Who listens to podcasts these days?

Podcasts have been around for well over a decade now. When I first started producing the Wine Country BC podcast in 2009, it was not new technology, but I often had to explain to people how to listen to them. Apple released the Podcasts app beginning with the iPhone 4 and podcasts started to take …

Continue reading Who listens to podcasts these days?

We’ve been forced to close our on-line store – for now.

Ok, kids, how does this fit into the grand scheme of things? It seems that the world of “virtual wineries” is under some scrutiny at this point. Wine maker Brad Cooper, long-time former wine maker at Township 7 and now at Serendipity in Naramata, has been producing top quality Pinot Noir under the Black Cloud branding for almost 6 years. He has recently volunteered to take down his online sales site because of a “crack-down on virtual wineries”. There are a lot of virtual wineries out there in BC right now but the line between a “virtual winery” and a “label” seems a little fuzzy. Has anyone ever visited the Prospect Winery? How about Sawmill Creek? OKV? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Many upstart wineries begin their production in other wineries’ facilities using the licence of the established winery until the upstart winery is established and can move into its own facility. Painted Rock’s first vintages were completed at Poplar Grove. Le Vieux Pin’s first vintages were also completed elsewhere. Incubator custom-crush facilities like Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland have multitudes of labels belonging to ‘virtual’ wineries – what will happen to them? Seven Directions, wine maker Daniel Bontorin’s rosé focused label, is another one along with a sundry of other garagiste-type labels that have really made the BC wine scene vastly more experimental and extremely interesting over recent years. Could this be the end of this kind of creative experimentation?

Suffice it to say that “crack-downs” from bureaucrats are usually initiated by outside complaints rather than initiated from within the bureaucracy. While it will be interesting to see how this plays out, this is an unfortunate turn of events for wine makers like Mr. Cooper and Black Cloud leading up to the Christmas Season. Just like on their labels, let’s hope there is a silver lining.



If you been over to www.blackcloud.ca you will have noticed that the site is down. We shut it down voluntarily after a BC Control and Licensing inspector made it known in no uncertain terms that a crack-down on virtual wineries was happening and that Black Cloud, a brand of Serendipity Winery, was under scrutiny.

According to the powers that be, there is only one kind of winery in BC. That’s the kind that they license, and brands like Black Cloud, operating under the wing of another operation, are not going to be tolerated. They don’t like wine e-commerce to start, and operating a site without direct correalation to our parent license holder is making them, shall we say, concerned.

In a business environment that favours the landed, the financed and the established, it’s getting harder and harder to be an innovator and to create a winemaking environment that is…

View original post 58 more words

Podcast 148 – Conversation with Marcia Hamm

I met Marcia Hamm last summer when I was working at the winery. She and I had a lot to chat about and it became obvious that we just didn't get enough time to talk. So we kept in touch and I jumped at the chance to record a chat with her in person when she was …

Continue reading Podcast 148 – Conversation with Marcia Hamm

Podcast 147 – Similkameen BBQ King 2014

What can I say about the Similkameen BBQ King that I haven't already said before? For starters, in this podcast at least, I just shut up and started listening to what others had to say. Other media people and other attendees at this year's competition. As always, it was tons of fun. As always, the food …

Continue reading Podcast 147 – Similkameen BBQ King 2014

Podcast 146 – Wine Tour Companies Part 3

Ok, there's been a lot of articles lately so let's get back to the podcasts. Anyone who has toured the Naramata Bench in the summertime will recognize the name Top Cat Tours. Their buses are almost synonymous with wine touring in Penticton. As one of the oldest wine touring companies in the Okanagan starting in …

