Tuesday, January 18, 2011



Okay, so I took a longer break from blogging than expected. I guess sometimes it's nice to have a giant break from school, and from life. But I have missed writing about my wine exploits, so I have journeyed back to Wine and Pr: A Perfect Pairing. In my latest blog post, I had promised to tell my 'French' wine experience. I think that 'experience' seems to be such a ...weak... word for what wine, in France, is exactly like. But, there are too many words and not enough time to replace (i.e. amazing, fabulous, insightful, fun, delicious, delightful!)

Last April I went on a European trip with my close friend, Hillary. We spent a week exploring Italy and then another week exploring France. As you read in my last post, wine in Italy go together like peanut butter and jelly. It seems, however, that wine and France go together just as swimmingly!

After Italy, Hillary and I decided to take a week to spend in the heart of Paris. We stayed in the Republique area of the city, a kind of Bohemian, revolutionary-like division. Our first day in the hotel, there was a large communist group protesting directly outside the hotel doors, waving banners and marching in the streets. We knew immediately that we weren't in our little home town in New England anymore...

We went on many day trips while in France (Mont St. Michel, Versailles, etc.) One of the most memorable trips was a small day trip we had organized a few days earlier, to a little wine tasting. About a 2 minute walk from the Louvre Museum (which turned into a 20 minute walk because sometimes the side streets of Paris can be very puzzling) we found the wine tasting.

We visited the O Chateau to learn a little bit more about France, wine, and all things that go along with it. Sitting in the dark, cellar walls of the building, it felt like we were really in the depths of the wine-loving city. The sounds, smells and tastes of the wine tasting put my senses on overload!

Hillary and I decided to opt for the "Introductory" French wine tasting class, to avoid embarrassment in a higher-leveled class full of French wine experts. We sat with about 20 other classmates, most of them being American. We were poured three different types of wine, starting with the lighter bodied wines. All of the wines, were of course, absolutely perfect!
We learned many things, tried many wines, and enjoyed feeling like true "Parisians". We clinked glasses, listened dreamily to French musings on Bordeaux's, Sauvignon Blancs, and Pinot Noirs. I provided a map at the top of my blog, to give you an idea of the French wine regions. This map was very helpful in learning, or at least attempting to learn, more about the French wine culture.
The sommeliers were knowledgeable and interesting, making the overall experience that much better. We left with yet another 'experience' under our belts, one that made us feel like we really belonged in that city. I have always been in love with Paris, and this just another reason on my list of reasons why...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

surprise, surprise....

It's been a few weeks since I wrote the last blog post, so I thought I'd write a quick post today. Once school subsides (it has become the death of me!) then I will certainly post more, and more often. School is over in ...4 days, so there will certainly be much more VINO in my life, and yours!

My last post was a little public relations provided from yours truly about Italy and wine.
The next blog post will be a little public relations provided by moi (hint, hint)It will be the second is a series of posts about my favorite places in the world to dine and drink wine.
If you think the hills of Tuscany could never be topped as a wine drinker's dream, then think again!

So, au revoir until my next post! (I promise, the wait will be worth it)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Italy, Wine, Friends, Food. What could be better?

Time for a little public relations brought to you directly by...me.

Yes, I am writing this latest musing to give a little public relations to one of my favorite places, on Earth. If they paid me to talk about them, I would be rich. Very, very rich. But alas, I am still a humble servant extolling the virtues.

What is the one place on Earth (yes, Earth) where I could sit and sip wine..every day?

Beautiful Tuscany, Italy. Near the city of Florence (Firenze) there is an absolutely breathtaking restaurant tucked away in the hills. The restaurant, a true Tuscan gem, is called Ristorante I Tre Pini.

As my friend and I walked into the garden entrance of I Tre Pini, we were greeted with two glasses of sparkling red wine. The owner came out to meet us with a smiling face and beautiful music playing. The best part? It was the first batch of their latest vintage wine, opened just before our arrival. Yes, we were given glasses of wine before we even made our way into the restaurant. I knew immediately this would be a fantastic night..

As we sat down in the outdoor restaurant underneath a covered tent, a small ensemble of musicians serenaded the weary travelers with melodious, classic Italian tunes. I hadn't seen a drop of food yet, and this was already the best meal I had ever had.

Before long, a giant platter of antipasto was placed in front of our table. The appetizers by themselves would have filled me up for days, but I was determined to continue eating. After filling up my plate with pastas, cheeses, olives and breads I was still ready for round two. In reality, I should have been prepared for round two, three, four, five and six. We were given plate after plate of pasta, salad, fresh vegetables, and prosciutto. Right when I was ready to throw in my napkin, the finale began.

A loud, voice rang out in the restaurant...a deep, baritone voice singing in Italian. Okay, so by now I was pretty positive everything was just a dream. Or maybe a romantic, Italian movie that I couldn't understand a word of, but it looked so fabulous. I was so entranced by large amounts of food and wine, I was pretty sure I had just created a giant, amazing delusion.
And then... the pig came out.

