What we learned: The Digital Divide

We had intended to give frequent updates on what we learned at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference this year, but that proved nearly impossible, so copious the information and quick the format. Here, we’ll present our take-aways by category. Today, it’s about the so-called “digital divide” between wine producers and their patrons in the digital age.

A breakout session entitled “The Business of Wine” led by  Tim Hanni, MW, and Paul Mabray of Vintank reminded us how critical it is to provide digital media to our winery clients with ambitious, personal, and creative connections to their customers.  Some notes:

Tim Hanni, MW

Tim Hanni, MW

Notes from Tim Hanni, MW

  • “Sixty to eighty percent of consumers are mystified by wine. We have to ask ourselves: are we going out of our way to mystify consumers about wine?”
  • “Anybody can make very expensive, highly-extracted, new-French-oak wine. It’s never been easier for people to make good wine. But nobody’s putting any thought into the market itself. We’re devoting too much thought to the product, not enough to the consumer.”

Tim Hanni, MW is an internationally-recognized wine expert and professionally-trained chef. He is one of two Americans to first earn the title Master of Wine and is recognized around the globe for his groundbreaking “Vinotyping” – making wine drinkers more confident about their personal wine preferences. 

Paul Mabray

Paul Mabray

Notes from Paul Mabray, Vintank

  • “[The modern wine market] is the most competitive market in human history. [In 2013] there were 200,000 wine products in the U.S. But it’s also hard because everybody makes great wine.”
  • “Everyone is telling the same story: Family-owned. Artisan. Terroir. Service is the only differentiator.”
  • The wine industry’s biggest challenge right now is the internet. “Digital Darwinism” means if you’re not designing your website/blog mobile-friendly, you’re already getting left behind.
  • “The old critic everyone listened to was Robert Parker, Jr. The new critic everyone listens to is the stupid ‘like’ button.”
  • “It’s like Hollywood: everyone wants to work in wine. And it sounds so sexy until you have to put it in your gas tank. The wine industry pays [poorly], and we’re losing our best people because of it.”

Paul Mabray is Chief Strategy Officer at Vintank, the world’s largest software solution for social media management for the wine and restaurant industry. A more in-depth exploration of Paul’s ideas can be found in a transcribed lecture he recently presented here.

Leave a comment

Filed under PR, Wine

Wine Bloggers’ Conference kicks off!

imageOnly for the love of wine would we ever get up this early on a Saturday morning. No, not to drink wine – to blog about it!

Paul Mabray of Vintank discussing the intersection of wine and tech.

Paul Mabray of Vintank discussing the intersection of wine and tech.

We are privileged to participate in this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference in the Santa Ynez Valley. We’ve already shaken Paul Mabray’s hand and talked about the digital divide in the wine industry. Heaven! Stay tuned here for more updates on the conference and what we’ve learned.

Leave a comment

Filed under PR, Wine

WORLD CUP: I’ll drink to that!

BrazilOur post from June 4 shared how our friends at La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant in Paso Robles are celebrating the World Cup with flavors from this year’s host country, Brazil. We also mentioned that the popular eatery would create an ad hoc cocktail menu for the quarter finals, which are now well underway.

For Tuesday’s match, the cocktails included

Brazil
Caipirinha - caçacha, St. Germaine, limes, turbonado syrup

vs.

Germany
Vitus Shandy - Vitus Hefenweizen, lemon juice, simple syrup

And for yesterday’s match, the competitors were

Argentina
“Frenet About It” - Frenet Branca, Coca-Cola

vs.

Netherlands
Nethertini - brandy, citronage, lime juice, simple syrup, orange bitters

La-Cosecha-Bar-and-RestaurantThis Saturday, the match is between Brazil and the Netherlands, and Sunday, it’s Germany vs. Argentina. The team from Parker Sanpei will be at La Cosecha, showing our spirit with a cocktail that roots for our favorite team! To learn how to join in the fun, visit http://www.LaCosechaBR.com or call 805.237.0019.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle

Patting ourselves on the back.

It’s not often that we at Parker Sanpei pat ourselves on the back, but recently, the love for what we’re doing in the lifestyle public relations industry is worth sharing.

Barbara Keck, WineBizNews.blogspot.com

Barbara Keck

Longtime journalist and wine writer, Barbara Keck, put some wind in our sails discussing work we’ve done for Arroyo Grande AVA producer, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. On her blog, she published a post entitled, “Laetitia Wines are Not Only Good, but Well-Promoted.”

Laetitia Vineyard and Winery shares their love for their Santa Barbara terroir and provides some excellent pairing notes and recipes. I am aware of this because every once in a while, I receive a press release that is so good that it’s worthwhile passing on in toto to my blog readers. This is the case with the information provided by Parker Sanpei and Associates about their client Laetitia wines.”

Xochitl Maiman

Xochitl Maiman

Another blogger, Xochitl Maiman of the blog I’ll Drink to That!, attended the CABs of Distinction event we put on for our friends at the Paso Robles CAB Collective, and had this to say:

“In such a short time, the PRCC (Paso Robles CAB Collective) and Parker Sanpei have created an influential and well-run series of events that will undoubtedly provide the PRCC with their optimal goal of effectively spreading the word about Paso Robles Cabs and Bordeaux varietals.”

Eve Bushman

Eve Bushman

And yet another blogger, Eve Bushman, who has served as judge at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and writes the popular blog Eve’s Wine 101, had this to say about CABs of Distinction:

“[CABs of Distinction] was by far the best press event I’ve attended. Thank you for all of your care, Parker Sanpei.”

