Sunday, June 27, 2010

Marketing Travels Abroad

Last month Rick and I spent a couple of weeks in England and Germany attending events and marketing Woody wines.

We began with a trade tasting set up by our agent, Wine Treasury, at Gordon Ramsay's Maze in London. In addition to new releases, we presented a vertical of "Old Vines" Cabernet. This was followed by a lovely trade lunch in the Maze View room where the kitchen executed some great food and wine matches.

We spent the next three days at the London International Wine & Spirits Fair which is a huge trade event, pouring wine along side other Northwest wineries from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. How those women in the booth across the aisle wore stiletto heels for three days, I will never figure out! We did this same event several years ago and there was definitely more interest in Washington wines this time. However, the majority of people who stop to taste require a 101 on Washington wine starting with which Washington we are talking about and moving on to clarifying that all of the state does not have the same climate as Seattle. It is quite fun though to meet trade and other winemakers from all over the world and to help to educate people on what we are doing here in Washington.
A special treat was running into former Woody intern Timothée Boltz from Alsace who spent a crush with us in 2004. He now works as an export manager for an Alsatian winery and is getting married this summer.

One side benefit of the tasting at Maze was meeting the folks from other fine restaurants, two of which we later visited.

We first went to Goodman, a steak house in Mayfair. The General Manager, David who had recently visited Walla Walla with the Washington Wine Commission's Wine Experience, and the sommelier, Crispin, took good care of us. They have an interesting concept where they feature U.S., Scottish and Irish beef - all perfectly prepared with great side dishes as well. We waddled back to the Tube.

The next evening we dined across the street at Hibiscus at the urging of sommelier Julian. It was absolutely one of the best meals we have ever had. Sleek, calm interior that was a nice change from the hectic city streets. We chose the Spring Tasting Menu – layered flavors and textures, beautifully presented. The chef has a way of combining a myriad of flavors, yet keeping each one distinct. The fresh pea soup inspired me to come home and plant some peas in our raised beds and the tiny jellied cubes of balsamic in the strawberry dessert has got me on a new mission. A very memorable meal.

Finally we ate at the Al Sultan, a Lebanese restaurant, in the Shepherd's Market area of Mayfair which is a last night tradition for those Northwest wineries associated with Hilltop Wines in the UK. After filling up on the extensive Meze, I looked up and saw the loaded plates of the main course headed our way and recalled that last time I had told myself to remember that the Meze was just the first course…….It is a good thing that getting to and from the Tube platform involves a lot of stairs.

London is a great city and I wish we had time to partake in what it has to offer, but the next day we flew to Frankfurt, Germany, then took a train further north to Celle where brothers Bruce and Alan at Kultur Insel-Celle are beginning to bring our wines in. Celle is a charming town with the buildings in the old town center dating back to the 16th century with some 480 restored half-timber houses, a palace/museum and abundant parks and walking paths.

By day we went to the market and toured the sights. In the evenings, Bruce, Allan and Tanja arranged a tasting at wine bar in a nearby town (Buxtehude) and at their wine bar/music club in Celle where Alan plays. Tanja speaks English better and faster than any foreign speaker and most native English speakers that I know, and for me to say that is something if you know how fast Rick and I speak.

Germans are quite fascinated by the American West and steak houses with western themes are fairly common. Our Nelms Road wine is now on the list of the Apache Grill in Celle. The inside of their menu has a map of the U.S., showing the location of the various tribes and lo and behold there were the Walla Wallas!

This trip was kind of a whirlwind, but fun and an important way to make connections and to spread the word about Washington wine and Woody in particular.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Travel Changes

Wine bloggers and non-bloggers alike the first section of the New Highway 12 opened this past Monday. It's a bit confusing and if you're not careful you'll miss some of our great neighbors here in the West End. Here's a great little map of the new road.

For those bloggers that are interested in finding something to do in your down time, head out to visit us for a tasting. Show us your conference badge for waived tasting fees. 

Hope to see everyone this weekend!