A huge, flaming full pig on a platter (haha!) with an apple in his mouth. The oohing and aahing began, followed by a lot of cheersing and singing. The pig was proudly brought to every table, pausing for the visitors to admire the delicious dinner. It was sliced and sitting on our plates within minutes, followed by sighs of content by everyone around.

Energized by excitement and amazing Italian food, the dancing began. Young and old, friends and strangers, everyone was up on their feet dancing to the great live music with great wine in our hands. One thing is for sure...I did not want my Italian wine/dinner fantasy to end. That night, everyone was a friend and everyone was Italian. I danced and sang with Canadians, Americans, Australians, Italians, anyone and everyone.

Alas, after enjoying numerous glasses of wine and numerous plates of food, the night was finally over. We trudged back to our awaiting vehicle, sad to leave the beautiful little restaurant. It was certainly an experience I will never forgot, and I left singing Bella Notte for many, many days..

Thursday, November 11, 2010

They've got an "app" for that...

It seems that this week a certain topic keeps popping up in conversations with classmates, professors, and friends. The topic is technology, and more distinctly- cell phones.

Not too many years ago, a cell phone was just a cell phone. It was used to make phone calls, receive phone calls, and...make phone calls and receive phone calls. Today, a cell phone becomes a person's livelihood. We must be attached to this piece of electronic godliness, or we will most certainly face unbearable consequences. I wish that I was exaggerating here...

The whole idea of a cell phone today does not revolve around making phone calls. Sure, actually talking someone ON the phone is a bonus, but definitely not the reason for cell phone use. Instead, it is our tool to connect to the whole world through a web of various applications and tools. If you have a smartphone, then you must can access to your email, your facebook, your online textbook, your calendar, videos of your favorite t.v. show, and much MUCH more.

One amazing ability of cell phones, is the ability to download applications. Want to count your calories? Want to choose a restaurant in the area? Want to look for adoptable pets in your area? There is an "app" for that. So, if you haven't figured out the direction I'm headed....

There's a wine app for that too!
Having technology at your fingertips means having access to anything and everything you want to know. So, if you are a wine expert, a wine novice, or anything in between, there is most certainly an app for you.

You can keep track of the wines that you enjoy, and then refer back to that list once you get to the package store and can only remember what the label looks like (happens to us all!)

Check out Drync Wine Pro, the very savvy wine application. You can use this wine app to write down your own reviews (hm..tastes like currant and smoke..) or purchase your favorite bottle. If you aren't sure what type of wine you'd like to try, that also have a research option. It was rated highly in both MacWorld online magazine, and VinTank wine magazine. The only thing the app doesn't do (besides make you dinner) is help to pair wines and food together. I think this is quite a downfall, considering food and wine go together like...food and wine. Perfectly!

Another great vino application for your smart phone is Hello Vino Free* which is one of the few apps that offers the food/wine pairing tool. Hello Vino integrates both Facebook and Twitter into the application, so your friends can all share in your favorite wine choices. I always find it helpful to look into what styles of wine go best with certain foods, this way the meal seems to taste better and so does the wine!

So what are the implications for the wine public relations? The answer is obvious. Wine is becoming integrated more and more into our society, through more than just the conventional channels of communication. Integrated Marketing Communication incorporates a "marketing mix" is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, functions and sources within an organization into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers at a minimal cost. So, download a free wine application, and you will undoubtedly be providing information to the IMC which also allows for great wine public relations! For instance, if you download or read enough articles and reviews for Pinot Noir, then the IMC will begin to pinpoint your individual interests and buying habits. Soon enough, this technology will finish your sentences for you! (okay, let's hope not..but you get the point)

And, once again this all comes back to research. These wine applications are not just created for fun. They are based on careful research, through qualitative and quantitative analysis of various factors, and all brought back around. Next time you download an app in 30 seconds, think about all the time that went into it... and have fun!

(Benzinger wines has their own app!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Career minded?

Have you enjoyed reading about wine and the public relations industry thus far? If you haven't stopped reading 5 blog posts ago, then you shouldn't stop now...

Like to travel, drink wine, and enjoy the arts? Okay, that is a silly question... Who doesn't enjoy drinking unique local wines in new, exciting places while enjoying the beauty of the arts? So, if you think you could handle this type of lifestyle, then perhaps you should look into a career in wine public relations.

Many public relations firms are dedicated solely to food, wine and the arts. Other public relations firms focus on premium spirits, luxury lifestyles, wineries, and beer.

Consider the Academy of Wine Communications, dedicated to wine and food public relations and marketing professionals.

The Academy's Goal:
To provide a public forum for wine & food public relations and marketing professionals to network, exchange ideas, meet key members of the wine press, and learn classic and innovative techniques for communicating about wine
To support the craft of wine writing by acting as a resource and clearinghouse of information for authors, journalists, broadcasters, and bloggers.

One of the general principles of The Academy of Wine Communications is one that shouldn't be surprising-
"Use Web 2.0 for Communication – As much as possible, we intend to use Web 2.0 tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, UStream, YouTube, etc. to communicate with our membership and beyond. These tools make it possible for us to converse on a frequent basis with members throughout the country and the world."

