The World Sideways Gave Us

I got to thinking, after writing this Meomi Pinot Noir review, that this is really the world that Sideways gave us.

The wine industry has talked a lot both internally and externally about how things changed so much with Sideways.  Sure, it helped move Bordeaux varietals even more toward Cabernet rather than Merlot in the new world, but it also helped to move a hell of a lot of people onto Pinot Noir.

In a number of ways that was a really good thing. After all, we, as an industry, were seeing an awfully big casym between red wine drinkers and white wine drinkers.  Which wasn’t good for anyone.

In many ways, Pinot Noir is the perfect cross over grape.  White wine drinkers can enjoy it in a way they won’t Cabernet, at least, not at first. Likewise, red wine drinkers can use the grape to become more accustomed, to a more nuanced style of wine that is reminiscent of white wines.

So sure, this is the world that Sideways gave us.  But, that’s not a bad thing.  Plus, that Meomi is a surprisingly good wine for the price.


It’s one of the great questions in the world of wine. What causes a wine headache?

Like so many things in regard to alcohol, there’s not a lot of research and there’s even less critical understanding of what’s actually happening. Instead people tend to think about what they have happening in their own personal lives.  Have a headache after drinking, it’s the damn wine! Of course, it might be your lack of water.  Or something else entirely.

That’s kind of the fun thing about healthcare right?  It’s so personal and personal to a point of not being able to generalize, but everyone simply wants to generalize that they’re doing ok!

Italian Wine and Trader Joe’s

At this point, we all know the Trader Joe’s business model right?

Like most grocery stores, Trader Joe’s makes a heck of a lot more money on their own brands, vs the brands made by someone else. Generally speaking, those private brands come with a profit margin of about 10%. Everything else in the store?  It’s about 2%.

Which yeah, sucks.

So Trader Joe’s pretty much only stocks their own branded items and it’s made them a superstar in the grocery category.

That also means, their wine section ends up being mostly American wines.  After all, it’s a hell of a lot more complicated to source wine overseas, transport it, bottle it and then transport it again to each store, before selling it.

Buying a wine domestically means, bottling it, transporting it and selling it.

Which is why their annual offer of a Trentarte Rosso, such a big hit. It’s a third of Cabernet Sauvignon, a third of Merlot and a third of Montepulciano (which is basically the Italian version of Syrah).

It’s a damn good wine and shows off someone’s sourcing skills at Trader Joe’s

We’re Not Speaking the Same Language

A week or so ago, I mentioned the word vintner, to one of my competitors (yeah, we do run into each other at large scale tastings).  She stared at me.  In her opinion, the term was either winemaker, or owner.

It got me thinking, am I wrong wondering what is a vintner?

Really, there is a single difference between a vintner and a winemaker.  One has to actually sell what they make, the other is able to have someone else do that for him (yeah, it’s always a him).

So a vintner might have a more complete look at the winery operation than would say, a winemaker.  It’s hard to admit, but vintner might actually be the best job in wine country.

Stepping Back in Time

Ok, so here’s the deal. I didn’t grow up with any real religion.  In fact, I’m not sure I even stepped into a church until I was at least 16.  Maybe for my Baptism, but not again for years and years.

So, it always feels weird, even if I’ve found some religion a bit later in life, to talk about saints.  I didn’t really learn to pray to saints the way that some do, but as you might expect, stepping back in time…..there’s a patron saint of wine.

I wrote about the Patron Saint of Wine on our company blog, in large part because it’s interesting. Plus, there’s actually more than one…..many more in fact.

Thinking back a few hundred years ago, I get it.  Water was unsafe.  So you drank other stuff.  Sometimes beer.  Often wine in some parts of the world.  If the only way to drink anything that kept you and your family safe, depended on a good harvest….I get why there’s a patron saint of wine, don’t you?

Facebook……I Don’t Get It For Business

Ok, before I go on any further, I’m working on rehabbing my Uncorked Ventures Facebook Page.

As you might have heard (heavy sarcasm intended) Facebook is kind of a big thing, with like a billion daily users.  Personally, I gave up on the platform some time, largely because it seemed so fake and contrived.  Really, I don’t mind pictures of everyone’s kids….but there was an awful lot of clear bullshit about what people were doing and how well they were doing it.

I didn’t find that it was healthy for me, nor did I find that I was getting anything out it.  I wasn’t learning anything new, I wasn’t being exposed to new ways of thinking, etc etc.

I wanted to step outside my own social circle a bit and learn something new.  So Facebook went out of my regular rotation.  We’ll see if I’m able to do something with the business page….there’s obviously a lot written about Facebook for business.  But, I’ll generally try and then see where I end up at from there.

Trying Something New: Blog Posts

I’ve long considered how to keep my company blog and website updated.  I’m trying something new, not letting Yelp and Trip Advisor to dominate the usual search terms.

As something of an example, one of the most common questions people ask is about taking a tour in Napa Valley.  So, I wrote a bit about Napa Valley Wine Tours.

Really, what I wanted to do is to make sure that I was focusing only on people that actually live and work in the valley?

Are you a driver, with a limo, only looking at Yelp reviews?  Yeah, you shouldn’t be on our list.  Plus, driving yourself through Napa Valley is actually pretty easy.

Road Trips…..a Family Staple

Ok, so I got quoted in an online article about keeping the kids entertained on long road trips.

The article is here if you want to read it:

Anyway, I was pretty amazed at how many people just use some form of tech to get the kids to be quiet for a while.  We run into this as a family every so often when we’re out at restaurants of course, we’re pretty close to screen free….so it seems strange to people that our kids are sometimes loud.  Sometimes misbehaved.  Sometimes present.

Anyway, having taken multiple 10+ hour road trips over the past few years, I can say how really shocking that whole thing was.  Would it be easier when we’re driving 5 hours in a day to just have them watch a movie in the car?  Heck yes!  Would they miss the entire and everything on the side of the road while watching?  Probably also yes, which kind of defeats the purpose to us.

Writing What I Want, Or What is Needed

One of the big, big challenges out there right now for me.  On my regular company blog, should I be writing what I want, or writing what is needed?

Take this as an example, there are almost 4 thousand (!!) monthly searches for what I consider one of the most basic things in the wine trade.  How many bottles in a case of wine?

It’s the type of question that pretty much gets answered in 5 seconds via Google right? But, don’t I want those people on my website instead of someone else’s?

Does that take away the time I have to write stuff that’s more important, or just more fun?

We’re Up On Youtube

So, I finally got my act together to get a branded Youtube account setup.

Uncorked Ventures Youtube

It’s an interesting thing for a small business.  There’s constant advice and really nagging by all of those around us, telling us which social networks we should be on, or not on. It’s almost impossible to beat out the noise and it’s all exasperated by the simple fact that most of the case studies that you see, are put together by those writing about  bigger businesses.  Quite frankly, if one of my venture backed competitors has been incredibly successful marketing themselves on Instagram (or really any network) it doesn’t effect me, because I can’t afford to do the same stuff that they’ve done.

Thus, the Youtube channel.  It’s something that I’ll be working on using better over the coming year.