Here's the most current copy of the West End Winery map.  It includes directions on how to get to Skylite as well. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Calendar of events

I’m sorry that updates have become less and less frequent. I am trying to be better at posting but things at the winery and in the tasting room have become increasingly busier in the last month or two. There are so many things going on in the month of June, that we are involved in, that I wanted to get the word out. Hope to see everyone at one or more of the events ...
·         June 3rd – We will be joining in on the national Washington Wine (#WAWine) tweetup down at Olive Marketplace Café in Walla Walla from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Join us and numerous other Walla Walla wineries as we all meet in one central location and collectively taste and tweet about Washington wines.
·         June 3rd – Join Thomas Woodley, our national sales coordinator, at The Inn at Langley in Langley Washington for an amazing night of food and wine. Chef Mike Costello has put together an amazing 5-course menu and paired it with some fresh whites and vintage reds. Cost of the dinner is $170 per person which includes food, wine, tax and gratuity. Attendees of the dinner will be offered a discounted room rate to stay at the inn as well.Call the Inn for reservations (360) 221-3033.
·         June 4th – For those that stay the night, join Thomas Woodley and Chef Costello as they dig into their award winning cellar to host a vertical tasting of vintage Woodward Canyon wines accompanied with some small bites prepared by Chef Costello. The tasting will be free to those who attended the dinner the evening before and cost $35 for anyone else.
·         June 6th – Join Marlene and myself as we descend upon The Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane for Taste Washington Spokane on Sunday from 5:00 to 8:30 pm. We’ll join around 100 other wineries and 25 restaurants at the event and will be pouring our 2008 Washington State Chardonnay, the 2007 “Artist Series” Cabernet and the 2008 Nelms Road Cabernet. Tickets are still available so get yours at
·         June 13th – Join either Thomas Woodley or Darcey Fugman-Small, our owner/general manager, at the Seattle Wine Awards hosted at the historic Rainier Club. We will be pouring our award winning wines – the 2006 Estate Red (double gold), the 2007 “Artist Series” Cabernet (gold) and the 2008 Nelms Road Cabernet (silver). Tickets for the event are still available so get your ticket here.
·         June 18th – Visit the Walla Walla Valley and join in on the festivities of Vintage Walla Walla. Friday evening, June 18th, join Thomas, Rick and Darcey for the bbq under the stars out at Northstar Winery from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Tickets are available for the bbq only or as part of the Vintage WW package.
·         June 19th – The next day, ten wineries, us included, are hosting special tasting events throughout the valley. For more information on the individual events and for reservations, please contact the Walla Walla Wine Alliance office at (509) 526-3117. Later on Saturday join participating wineries for the Vintage pour gala and silent auction that evening from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. It’s a great opportunity to taste vintage wines with the winemakers who make them. It’s also the chance to bid on amazing packages put together by wineries of the Walla Walla Valley.
·         June 25th – 27th – The 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference has decided on a change of scenery and is moving from Napa/Sonoma Valley, California to the Walla Walla Valley. I was able to attend the conference last year and had a blast. It is a great opportunity to meet with fellow wine bloggers and talk about wine and the importance of blogging and social media. California set the bar fairly high last year but I know that Walla Walla is up to the task. The conference is sold out however they are keeping a wait list in case there are any last minute cancellations.

And a heads up look at what is coming up in the month of July ...

·         July 1st – Join us as we’re pouring a selection of our wines at Olive Marketplace Café at their weekly wine tasting event. For a $5 tasting fee you can taste through our line up of wines. Splurge on dinner while you are there and grab one of their fabulous flat-bread pizzas. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
 ·     July 31st – Looking ahead, T-Maccarone's and us have paired up to do a farm-to-table dinner out in our Estate Vineyard. Final details are still to come so check back for more information or send me an email at and I'll keep you updated.

Hope to get a real post up here soon with the happenings at the winery and a recap on Rick and Darcey’s trip over to England and Germany last month. Thanks for keeping an eye on us and hope to see you in the tasting room soon.