Posts Tagged ‘Alpha Omega’

Final Napa/Sonoma wrap up

August 21, 2009 Leave a comment

So I’ve been asked to give a quick wrap up of our trip by a couple of friends and since both Matt and I have been straight forward about what wineries we were visiting…..I’ll be much more honest then I probably should be politically speaking.

We’re excited to partner with(yes in alphabetical order): Alpha Omega, Audelssa, Copain and K Vitners(from Washington state). We also have a couple of wineries from the Central Coast that we like and should work with as well. To be honest, from a wine sourcing standpoint we’re in excellent shape, at least for our September and October shipments.

After meeting with Cornerstone Cellars as well as Elizabeth Spencer I don’t anticipate moving forward at this time with either of them.

So what’s next on the Uncorked Ventures agenda? We’re constantly working on SEO stuff because we do believe that long term that is going to be a key to our business. Matt and I are also more activly engaging our personal networks to see what they’d like to see from our wine clubs. One thing that has come up repeatedly is a corporate gift either on an ongoing monthly basis or a one time gift for either a birthday or holiday.

Those conversations will lead to another section of our website(Gifts) which we plan to have completed by Tuesday of next week. You’ll also see some changes in format to the About Us page, the Other Media page as well as at least 3 new articles added to the Education section around that same time period.

Lastly we’re continuing to work toward sourcing new and exciting wineries. We have a few that we’re looking forward to speaking to on our next visit to Napa and Sonoma.

Specifically I think we may be a little Cabernet Sauvignon heavy right now, so a great Zinfandel producer would be nice…..of course I also love more Pinot Noir.


You Cannot Always Drink Wine

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

I haven’t had a chance to go into more detail about the wineries we visited on our Napa trip, I’m certainly excited to move forward with great names like Alpha Omega, Audelssa and Copain but I do find sometimes that it helps me get some clarity about a business trip if I sleep on it for a couple of days.

With that in mind I spent last night at my wife and I’d favorite Mexican restaurant, Miguel’s which has two locations in the San Diego area: Point Loma and Coronado.

We chose Coronado-the Crown City. A couple of reasons for going there even though it’s about a 45 minute drive for us now; To start we lived there for about a year before a job change necessitated a move and secondly it is one of the most beautiful areas in southern California. Coronado is an “island” (actually it does connect to Imperial Beach by the Silver Strand which is a very thin strip of land, made somewhat famous by it being the home of Navy Seal training) with about 20,000 residents just about a mile off downtown San Diego. It’s basically split into two parts, one part residential with a great main street style set up and the other North Island-a large Navy base where two carriers and about 20k seamen are based at any one time. Coronado’s best known feature is the Hotel Del Coronado, but my wife and I love spending time out there because it gives a truly small town feel which is getting extremely hard to find in and around San Diego. It also is one of the places where the local community and military really do live hand in hand which is always great to see, especially with so many service men spending so much time away from their families.

Ok so what is Miguel’s? It started in the early 80’s from a pretty famous restaurateur family in San Diego, but last night was kind of nice in that my wife, my mother in law and myself were seated back in a new addition to the Coronado location which has for sale artwork and is a sort of boutique store in and around the tables which makes for a pleasing visual experience.

The Somewhat hidden entrance

So generally speaking the food is excellent, I can definitely suggest the carne asada plate which is more of a traditional marinated steak then some of you may be used to. How often do you order something at a Mexican restaurant to be asked how you want it cooked?

Carne Asada Plate with rice, beans and guacamole

Overall we had a great time, one small snafu on the drink front was that the bartender was new and did not know how to make my wife’s margarita which was a combo of pineapple juice and cranberry(I believe) anyway after waiting for it for a while….well it actually came after the food… sort of resembled jungle juice that a lot of us used to make in college. On the good side, they removed it from the bill and the other two margaritas were both quite good.

Strawberry margarita flanked by salsa and spicy carrots

Margarita served in shaker

Again, you can’t drink wine all the time and we had a nice evening out in a beautiful area. I’ll be going into some more wine depth over the next couple of days but Matt and I have been invited to work a day of harvest which we are both very much looking forward to, it should be quite the experience!

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A great day in Napa

August 13, 2009 Leave a comment

So a quick synopsis of our day today in Napa. Matt(my business partner) and I have had a great trip thus far despite at least 1 small hiccup.

We started our day without much trouble in the way of traffic, we had some extra time and stopped in at Bouchon bakery. I had an almond-strawberry scone and a cup of coffee, the scone was a rare treat having a nut related item….my wife is allergic so I typically obstain from eating nuts products that I’m not familar with.

We then headed over to our tasting at Alpha Omega. We had a great time visiting with Jean who as I’ve mentioned before is both the GM and winemaker. Both Matt and I were impressed by the full selection of wines as well as Jean’s passion for his type of winemaking and the type of support he has at AO to make truly top shelf wines. I plan on giving a more detailed review of both the winery itself and some of the conversation when I have some extra time over the weekend. Bottom line we enjoyed the wine and believe it represents a unique style that will be enjoyed by our wine club customers.

After spending about 90 minutes with Jean we headed over to lunch in St. Helena. We had a nice meal at Cindy’s, one of the best burgers I’ve had.

