The spirits industry has certainly put extensive effort into branding and overall image in recent years. It was not too long ago that spirits commercials were nowhere to be seen on major television networks. One of the first companies to secure a deal with a major network was, of course, Diageo. The news was announced in January 2002 that Guinness UDV, a division of Diageo, had contracted with NBC, to air national TV commercials for its distilled spirits business, the first such ads ever to be run on national television. Local cable networks, local TV stations, radio stations and print media had allotted space for spirits advertising since 1996. So what took the networks so long?
Back in the 1930's, The Code of Good Practice was created voluntarily by distillers throughout the nation. The basis of the code was that distillers promised to engage in responsible advertising, geared only toward the intended adult population. The current standard is that alcohol advertisements can only be placed in media where 70% of the audience is over the legal drinking age.
This code has 39 provisions that still exist today. The spirits industry even funded the development of the breathalyzer in the 1940's. DISCUS has a page dedicated to the History of Social Responsibility on their website. It's an impressive list of the various campaigns they have undertaken to encourage responsible drinking for the last 80 years.
However, those campaigns do little to get inside the head of someone on their fourth or fifth cocktail. The idea of responsible drinking becomes but a distant memory once a certain point is reached and that point varies slightly for everyone. Try getting someone that has reached their "tipping point" to even pronounce "responsible drinking". A more effective campaign might be to have warnings printed on the actual glass that someone is drinking from - in the same way that cigarette packs in Europe have dire and deadly warnings in bold all over them.
And then you have campaigns like the one for the hip Dutch Vodka, EFFEN. The website provides music tracks that would certainly prove an ideal groove for your next cocktail party at home. I must confess I was excited when I read about it's launch. Not however to try the "liquid luxury" - just to order one. "Yes please, I'd like an EFFEN Vodka".. I think the marketing person behind this is not only genius but someone I'd like to have an effen vodka with one of these days. Maybe if the company is good, even follow it up with an effen Kobe burger. mmm, mmm.. Ok sure - they say the name means "smooth, even and/or balanced" in Dutch but I don't buy it. They knew what they were doing when they gave EFFEN it's name.
On the website, they ask that you enter your age before entering. What purpose this serves is beyond me. Anyone that can do basic mathematics can enter an "access code" regardless of their age. A significant number of wineries do this also on their websites. Does anyone know why? How can this possibly prove to be effective and promote responsible drinking?
Surely the bartenders of the world are the ones that deserve a huge credit for their role in ensuring our social responsibility when drinking in their establishments? Granted, they are also ensuring that they don't go down with us when we, um, fall. But I have seen some very skilled bartenders handle some rather sensitive situations over the years with professionalism, respect and in some instances, even kindness. I think they deserve a mention for their dedication to the cause.
I also have a lesser known code to share. Each year, we make wine from my family's grapes. We'll do various blends from the Cabernet, Zinfandel and Sangiovese vineyards and each year we get a little bolder. We didn't have to worry about responsible drinking back when we started 8 years ago as most of what we produced in the beginning wasn't exactly palatable. Successive years have proven that practice makes better - so much so that we designed a label this year. Our code is simple and printed clearly on the back label. I think we can all testify to it's validity.
1) May cause unwanted children
2) May cause bad dancing
3) May cause ugly faces to appear attractive
4) Consumption in excess will undoubtedly cause a hangover
Well our inaugural event was a huge success and we had so much fun! Marilyn Chapman of Delectables Fine Catering, and her husband, Kenneth Chapman win our "distance award" - they came all the way from Florida to attend!
Thanks also to Heather & Ted Van Doorn from the Starlight Wine Bar & Restaurant in Sebastopol for bringing a huge chaffing dish of their fabulous gumbo - they win our "best cuisine" award!
Thank you to the following for donating to the raffle:
* Gustavo Trace Winery / Gustavo Brambila
Gustavo is a major character and is played by Freddie Rodriguez in the movie!
* Larkmead Winery / Daniel Petroski
* Laird Winery / Wendy Fantozzi
* Ron Lykins Photography
* Azur Wines / Julien Fayard
* Ferrari-Carano / Cheryl McMillan
* West Coast Wines
* Wildside Cellars / Peter Fitzharris
* Brenda Lhormer / Bottle Shock
* Domaine Chandon / Juli Barron
* Wilson Winery / Dawn Dolan
Check out the photos on Ron's page on the network!
It was fantastic to see all that turned out last Thursday night for the potluck & movie premier. We had a good idea of how many people to expect but to actually see everyone there in force was amazing! My only regret is that I did not have time to hang out, mingle & taste but there were so many people to check-in that I couldn't break away for more than about 5 minutes! Next event I'll ensure that I have more time to meet you all properly.
Thank you to those that took time out to drop by the check-in table with wines for me to try.. namely Julien Fayard (winemaker), who brought along a taste of his Azur Wines Rosé and Michael Mercer of Tonnellerie Leroi, who introduced me to the '05 Pinot Noir made by the daughter of William Selyem.. I can't recall the name.. help me out Michael! (I want more.) There were two bottles donated that never made it to the draw. They were confused for wines meant for the tasting table but the good news is that they got to be enjoyed by all and not just one lucky raffle ticket holder. Thanks to Juli Barron from Domaine Chandon for the bottle of delicious bubbly & to Dawn Dolan from Wilson Winery for their gift of a bottle of their '05 reserve Zinfandel.
