Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Can't make it to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone? Attend Virtually-Details Inside

In a few hours I hit the road to Paso Robles, for the 19th Hospice du Rhone a mecca of education & tastings of Rhone Producers all over the world. (See: A Rhone Event Like No Other – Hospice du Rhone April 29-30 Paso Robles (OR – The French are Coming!)

Coming along with me are the ‘tools of my trade’ as a wine writer for live coverage.

  • Netbook (way faster to take/tweet Tasting notes, and software tools on a PC are much better than a smartphone
  • Laptop (most for the IRL job emergencies)
  • iPhone 4 – for immediate upload of pics, and tasting notes during the walk around tastings, and the AWESOME iRhone how to buy viagra in budapest iPhone app.
  • Verizon Mifi – Portable Internet for the Netbook, and iPad, iPhone when AT&T conks out
  • iPad 3G – not sure I will actually use, but I always schlep it so I feel like I bought it for a good reason.
  • new DLSR camera (still don’t know how to use properly. )
  • Messenger bag to place all said items and stuff in goodies, literature, and energy bars.
  • wine stems, wine, and microbrew (need I explain?)

How to Follow HdR in More Than Just Spirit

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 will be Tweeting under the hash tag (a sorting mechanism) of #HdR2011 . To follow along simple go to and under the search window type #HdR2011 or  click here.

If you want to focus in more narrowly you can simple follow my Tweets or the HdR tweets Type in (or click here)  @sonomawilliam or @HospiceduRhone to follow along.

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

If you are attending, please do come introduce yourself – I always love to meet wine people!

Cheers and lets get ready to Rhonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne!which is better viagra cialis

This Thursday Evening: Sonoma Wine Meetup, Raffles & Redwood Foodbank Fundraiser; Pizza Taste-Off

After a 2 month hiatus, I am pleased to announce the return of our monthly Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup. (You don’t HAVE to be on Facebook to attend, that was just the original premise, turning virtual friends into real ones.)

Our hosts this month are two wonderful small producers; Ray D’Argenzio of D’Argenzio Winery (noteworthy Italian varietals, amongst others) and Dylan and Tobe Sheldon of Sheldon Wines, (in their new tasting room) – one of my fave new local producers of Rhone wine (and Burgundian.)

We’ll have lots of great wines poured, a pizza taste off, and a preview of  the new Santa Rosa Vintners Square, the brain child of Ray D’Argenzio; an exciting project that will transform part of this part Santa Rosa.

If this, and seeing all your friends, old and new, isn’t enough, all ticket proceeds will be donated to the Redwood Food Bank, continuing the Wine Road blazing trail. (I haven’t now, or ever taken payment for these events, they actually cost me money.)

Tickets are $8.50 in advance, available here via Brown Paper Tickets.  or $10 at the door.This month, Entry includes:

  • Tickets for 3 tastes (2 oz pour) at each winery (6 total)
  • Raffle ticket for wine drawings. Pre-paid entry holders get two tickets, at the door gets one
  • New this event, persons/wineries bringing wine for a door prize will also receive an additional ticket. (Donating wineries are allowed to present their wine, if they wish.)
  • Besides wine, the raffles will include tix to the Wine Road’s January Winter Wineland!
  • Catered local pizza taste-off. Compare pizza’s from Franco’s, Jackson’s, Momdo’s, WholeFoods Coddingtown, and maybe more!
  • Additional wine is available for  only $5 a glass: Sheldon – Naris white Rhone blend, Grenache, or Petit Sirah. D’Argenzio – Moscato di Fresco (white) Pinot, or Zin.
  • Bottle Sales: current releases are on sale for onsite consumption or take-home, at special discount: 20% for consumers, 30% for industry (please bring a card/proof.) If you like the wines, please support these small artisan producers.

The event runs 530 – 7:30 (will stay later depending on interest, sales.) Raffle drawing is at 7pm, must be present to win.

If you haven’t already, you can join the Sonoma F.B. Wine Meetup Fan Page. The official Facebook RSVP event is here.

Lets have a great time, raise money for the Foodbank, and put the ‘social’ in Social Networking!

Cheers and Happy Holidays

p.s. I am getting a fair increase enquiries to send samples for end of year wine review requests. I am ramping up reviews all through the Holiday Season. If you wish a wine considered for review, and don’t want to ship it, feel free to bring it to the event.