After lunch we headed over to Cornerstone Cellars tasting room, which incidently is now off premisis of their winery and right across the street from Bouchon. We weren’t able to taste as scheduled with Craig who is their general manager because of a scheduling problem. I’ll go into some more detail later, but with a lot of the wine we’re thinking of including in the club we’re not sure Cornerstone is going to offer the right compliment to some other producers we’re positive we want to work with.

After Cornerstone we stopped by and spent some time with Skip Karabian who is the director of sales and marketing for Elizabeth Spencer. We did like the wine and would be interested in having more substancial discussions with Elizabeth Spencer in the future, although to be perfectly honest we might not be a perfect match to move forward together.

Lastly we had a quick bit to eat at the Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg. Good meal and a beautiful area to spend some time in. We also stopped in to Golden Spoon for a yogurt before spending some time driving around to take a few quick photos.

Tomorrow brings meetings with Copain and Audulssa.

Very much looking forward to both and please come back the next few days for more substancial updates on each of our meetings.

Tasting Trip

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Just a quick couple notes before I head off for a tasting and Lake Elsinore Storm minor league baseball game….yes happy birthday to me.

At Uncorked Ventures our trip to Napa next week is really coming together, we’re very much looking forward to tasting and speaking with Alpha Omega, Cornerstone, Copain and Audelssa, all of which have been confirmed.

I’m very happy that we’re going to be able to source the type of high quality wine that our customers will demand for our different wine of the month club options. As always the winemakers and everyone involved in the business has been a joy to work with and I’m very much looking forward to the trip and meeting everyone in person.

I hope everyone is able to have a good glass later tonight and that the weekend gets off to a great start!

Tomorrow will bring a rather lengthy blog about our tasting as well as anything else we try along the way.

Wine Club Decisions + A Couple of Thank You Notes

Hope this blog finds you all doing well this morning.

As my business partner Matt pointed out in his blog last night we are on the verge of a significant announcement regarding our first winery partner. Needless to say we’re very excited about the opportunity to work with this peculiar winery because of the wine, the people and the way they’ve dealt with us from the very beginning.

In other news we’ve formed some more firm conclusions on the types of wine clubs that we’re planning on offering:

-One will be a truly high end quarterly mailing club which is going to average approximately $300 per shipment. This will be a limited enrollment wine club and we expect it will sell out fairly quickly and have a waiting list.

-The other will be a monthly mailing that average approximately $100 per shipment.

We’re very excited about coming to these conclusions and truly being on target for a September release date.

Lastly I’d like to thank Jean Hoefliger for stopping by the blog. We’ll certainly be taking you up on your offer to come and taste at Alpha Omega in the very near future. I did mean everything I said in that post I look forward to meeting you in person.

That’s all for now-please leave a comment or join us on Twitter.

Negotiation, Growth, Dream Wineries

July 18, 2009 1 comment

So when I first started looking into this wine venture I was given a book by my father in law(who although very supportive, needless to say doesn’t want to see 2 of his son in laws ready to kill each other if the business goes bad) called “You Need To Be A Little Crazy” The truth about starting and growing your business by Barry J Moltz.

At one point in the book (page45 actually) Moltz says the following:

“Three years later, we were bidding for a customer project that would add 20 percent to our revenue growth. They wanted to come visit our warehouse to see if we were large and efficient enough to handle thier capacity. I remember that I instructed our warehouse staff to assemble empty boxes and label them as product and put them on our bare shelves. This was to make it seem like we had more product in our warehouse then we actually had. They were impressed and we got the business!”

Although I’m not necessarily opposed to making our wine club seem larger then it actually is at some point, at this point in time with the internet and the amount of public information available I can’t imagine a stunt like this working in the wine business.

By writing this blog(combined with my business partner Matt’s blog) I’m giving everyone a realistic look inside our start up.

Yes, we’re asking customers and wineries to take a small leap of faith with us at the beginning. We do hope that this blog and our other interaction features lets companies, their decision makers and also customers get to know us a little bit. Hopefully after reading about us both groups of people are willing to take a meeting with us, make us an offer or start doing business.

All of this comes to mind because we’re moving forward with everything in regards to the business. Our website should be up at the beginning of next week, we had a couple views of our Facebook profile(even though it isn’t nearly complete) and we’re starting to speak with wineries about potential partnerships.

As always with negotiations it’s an interesting process. Wineries know generally what we’re looking for: wines at some sort of a discount, or at least the availability of otherwise unavailable wine. If we’re all going to be honest about it we realize that a winery making 200 cases isn’t going to be giving us many cases, let alone a significant discount. However a winery that is making 50,000 cases or more and doesn’t sell them all, should be more willing to at least discuss a lower price point.

So who are we anxious to work with?

At the beginning we felt that utilizing our connections in Central and South America to export wine would allow us entry to some of the true high end wine available in California. These wineries would form the basis for our premium wine club as well as an outstanding group to choose from when exporting to restaurants and other distributors south of the border.

I haven’t yet spent a lot of time here discussing some of the wineries that I’d love to have available for our premium wine club as well as well as our first export shipments: A very short list of which I’ll spend some time on each winery later on would have to include: Dumol, Alpha Omega, O’Shaghnessy, Turley, Ridge, Saxum and K Vintners.