 

With kudos like this, we can’t complain. Thanks to all of our friends and fans for making our work and the wine/food/travel PR industry such a pleasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under PR

Our favorite “little rascal.”

2013-ArneisOur friends at Burbank Ranch Winery recently received gold medals for their 2013 “Little Rascal” Arneis from two prestigious competitions: the 2014 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition and the 2014 Central Coast Wine Competition, Five County Fairs.

Despite its floral aromatics and appealingly full body, Arneis is a white wine that is too rarely found in New World winemaking. In fact, Burbank Ranch is one of only two known producers of Arneis in the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA).

“Arneis is called a ‘little rascal’ in Italy’s Piedmont region for being challenging to grow,” says Fred Burbank, proprietor of Burbank Ranch. “In Paso Robles, however, Arneis grows like a weed. It’s surprising that we don’t see more of it here, considering how well it does in this climate and what a terrific wine it produces.”

Typically a medium- to full-bodied white wine, Arneis is upstaged by Piedmont’s more famous red wines, namely Barolo. But many consumers don’t realize that a small portion of Arneis has historically been used to soften the tannins and concentration of Nebbiolo grapes in Barolo, much like Viognier seasons Syrah in traditional Côte-Rôtie wines from the Northern Rhône. Since the 1990s, varietal Arneis has gained a following for its often gregarious aromas of ripe pear and white blossoms, plush texture and generous weight.

PiedmontGrapes for the 2013 Burbank Ranch Arneis were harvested from the estate early, in September, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve focus and acidity. The result is a dry, full-bodied white wine with aromas and flavors of bright pear, apple, honeysuckle, and white peach, with a structured, mineral finish.

A perfect transition wine between seasons, Arneis pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, including, notably, the cheese plate at Burbank Ranch Bistro in downtown Paso Robles. The “Little Rascal” Arneis would also beautifully complement a simple pasta with butter and fine white truffle shavings or any number of delicate seafood dishes.

For more information about Burbank Ranch Winery and Bistro, please visit http://www.BurbankRanch.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Hospitality, Wine

A playlist to celebrate The Golden State.

We at Parker Sanpei are hard-core Californiaphiles. (Where else can you ski and surf in the same day, grow lettuce year-round, be in the movies, define the cutting edge of technology and make top-of-class wines?)

In homage, we recently brainstormed our favorite songs about this beautiful place. May this serve as your new go-to summer playlist!

 

21-atxlAnd here’s one from a favorite musician (who also happens to be Central-Coast-born-and-bred), Damon Castillo, called “California Minute.”

Happy California Summer!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Trend: SAKE MIXOLOGY

THO_HR-157Our friends over at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar are taking their commitment to vibrantly original farm-to-table cuisine behind the bar with a new cocktail menu featuring alternatives to spirits like sake and sherry. We were lucky enough to attend their recent cocktail kick-off party to taste the lineup, and let’s just say Thomas Hill Organics is the place to be this summer.

Developed by innovative mixologist, Matthew Hanson, the new cocktail menu puts a twist on classic cocktails like The Margarita and The Old Fashioned using fresh produce from Thomas Hill Organics’ diverse network of local farms. And, just as THO dishes offer a “melting pot” of global inspiration, each cocktail boasts flavors from across the world that complement one another for a taste experience unlike any on the Central Coast.

Debbie Thomas

Debbie Thomas

“We had been experimenting with creative mixology by offering Mimosas and Bellinis made with Cava and fresh squeezed juices, and the response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Debbie Thomas, proprietor. “The new cocktails blend seamlessly with our approach to food: fresh, seasonal, local, and inventive. We can’t wait to share them.”

The star ingredient of the new THO cocktail menu is definitely sake, the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. “Sake is an amazingly versatile medium with as rich and diverse a history as wine,” said Hanson, who enjoys anchoring cocktails in sake for its pleasant brothy or savory qualities.

“While sake, and the cocktails we have derived from its use, pair well with many foods, specifically those high in acidity that benefit from the rounding capabilities of its umami characteristics, sake itself does not have the same tradition of food pairing in Japan that wine enjoys in the Western world,” said Hanson. “In many instances, the best sakes are those which don’t interfere with the food. What I’ve done is attempt to bring it to the foreground, both in the cocktail itself, and what those cocktails complement on the Thomas Hill Organics menu.”

Examples of fresh sake cocktails at THO include The Lemon Drop, The Margarita, The Mojito and The Ginger Grant, an elegant concoction of Momokawa Diamond Sake, fresh ginger, lychee purée, Cava, and candied ginger.

Pouring shot-sized samples of sake and sherry cocktails for the kick-off party

Pouring shot-sized samples of sake and sherry cocktails for the kick-off party

Sherry, Spain’s dry fortified wine, has enjoyed periods of extreme popularity in the United States, and is trending high in eateries and bars across the country. “Sherry shares a bit of that umami with sake,” said Hanson, “but carries with it a subtle salinity and nuttiness and the benefit of oak barrel-ageing, making it an excellent lower-alcohol substitution for whiskey in many circumstances.” The current THO sherry cocktail offerings include The Sherry Julep, made with Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso sherry, fresh mint, orange bitters, raw sugar, and topped up with a splash of Cava.

For more information about the new cocktail menu or to make a reservation, please visit ThomasHillOrganics.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Hospitality, Wine