(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!

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.

‘Question of the Week’ begins again; Win Tickets to the Hospice du Rhone Tastings!

Last week Simple Hedonisms kicked off its coverage of the upcoming wine event Hospice du Rhone, one of the wine industries most lauded events. Simple Hedonisms is one of the official wine blogs, and as a passionate Rhone wine lover, can’t wait!

The generous HdR2010 team is sponsoring ‘Question of the Week, with  tickets to the Friday and Saturday  tastings ($100 value!).  We will combine this with our usual “Question of the Week” with a Rhone theme. (updated) Please post the question on the Simple Hedonisms Facebook Fan site , and a question will be selected for a free ticket, and answered in a blog article.

Additionally, there will be TWO drawings for all registered email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms, and a drawing at the April Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup April 22nd at Artiste Winery in Healdsburg.

The schedule will be:

Question of the Day

  • Monday: April 5, 12th, 19th – Question of the Day Post Opens Up
  • Wed: April  7, 14, 21st – Winner Selected, followed by follow-up blog answer

Email Subscriber Drawing

  • Tickets will be given to a randomly drawn subscriber Fri April 16th and 23rd.
  • Tickets will also be a door prize at this month’s Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup.

Stay tuned for LOTS more great info on Rhone varietals.


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.


The Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup: Friday Feb. 19th in Healdsburg

Since a few of my wine friends on Twitter don’t have a Facebook account, I promised a blog article about this week’s next Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup. There is also a Facebook FAN Page, also setup for this monthly event. I have not been promoting it to a wide audience, as its intended for locals, who wish to attend, and don’t mind email updates.

The Fan page is located here. I have not yet started a Simple Hedonisms Fan page yet, when I do THEN we can promote the heck out of it! :) The invite for the event is on the Events tab, or here.

If you haven’t attended one of these, I started them last fall, when I realized how many local people hadn’t met people they interact with daily on Facebook, and decided to put the Social, into Social Media. It’s taken off like wildfire, so much so many venues can’t take us, as we expect 60+ people again.

Who attends: wine consumers, winery owners, social media people, chefs, cheesemakers, restaurant owners.

We have had wineries such as Mounts, Acorn, Michel-Schlumberger, Ridge, Kokomo, Eric Ross (Kenwood), Ketchum, Trione, Amista, Kelley Young, White Oak, Windsor Vineyard, and more, attend.

I am experimenting with a new format this time, and hosting it at a winery. Longboard Vineyards, in Healdsburg has offered their tasting room, and to pour by the glass. (Soft drinks as well.) There is an at the door charge of $5 (please bring cash) to cover appetizers, provided by World Famous Hamburger Ranch and Pasta Farm , who has done events for Longboard before, with very positive feedback.

There had been some concern expressed before about holding it a winery, and not ‘neutral’ ground; I certainly hope, that in the events spirit of networking and friendship, that no-one would skip because of this.

RSVPs are already up to 47! I may have to cap it off around 60, I am headed over to Longboard for a second look, to see what the max will be.

There will be door prizes; restaurants or other venues that wish to donate physical items, can bring an item, and you will make the drawing, and present your item. The Drawing starts at 630, and you must be present to win, so don’t be too late!

What: Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup – putting “Social” in Social Media

Where: 5 Fitch Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448  Phone: (707) 433 3473

When: This Friday night, Feb 19th, from 530-7pm. (feel free to start early.)

Cost: $5 cash for food, plus wine, soft drinks by the glass.

See you then!

Part 2 – Sonoma Valley’s Holiday Open House & “Best of Event” – Eric Ross Winery

Part 2

(Splitting a long review into two articles is an experiment, let me know what you think. )

Tuesday’s article discussed the Heart of Sonoma Valley’s Annual Holiday Open House event, and reviewed six wineries.

