This one day immersion course in sales and marketing is hosted by Elizabeth “E” Slater, marketing expert and owner of In Short Direct Marketing and partner in the Wine Industry Network.

Anyone who frequents the home improvement store or watches TV home make-over shows understands the do-it-yourself (DIY) concept quite well. We’ve taken this concept one step further by empowering you with the DIY tools, skills, and know-how to improve your winery’s tasting room, programs, and staff.

You don’t always have the budget to rely on outside services to change your merchandising, increase sales staff training, or revamp your wine club. Take action and start the ball rolling yourself. In this workshop, you’ll receive a handy DIY Instruction Manual filled with tips and suggestions along with expert commentary and materials by qualified guest speakers. You’ll leave armed and ready with the right tools to get the job done and the satisfaction that you’ve done it yourself! For more information on the show schedule and speakers Click Here.

This single day event will be hosted in the heart of the Napa Valley.  The exclusive supplier showcase will be sized to feature a limited number of high level exhibitors whose products and services relate directly to the target audience attending this seminar.  Anyone wishing to attend the showcase must enroll for the seminar.


The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival will bring big-screen glamour to the Central Coast in March 7-11, 2012, with screenings and special events across the county.

Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, surrounded by lush vineyards, ranchland and a 100-mile coastline, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) is headquartered in the quaint, sophisticated downtown of San Luis Obispo on the spectacular Central Coast of California.

Festival Website

As a premiere 5-day annual event, the SLOIFF showcases contemporary and classic film screenings in a wide variety of venues, from the city’s classic art deco Fremont Theatre, to the popular independent Palm Theatre, with a variety of unexpected venues from the wine country of Paso Robles to the seaside towns of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach.

San Luis Obispo Wine Tasting and Film Festival

The main event will show feature films, narratives, short films and special screenings at venues countywide.

Variety is the spice of life, and the SLOIFF is proud to embrace that philosophy in its programming. From cutting edge documentaries to tried and true cinema classics, the SLOIFF celebrates film on the ‘big screen’ by offering something for everyone. Experience HOLLYWOOD & VINES EVENTS that pair excellent local wines with film classics. Or the RED CARPET EVENTS, where we welcome celebrities from Hollywood filmmakers to action sports legends.

Enjoy premieres of INDEPENDENT FILMS – films that you may not have a chance to see anywhere else. Filmmakers from all over the world attend the Festival and offer informative Q & A sessions after the screening of their films.

Details for the 2012 festival have been announced. Check the Festival Website for the latest news and highlights and the complete schedule of films, workshops and special events.

For a view of special films see the SLOIFF Youtube channel and sit back and enjoy!

I have been in the wine business off and on since the late 1970’s and have tasted thousands of wines and visited well over 1000 tasting rooms. Some people call this work, but I know better, it’s a great fun and great practice to discern what wines I prefer to drink and what wineries I like to visit.

Wine has been an enigma to many people– a misunderstood beverage with lots of mystery. Yet, for years we are told that everybody has different tastes in wine and some wines will appeal to different people, and we should enjoy what we like! So individual opinions from “experts” really shouldn’t sway us on what wine we should like. But they do!

I was speaking with a couple of local winemakers the other night about gold medals and 90+ point scores for their wines. They both indicated that they submit their wines to a number of competitions and will regularly provide wines to influential wine writers. High scores and gold medals clearly help sell their wines. (A top score can liquidate a vintners inventory within a few days.)

Other winery owners I have spoken to feel that the days of gold medals making a substantial impact of wine sales has passed. Are there too many wine competitions and therefore too many medals? Is it overload to keep up with the latest scores? Or are we now more attuned and confident in our own ability to discover wines we like and to heck with what Mr. snooty, cork dork thinks?

Let’s go out to the wine country this week and do some research.


2010 Harvest

Looks like an odd year with good and not so good fruit coming in. Most is good and some is looking…..great.  The sun, or lack of it this summer, has contributed to more than a few grey hairs on growers heads.  Too cool so pull some leaves and drop some fruit.  Oh no, heat spike! Its 110 and no shade for the grape clusters. Sunburn with no sunblock.

chardonnayWas that 1/2 inch of rain along the Central Coast last week. Rain in October?  Yes and those tight clusters might be showing a bit of bunch rot.  Now we are back to something more normal this week. Cool nights (low 50’s) and warm days (90-100). Most vineyards are picked now with a few late ripening varieties still hanging on.  Could be  a year of some very interesting….great?….wines. Time will tell.


10 Am Tasting

10 Am Tasting

Walla Walla Wine

Walla Walla Wine

Dan Fredman with Taster

Dan Fredman with Taster

Bloggers Goodie Bag

Bloggers Goodie Bag

Three hundred strong. We descend on this unsuspecting village of quaint shops, wine bars, coffee counters and statues. Bloggers, wine makers, grape growers (maybe a couple), marketing gurus, importers, exporters, drinkers, writers, posers — all passionate about wine.The 3rd Annual Bloggers Conference pulled the corks early this morning with a tasting (at 10am sharp) of Washington wines along with a few interlopers from abroad. Glasses were raised, emptied, raised again and occasionally dumped. The local cabernet covered cherries paired with everything, including the rieslings, the Semillons, the gruner veltliner, sauvignon blancs, cabs, merlots, malbecs, cab francs, and the un-restrained and often subtle red blends.

The generous and sizable goodie bag brought even grown men to agony as they hefted the load between tasting tables, finally giving in to parking their Washington provided treasures. Wine books, magazines, postcards, pens, a CD from Lake Chelan Wine Valley, Hogue Cellars DVD, flash drives from Canoe Ridge, Jordan and the Secret Cherry Society, brochures, snacks and assorted swag.

And the bottles! King Estate Oregon pinot gris (a state nearby Washington with privileges), a wines.com cab from….Chile and two water bottles– one domestic (Walla Walla Wine Alliance) one from Spain.

An international collection in southeastern Washington. 300 strong

2010 Tasting Room Profitability Conference – April 7-8, 2010
Tasting Room Profitability provides the with the skills you need for a successful and profitable tasting room. Take part in two full days of compelling sessions by experts in and out of the wine industry presenting provocative, practical and instructive information that you can use immediately and in the future. Topics include blogging, social networking, new technologies, the latest in shipping compliance, and more. Show information.

60 or more vendors will be on site who specialize in tasting room products and services. Suppliers and manufacturers will be there, ready to introduce you to new products and take your orders – often at special show prices. You are also encouraged to bring a bottle of your winery’s finest wine to show off and share the afternoon wine reception. Network with your peers and taste wines from many parts of North America while you talk over your new ideas and concepts.

“Connection” will be the theme at the next Wine Club Summit and Tasting Room Profitability Conference and Trade Show events. Through technologies and more traditional methods, making the sale is all about how we connect in today’s marketplace. Learn innovative ideas and rediscover tried-and-true techniques to increase traffic and drive sales.

The Fall colors are no giving way to the bare wood of the vines throughout most of wine country. Some vineyards have already finished their pruning though many will wait till later in the season.

The 2009 harvest in California will be considered one tough mama. Rain, wind, frost and smoke! Fortunately the fruit that did make it in was of good quality and many vineyards were not affected buy the quadruple challenges.

So stay tuned to those barrel samples. I tried a taste of some 09 central coast Cab from the vat (no barrel yet) and……it tasted as expected–young and grapey with no off odors. Not quite ready for prime time, or prime rib, but better than the mash of fruit juice it was a few months ago.