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Posts Tagged ‘copain’

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…..it 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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Day 2 in Wine Country

August 14, 2009 1 comment

Just another fairly quick update before some more substancial notes over the weekend, but we spent yesterday in wine country with Copain in the morning and then after getting thoroughly lost…..Audelssa in the afternoon.

We started our day at Copain which is one of the most beautiful sites you’ll ever find. Their vistas are gorgeous and the people from Juliana their tasting room manager to Jennifer their sales director, to John the assistant winemaker were available and happy to answer questions and generally talk about the way they make wine and how they do business. We tasted perhaps ten different wines over about two and a half hours, all of which were excellent and in our opinion…..under priced. I’ll give more detailed reviews of the wines at a later date, but we’re very excited to continue working with Copain.

After leaving Copain we had thought that the easiest way to head to Sonoma for our afternoon meeting would be to take the 12 across. Of course we somehow missed the turn off for the 12 and ended up in Petaluma(about 20 miles too far south) before realizing what we’d done. On the way to the Audelssa tasting room we saw a sign for Glen Ellen(the small town where the tasting room is located) but our directions were for a turn off at Arnold Drive. Well after a couple of wrong turns and another 15 miles in the wrong direction we spoke to Mike who gave us a better idea where to turn. We eventually found our way to the Audelssa tasting room……about an hour late.

Audelssa is one of those wineries that when you look into the quality of wine they produce frankly you’re surprised that you’ve never heard of them….at least I was. They have multiple varietals rated 90+ points by Robert Parker and honestly I had never tried the wine before ending up in their tasting room. Neither Matt nor I were disappointed with the wine, far from it. In fact it was certainly competitive with everything else we tasted/ Audelssa has a great family story and great wine which I’m looking forward to explaining in more detail some time in the next week. We had an enjoyable conversation with Mike in their tasting room and really look forward to featuring their wines as part of our wine clubs and export services in the future.

We finished our day at the Girl in the Fig restaurant on the square in downtown Sonoma. Great meal at my sister in laws favorite restaurant.

Needless to say it’s been a very fun trip and also extremely productive as well for Uncorked Ventures. I honestly did not think that about 45 days into this new business venture that we’d be able to source this type of wine from 4 top notch wineries.

More to come, but this is an exciting time.

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.

Business Update + Napa Trip

August 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Before I get into the fun stuff, business is getting in the way. Had the best conversation to date with my business partner Matt this morning about our priorities moving forward. As I’ve said before we have different perspectives and frankly it makes for a lively discussion, but adding the two viewpoints together in a constructive way, which we’ve been able to do to this point, should give us the maximum chances for really growing this business into something we can be proud of.

Basically the decisions come down to how we should be structuring our time. Do we focus on efforts which will make the business grow best 1 month from now? Or do we focus efforts on what will make the business grow best 3-6 months from now?

Yes, we’ll be doing both without trying to overdo either side of the page. It is nice to have a firm to-do list though as we both have plenty on our individual to-do lists.

Not surprisingly, given I’ve been responsible for the website and most of the SEO, I’m more accustomed to looking farther out. My wife would agree that I’m not the best with smaller daily details(did I add milk to the grocery list after I drank the end of it?) but that is something that Matt is excellent at. Making a structured list of what needs to happen in order to get to the bottom line as well as setting up intermediate steps along the way.

It’s a good partnership on a number of levels.

In more fun news we are scheduling our meetings for our two day trip to wine country. We’re planning on visits to 2-3 wineries per day….hopefully with time for lunch.

We’ve scheduled both Copain and Cornerstone Cellars already and are waiting on confirmation from 2 other wineries we’ve already spoken with. We’ll be adding a 5th winery as well for a time slot on Wed Aug 13th. It’s bound to be an exciting trip filled with outstanding wine and people. I’m especially looking forward to visiting a nice range of well known wineries as well as up and coming wineries that haven’t been noticed for their great product as of yet. We’ll have a lot to discuss and relay once we arrive home as well.

Thank you for reading-if you’re in the Napa area on the night of Aug 12th and are interested in meeting my business partner and I for dinner…..let me know.