The final winery review is Eric Ross, to whom I award the Simple Hedonisms “Best of Event”, something I will do going forward each event. Now in fairness, that means the best I visited, a subset of the twenty. Even a guy nicknamed the ‘Tasmanian Devil’ at work can only hit so many in one day! This in no means detracts from the many good experiences, it just shone the brightest based on not just the wine, but overall hospitality (not just to me), layout, vibe – I have written repeatedly on the importance of providing a outstanding experience in the tasting room. I observed other attendees, other pourers – the place was warm, alive, and full of happy people and good spirit.eric ross

Eric Ross Winery

As I did for the previous weekend event, I chose to finish at a winery that I felt I could rely on for a positive experience. This was actually my first visit to the winery, but I had met Eric at the Family Wine Tasting in San Francisco earlier this summer, during the Industry tasting (I was pouring as a volunteer for Mounts Family Winery.)I had sought out Eric Ross because of their Marsanne-Roussanne white blend, and ended up having a very enjoyable, detailed discussion. That intial dialog was not just about his wines, but my sabbatical, my own interests in wine and the industry, and my hobby Syrah vineyard.

Part way through the Holiday tasting, Eric came out, and to my surprise recognized me, AND actually remembered all of our conversation, including the vineyard, 5 months later. I have written many times, wine is far more than the product itself, it’s a living entity, and an art form, and for me the enjoyment and experience is as much about the people and artisans, as their product, especially in a region with hundreds of wineries.

ericluse_hosva_web_024_elEric Luse owner and winemaker, was a photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle for  years. I was fortunate enough he spent an hour with me on this busy day, and in addition to wine geeking, he shared a number of his photographs. His work is brilliant in my opinion, and he really should publish a book, as many have encouraged. Eric did the photography in the beautiful new mini book on “The Wineries in the Heart of Sonoma Valley.” Besides being an amazing photographer, and a down to earth, genuinely nice guy, he is a talented, passionate wine maker, and of interesting varietals, which captures my attention even more, in our California tendency to make homogenous, over extracted, over the top wines.

By complete co-incidence my friend and fellow Wine Blogger Amanda Hagood earlier this week also did a feature piece on Eric Ross. She did a great job, so rather than re-state a lot of the same, you can read her piece here.

I did actually taste wine, although I think I chatted more!


  • His previously mentioned Marsanne-Rousanne is one of my favorite whites. The remainder of his 2007 vintage was on sale, so I grabbed 6 bottles. This blend has a great floral nose, good acidity, balance and mouthfeel. You red wine drinkers looking to branch out, should start with similar Rhone whites; Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier. But PLEASE do not drink overly chilled, as so many do.
  • The 2006 Old Vine Carignane was a treat. An easy drinking, comfort wine with bright, but not overpowering fruit. The Rauser Ranch vines in Lodi were planted in 1907! Grabbed one of these for home, $22 retail.
  • 2008 Pinot Noir, Saralee’s Vineyard. Drinkable now, but I’d leave in bottle for 6 more months if can resist, a pinot with big color and fruit, good structure, from 30% new French Oak.
  • 2008 Old Vine Zin, Cody’s Block. Technically in Dry Creek, but on the edge off the Russian River appelation,and with the characteristics of RRV ZIns, I am starting to find very appealing. Softer, less intense than many Zins, I don’t buy many Zins, but one of these came home with me.
  • 2006 Syrah. Sorry was yakking so much with Eric, forgot tasting notes! RRV Syrah with 3% Viognier. Amanda cracked open a bottle last night she tells me, and raved.

As a special treat, I also bought a bottle of the limited release 2007 Pinot Noir, Poule d’Or. It wasn’t being poured, but it wasn’t a big leap to trust Eric.  “Russian River Valley vineyards of Pommard Clones dominating the Dijon Clones of Pinot Noir as they come together in this Reserve Wine, only made in the years deserving an extra look.” Sold!Logo-LabelRoughsV6

What a great ending to the day. It had been a fun day of wine tasting and meeting people, but it was this final visit that was the experience that makes me glow like a bulb on a Christmas tree. I had recently dropped a wine club, as I like to rotate each year, and completed my experience by adding Eric Ross to my list.

Wine club pickup events will also give me a reason to come back to Kenwood/Glen Ellen area more frequently, which I need to. I skipped some of the larger/older wineries, like Kenwood, Ledson, Benzinger, Chateau St. Jean, and they are deserving of a visit as well, having played key roles in the history of Sonoma. This event was well done, and this area deserves more buzz. I’d encourage the marketing organization to continue to be in Social Media, and promote itself more on FaceBook, Twitter and it’s Website. It has a lot to offer.

Thanks for reading – come back tomorrow for the weekly posting of Wine Country weekend events.


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