The Academy of Wine Communications was founded with the express goal supporting food & wine writers and the art of wine writing. Of course, the means of communication have evolved over time. New tools and techniques are constantly developing, adapting to the relevance of today's society. Online wine writers from all over the world come together for three days at The Wine Bloggers' Conference.

You should attend this conference next June, to meet some well-known bloggers within the wine industry and hear how they created successful blogging careers

So go out into the world wide world of wine public relations, and find yourself a new, fantastic and unique career!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Drink. Blog. Drink. Blog.

Blogs are popular, savvy, fun and interesting. Not to mention, blogs are written about...everything (as mentioned in my last post)

Researchers are now analyzing blogs, using content analysis, to look at the expressions, views and opinions of bloggers about whatever topics pique their interests. These blogs can help track trends in society, the economy, advertising, etc. Implications indicate that wine businesses should pay attention to blogs (just like other social media sites!)

I recently read a research article written by Liz Thach for the 5th International Academy of Wine Business Research Conference. Her article is the first of its kind that conducts a content analysis of 222 English language wine blogs. (Sadly, mine is not included...)
This being said, 9 major categories of wine blogs were discovered by the analysis of the blogs:
1)Wine reviews (the most popular)
2)Wine & Food
3)Wine Education
4)Specific Region
5)Wine & Culture
6)Winery Blog
7)Wine Business
8)Wine-making, viticulture

Interestingly enough, 813 different wine brands were mentioned within the 222 blogs. The most cited brands were:

In terms of advertising, only 47% of wine blogs analyzed included advertising. Personally, I thought that the blogs would include more advertising (to generate $, among many reasons) Though I can understand the annoyance of reading a blog plastered in crazy dancing monkeys advertising a new cell phone.
All of these random sample of wine blogs were taken from Vinography: A Wine Blog.
The more popular the blog however, the more public relations professionals for these top mentioned brands should take notice. If the blogs are well-written and thoughtful mullings- then the wineries should even consider sponsoring the bloggers. Depending on the number and range of readers, blogs could be golden untapped resources available for the wine indsutry to track and utilize.

According to the article, "The results of this study illustrate the varying types of wine blogs available to consumers on the Internet, with the most predominant type of blog providing author‐generated wine reviews and rating. In addition, this study shows that there are various types of wine blogs that provide useful information ranging from educational to entertainment."

So as public relations professionals, keep on viewing and monitoring blogs. What people have to say always DOES matter!!

On a side note, HAPPY HALLOWEEN to my fellow bloggers & readers.

Go grab a bottle of Vampire Wine at your local package store, I can guarantee that the wine is quite delicious!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Social Media Wine-ing

Who doesn't have a facebook, twitter, linkedin, or tumblr account these days? If you don't have any of these, then you should probably get one. ASAP.

If you are a successful business or organization (or want to be) then you should definitely use social media tools daily. While facebook may seem like a website used to play farm games and chat with long-last friends, it is far beyond any of that.

Social media is a highly successful, accessible publishing technique. As public relations professionals, it is highly important to identify the target audiences so that we can be effective and successful practitioners.

Social media for Public Relations:
  • Get the message out faster- and to more people. Why wait for a press release when you can see a Facebook post in 30 seconds?

  • Social media can be a highly effective tool for enhancing awareness. "Spread the word" about a company, product, services or WINE!

  • Boost the impact of direct marketing.

Okay, so I know you are wondering...where's the wine in this?

Once again, wine is an INDUSTRY and that means it wants to make money. Nothing in business is made for "fun", though we all have fun drinking it.

As wine lovers, we all love to talk about wine. Social media has given us an outlet to meet other wine aficionados, discuss our favorite wines, chat about wineries we have visited, and more. It's the perfect community as consumers and contributors of the wine industry.

More importantly, the wine industry should be paying close attention to what we say. By 'environmentally scanning' they can monitor the entire network of wine fans on facebook, twitter, and more.
Just by looking on social media, they can see that one person likes Cabernet Sauvignons from the Rutherford Hills California, while another person only drinks 'super' Tuscan reds from Italy. Oh but don't forget, they all want wine that is between $8 and $10 a bottle, with a nice label and a good name.
Corporate Eye says that social media is one giant 'always on' focus group, a perfect tool for qualitative research!

Want to join a focus group to aid in wine research? There is a facebook link for that.
Want to be interviewed by your local wine magazine to discuss the opening of your new winery? There is a facebook link for that.
Want to discuss only Merlot wines, with only Merlot drinkers? There is a site for that too.

Think I'm kidding? Check out some fun social media wine sites here:
-A site decided to unearthing great old red wines: DeadRed WineGroup
-Barefoot Wine & Bubbly has a fun facebook site!
-Jancis Robinson is a wine expert tweeter, and if you follow her then you'll be connected to a
network of 44,000 people. HELLO. wine industry...follow her!!

So go out there & tweet, with a glass of wine in your hand :)