itself. I’d love comments back from readers on your thoughts, interest, topics. I taste and judge all wines, and I am thinking of several themes, and educational tracks, but its always great to hear whats of interest.
  • I intend to write more educational articles; sometimes technical and wine geeky, sometimes written for the normal American wine consumer, who has just enough of the bug they wish to learn more. ( I have on one wine manipulation near done. )

I’d like to thank the many wonderful, warm, people who shared their thoughts, and themselves with me. You are inspirations, and I look forward to reading more of your writings, as well as adding you to my blog roll.

A big Cheers as well to the many wonderful people of Walla Walla!

This Friday – Join us for the Sonoma Wine Meetup in Healdsburg

This Friday is the monthly Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup.

If you haven’t attended or heard of, its a Wine Networking event started last December. It’s a social happy hour for networking of wine industry, marketing and social media, wine consumers, cellar rats, and people who love Sonoma. The underlying goal was to put the ’social in social networking’ after I observed how many people in the county had been Facebook friends, but may have never met; and every event one can hear “so glad to finally meet you” as well as make new friends and have a great time.

You don’t have to be on Facebook to attend, or even drink wine for that matter, it ‘s a fun way to meet people.

This month we are at Affronti, in Healdsburg. (By the La Crema tasting room, tucked away in the back, look for the signs.)  The outside patio is reserved just for us. Affronti is at 235 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448.  (707) 431-1113.  The event runs from 5-7, and then people generally hit one of Healdsburg’s many fine restaurants for dinner. Come to the square early and hit one of the 20+ Tasting rooms aroud first.

Entry is $10, which goes to Affronti and covers an array of appetizers they will have. We will have our own bar outside, with wine and wine cocktail specials. Its a cash bar, so please try and hit the ATM before you come.

As with previous events, we will have a raffle drawing for wine or merchandise, generously donated by local wineries (who get to present their offering.) drawn at 630.

The link on Facebook to RSVP is here.

Hope to see you Friday – cheers!

May 21st – Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup at Roadhouse Winery in Healdsburg

Friday May 21st is the next monthly meeting of the Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup. If you haven’t attended or heard of, its a Wine Networking event started last December. It’s a social happy hour for networking of wine industry, marketing and social media, wine consumers, cellar rats, and people who love Sonoma. The underlying goal was to put the ‘social in social networking’ after I observed how many people in the county had been Facebook friends, but may have never met; and every event one can hear “so glad to finally meet you” as well as make new friends and have a great time.

We meet 1x a month and rotate the venue and the night. Most have been in North Sonoma, as I am traveling 4+ days a week now regularly for my ‘real’ job in the software industry, have limited time, and the best support/resource base has been up here, but I certainly intend to do Sonoma Valley again – sooner than later if a venue, or people step up to help. Napa Valley also just started their sister group and had their first event, with over 70 people attending. (The Monday night was a successful draw for industry, oddly no one here has requested that.) I hope to work with Andrew at some point this summer to combine one, if we can find a middle ground people will drive too. (Historically a challenge, given the distance.)

If you are interested in hosting one month, the suggested criteria for success, based on experience, is here. Contact me to discuss if interested. (June is tentatively selected at a winery, combined with a music event, but still in progress. For the busy summer, I am contemplating combining the meetups with other events.)

Anyway, I am pleased to announce this month’s venue and a new twist. We are at Roadhouse Winery, a new winery in North Sonoma, just a few blocks away from downtown Healdsburg. The event will run from 5-7 pm, $10 a the door gets you a glass of wine and nibbles ($5 for non drinkers.) As with previous events, we will have a raffle drawing for wine or merchandise, generously donated by local wineries (who get to present their offering.) drawn at 630.

Please RSVP by tonight, so we can have adequate food, staffing, glasses etc.

Wine Meetup: RSVP Here or email


(For those of you interested in the ‘Secret Dinner’ after by Chef Mateo, unfortunately he had to postpone (did we ruin the secret?). After the meetup, dine in one of Healdsburg’s many amazing restaurants.

