Can you say “WINE” without smiling…

Thank you to all those that sent me their heartfelt comments about my last blog (The Centerpiece of Italian Culture…) I’m glad that you enjoyed it but it’s particularly pleasing to me that the piece actually awakened some pleasant family memories for some of you. It did for me too.
Someone asked me, recently, why or how I ended up (sort of) in the wine business after a few-decades -long career in the corporate world…a career in an industry that could not possibly be further away from wine. The answer is: I don’t know. Fate, I guess.
Here’s what I do know: after four years Continue reading

The centerpiece of Italian culture: we drink it, dunk in it, and even wear it

The other day, someone who wanted to impress me with his deep knowledge of all things Italian suggested that tomatoes are the heart of Italian cuisine. I remember that a noted Italian chef described tomatoes as sacrosanct for Italians. Their place in Italian gastronomy is undeniable and tomatoes are obviously prominent in many Italian dishes, especially in recipes from the South.

But the actual centerpiece of Italian culture, the one item which transcends all geographies…the one item which is omnipresent not only on every table and in every cantina but in every Italian’s inner being is our wine. Because if tomatoes are heart of Italian culture, then our vino is our soul…quite literally, it is the very lifeblood that flows through our veins…and we (Italians) get inoculated at a tender age…usually about 12 years old.

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You are served BAD wine in a restaurant…now what..?

Have you ever been a little intimidated when the waiter pours you a splash of wine to taste for the table, at a well-to-do, fancy schmancy restaurant…a table full of your best clients…or a table filled with your most snarky colleagues who are observing your every movement with their eyes just above the lines of the stretched menus covering their faces… and you can almost hear them whisper with a German accent: “very eenteresteeng…” (How many remember that German soldier with the beady eyes, peering from behind a bush on that classic comedy show called Rowan & Martin`s Laugh In).

The pressure’s on…you know all about nose and flavours but no one tells you what to do with your hands. Should you swish and swirl and sniff, like the guys in the expensive suits at the table next to yours? Should you do the “verbal breakdance” and invoke the fact that your nose Continue reading

This gadget turns WATER into WINE…the miracle machine is here!

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*HOT….Right from the pages of The Telegraph

*A pair of California-based entrepreneurs has created a kitchen gadget which, they claim, is capable of turning water into high-quality wine.
The developers of ‘The Miracle Machine’ say the device is able to replicate the “delicate flavours of highly sought-after vintages” in just three days using tap water and a sachet of ingredients.
The machine, which is currently in the funding stages, will cost $350 US and the ingredients for each bottle $3 US – though makers say the finished product will be up to the standard of a $40 bottle of wine.
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Just getting into wine? These are the things you must know…

Just getting into wine…? When you open this box, prepare to be submerged with a multitude of “experts” and wine zealots telling you what to buy, when and how to drink it and whether it’s good, bad or indifferent….whether you want to hear it or not!

Not unlike any other acquired “lifestyle” skill, wine appreciation is an art form with a quasi-scientific formula behind it.  You can be “good” at it ‘cause you haveto or ‘cause you wantto.  Depending on which side you’re on, the art form or the formula will rise to the surface.

My earliest childhood memories are filled with the pungent perfume of fermenting wine enveloping our home every fall.  This was the trigger that winter would soon be here but also that my dad was preparing to brew that year’s vintage of his “slightly better than last year” blend of Granache, Moscato and Alicante grapes to make vino.  Continue reading

More Than Just an Aroma Kit

Even after being in it for the better part of 30 years, the Marketing world still has many surprises for me because it is forever evolving and morphing.  With the massive swing to web buying, large surface stores are shifting their millions of marketing dollars away from their brick and mortar operations and into cyber space where their customers are spending an increasing amount of their hard earned cash.  But with all the convenience, flexibility, and speed that comes with cyber shopping, consumers are sacrificing the “intimacy” of buying…in other words, the personal touch of real and “touchy” customer service.  Because of this phenomenon, many consumer behaviour experts have outlines an interesting opportunity for companies that are still able to offer (and surprise) their target customers with the soothing “personal touch”.  Very simply, they point out that because consumers are “starved” and nostalgic for this “touchy” attention and personal customer service, a rapidly increasing number of consumers value this aspect beyond anything else when making a purchasing decision.

Kinda feels like “back to the future” doesn’t it?  The other day, I called a large telecom company and almost fell off my chair when a live voice answered my call!  (Then, I realized I had dialed the wrong number…)

Running a company like Wine Awakenings has little to do with wine.  Wine Awakenings is actually the quintessential marketing company, complete with its own eco system of communicating value in a niche market, anticipating market insights, viral connecting with customers, and strong brand building via social media.  Our company is a virtual “pool” of ephemeral marketi Continue reading