Continue reading Podcast 146 – Wine Tour Companies Part 3

Wineries Need to Give Wine Bloggers More Respect

I didn’t get to attend this year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference but still somehow feel the need to ‘spread the word’ a little and Valerie has done a great job with this article. You should also read the comments below it for some added arguments pro and con as well as alternative viewpoints. Self-reflection and introspection (or navel-gazing) has, for better or worse, always been a significant part of any WBC that I’ve attended (although interestingly less so in Penticton for some reaosn) and apparently this tradition lives on in the recent conference. More than just applicable to wine blogging though, I really think it’s a bigger part of the zeitgeist – musicians have effectively been deprofessionalized slowly over the past 50 years and writers are in that boat now too. Anyone with a big digital camera can be a “professional photographer” or produce videos easily using nothing but an iPad app. People who may have real talent now have a lot of outlets for it but at what cost? I once had a winery tell me, “Thanks for the free publicity!” as I was leaving after recording a podcast and it soured my outlook on blogging and the work I was putting into creating the podcast. Why was I just giving away my skills and working long hours just to tell their story? My online presence changed soon after that as I moved from a “tell their story”-mode to a “tell it like I see it”-mode. As such, I now rarely introduce myself to new wineries anymore preferring to receive a more ‘anonymous’ public experience of the wine shop (which is what most of my readers / listeners will get) instead of getting whatever VIP treatment the winery can offer. I’m not interested in free wine, I’m interested in *wine* and at this time of my blogging / podcasting life, I will say what I want to say. If your winery has a wine that interests me, I will write about it or include it in a podcast. I can only write about my point of view. I think people who read wine blogs do so because of they know that it’s someone’s point of view and not contrived marketing. That’s where I think wine bloggers need to focus – tell your story, not theirs.

The Demystified Vine

Inspired at the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference

I was recently at the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, California, on a scholarship. During the conference, I attended a number of intensely interesting seminars, in addition to having some serious talks with industry folks about wine. I spoke with fellow bloggers, PR reps, wine writers, winery owners, and even winemakers. Throughout the conversations and seminars, I kept pondering on the relationship between wineries and wine bloggers, and that this relationship needs to be developed and intensified.

Relationships2-Brands-Rousers-Luis-Gallardo-300x300 Social web network marketing diagram Brands Rousers Luis Gallardo

Now, before you jump on this, read with an open mind. This post is not being written to complain about wineries intentionally disrespecting wine bloggers. The whole point is to create awareness and dialogue of where wine blogging stands, how wine bloggers are helping wineries, and illuminate the not-entirely-functioning relationship between wineries and wine bloggers…

View original post 1,319 more words

Podcast 145 – It’s BBQ King Time again!

It's that time of year again! Time for the talented chef's of the Okanagan and Similkameen to get their grills fired up down at the Grist Mill in Keremeos for the Similkameen BBQ King Championship. In my completely humble and totally unbiased opinion, this is still the best wine and culinary event of the year. …

Continue reading Podcast 145 – It’s BBQ King Time again!

Podcast 144 – The Merits of VQA

Ok, this is a big one. Calli, while studying at UBC last semester, created a podcast for a course called Land and Food Systems. She interviewed two people (with opposing views) about the Vintner's Quality Alliance (or VQA) and presented it in the form of a podcast. The people that she interviewed were Harry McWatters and …

Continue reading Podcast 144 – The Merits of VQA

Podcast 143 – Courcelettes’ Trivium in the Similkameen

This week's podcast is all about the new wineries in the Similkameen valley, which seems to be where my motorcycle takes me frequently for some reason. It also features a new winery from the Similkameen Valley called Courcelettes. It's the Baessler family's vineyard and winery, which is named after their home town of Courcelettes, Switzerland. …

Continue reading Podcast 143 – Courcelettes’ Trivium in the Similkameen

Podcast 142 – The Nomacorc Revolution, Part 2

... Continued from "The Nomacorc Revolution, Part 1" So was I convinced? Did they really manage to change my outlook on synthetic corks?? Get a hint with this podcast Calli and I recorded; In short, yes. They did. Here's why. Before this trip, I wasn't convinced that there was really even a need for synthetic …

Continue reading Podcast 142 – The Nomacorc Revolution, Part 2