Article 2 of 4: Wine Road Barrel Tasting & Social Media – Optimizing Your Event

I generally try to keep my articles focused on Consumers, and not tie in the occasional Social Media, Marketing consulting that I do. However given that the blog does have many Winery readers, I thought I’d share a small excerpt from a recent presentation.

I have a more detailed presentation on the relevance of Social Media, branding, and consumer interaction. I’ll Cliff Note it here to say: if you aren’t actively communicating with consumers via Social Media ask yourself why. Facebook has 400 million users, who spend an average of an hour a day, 4+ times a week, with an average 130 friends each.  Numerous case studies show the positive financial benefit, and increased customer loyalty via a well run Fan page.

The last Wine Road event; Winter Wineland had many success stories, attributed to heightened consumer awareness, via Social Media. It was my personal experience from polling wineries: those active in Social Media achieved positive sales and growth attendance over the previous year.  Catch the wave!

Wine Road Barrel Tasting is widely attended both by the local Bay area, as well as people who fly in from all over the US, many on a ‘stock up’ buying trip. Here are some suggestions to help increase ‘buzz’, traffic, and perception.


  • Facebook: Promote your event on Facebook with an ‘Event’ and via Status Updates. Too many businesses overlook the value of the Facebook event feature: Consumers can RVSP to an event; Share it on their Wall, or even Export it right to their Smartphone calendar. (This is how many events get on my Blog Calendar.)
  • Twitter: If you are only using Twitter on a web browser, you are missing 90% of its intrinsic value. Use the Tweetdeck application to scan for attendees via hashtags and key words #barreltasting, #sonoma, #drycreekvalley etc. This is fast and easy, and websites like Mashable offer tips on how.
  • Put event details, info on your website, email your wine club members, and your consumer Newsletter lists, since they Opted in to receive email.
  • Offer sales promotions on excess inventory for larger purchases, and additional incentives for new Wine Club members.
  • Offer a 4Square Promo for checking in: Visit Discounts, Event drawings, etc

General Tips (not Social Media related)

  • Have knowledgeable staff on hand, and train them how to pick out the serious wine enthusiast from the party-mongers.
  • Have a Pep talk with staff, set expectations. The tasting room experience defines the impression of each visitor, what they buy, if they join the wine club, or will ever return. Yes, barrel tasting gets crazy, but customer service must remain a top focus. At least if you hope to sell some wine.
  • Get some volunteers to help with parking guidance, greeting, tracking visitors.

During Event

  • Social Networking is viral; its success is based on others spreading ‘your’ words, posts. Make it easy for them.
  • Many areas in Dry Creek, others have poor cell coverage. Most smartphones can use WiFi when cell coverage is poor. Consider spending $50-$100 at Best Buy and install second basic WiFi router that’s open for attendee.  You can share the same broadband Internet connection, but do  keep it separate and secure from your work network. Get your local IT person, or Geek Squad to help, it’s not hard.
  • Get a PC or Laptop and set up a customer Social Media Station; encourage them use Facebook and Twitter and share their experience. You can also create a sign-up page for mailing lists.
  • Have an employee (or you) occasionally post on Facebook and Twitter; pics, fun comments. The occasional promotional post is ok, but your primary goal is interactivity and audience participation.
  • Track attendees, sales, wine poured, new Wine Club Members: create an ROI. Also track post event, correlated DTC transactions. How can you measure the benefits of marketing initiatives if you don’t keep track?
  • Offer sales incentives on inventory, Wine Club: upsell.
  • Promote but don’t hard sell the Wine Club. People should hear about it, but don’t be overly aggressive, it’s a turn-off.
  • Get visitors to sign up for email updates

Use as many consumer touch points as you can!

It will be busy, but have fun, and more importantly make sure you visitors will have fun. Remember, for the visiting consumer, it’s often as much about the personal experience as the wine, so do the best you can to ensure visitors have a positive experience, so they will buy wine, tell friends, and come back!

Hope that was helpful; questions, comments always welcome.


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