The wine tasting table contained more industry insider secrets than Wall Street! Many attendees brought limited releases, private selections as well as personal favorites to share and I am here to tell you that there were 3 (yes, only 3) bottles left on the tasting table (with no more than a 4 ounce pour in each) by the time everyone migrated across the street to the Theatre. Hard to believe but true. I'm sure the libations made the movie even more enjoyable and hopefully not too many bathrooms breaks were necessary.
Many of you received notice of the event either via this ezine or via a friend in the network. We hope that you enjoyed the evening as much as we did and that (if you have not already) you will join us here on our online community soon so that we can continue to network together.
Future events will be open to network members ONLY so if you want to do this again (and it sounds like you do based on the feedback) you need to be a member to receive an invite!
Thank you all for coming out to meet us and for making our first event in the history of the network, in my opinion, a roaring success!
The subject of last week’s newsletter was “Cooking Reality Shows” and also included a survey on what you, our readers, think about the whole subject. Well, the results are in; and as usual they have a pretty wide range, however, there is some consensus on what shows are best. Keep reading and we’ll tell you about the next show that will be casting soon.
First, let’s talk about popularity. It appears that most of you watch at least one of these shows, even if only occasionally. How much you watch and what you feel about each show is completely consistent. The inconsistency comes in when you were asked if you would want to be one of the shows – I think the financial motivation weighed in here (or do you just want to claim your 15 minutes of fame?)
The shows, in order of popularity are:
1. Iron Chef
2. Top Chef
3. The Next Food Network Star
4. Throwdown with Bobby Flay
5. Hell’s Kitchen
Now, let watch the order change when asked if you would want to be on one of the shows – here they are in order of desire:
1. Hell’s Kitchen
2. Throwdown with Bobby Flay
3. Top Chef
4. The Next Food Network Star
5. Iron Chef
I am glad we started the discussion, and I thank you for participating. I think it is a more important subject than it appears on the surface. Let’s keep the dialogue up! To view others opinions & comments on the subject, take our survey..
The Wine Makers - Wine Making Reality Show :: Casting Begins In October
I recently heard of the Winemaker reality show. The casting for Season 2 is beginning in October of this year, so for all you budding winemakers, maybe this is your chance.
The first season has already been shot and will air in early 2009. The show THE WINE MAKERS joins twelve men and women from all walks of life, as they compete for a chance to create and launch their very own wine label. Set in California, the six-part series takes viewers inside the wine industry. The cast will experience every aspect of wine making from viticulture and oenology to sales and marketing, but only one will win the opportunity launch their own wine label nationwide.
Shooting for the first season of THE WINE MAKERS series took place in Paso Robles along California's central coast. Season one of THE WINE MAKERS was slated to begin airing on PBS stations nationwide in October 2008 but to avoid competing with election coverage it has been rescheduled for first quarter 2009. Season II of THE WINE MAKERS will begin principal shooting in Napa and Sonoma in October 2008 and is slated to air on PBS stations nationwide in the fourth quarter 2009. Casting calls for season II will take place throughout the United States. For more information about how to audition for season II, click here.
Comments on this article? Have an idea for another opinion survey? Email me!
Last Wednesday night I watched “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” – the reality show where Chef Bobby Flay surprises a chef and challenges them to an impromptu cook-off. Gerard Nebesky, known in Northern California as “The Paella Guy” was the unsuspecting victim in last Wednesday’s Throwdown episode. Gerard was in San Francisco teaching what he thought would be an uneventful class in making Paella, when he was surprised by Flay and his team of chefs. Maybe I’m not tough enough, or I just want everyone to get along, but watching Bobby Flay stride into the class, and seeing Gerard’s obvious surprise and discomfort made me think that this reality show is just another example of how our culture seems to embrace using other people’s discomfort for our own entertainment. Is this just me? And how about the tantrums and screaming fits thrown by Gordon Ramsay on Hell’s Kitchen?
Although I have seen the odd episode or two of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" before, I do not watch regularly. I find that it makes me squirm a bit to see these people put on the spot, with no real way to say no to the challenge. I admit that I have sympathized with the “victims” and have rooted for them to win each time. In this case, I got my wish; the two judges, including Spanish chef Daniel Oliveira of B-44 in San Francisco, voted Gerard the winner. His look of relief was obvious.
The timing of this show was especially interesting, as just a couple days later I was lucky enough to be invited to a private party in Sonoma Valley where Gerard was going to be cooking his famous Paella.
As we arrive, it’s easy to spot Gerard; he’s the wild haired guy behind the biggest Paella pan I have even seen, and is dressed - along with his team - in their signature pumpkin colored chef coats. It’s the kind of scene that makes visitors want to go home, pack and move to the wine country – gorgeous weather, and a setting right out a photo shoot: a beautiful table that seems to stretch forever, the most beautiful farmhouse you’ve ever seen, horses grazing in the next pasture.
Gerard was putting out a huge Paella pan of large prawns, with the head and shell still on. He instructed the guests how to pinch the head and suck the juices out. They were delicious; sweet and succulent. Next was a huge platter of Manchego with Quince Paste, followed by the chicken and sausage Paella. The presentation is impressive, to quote Gerard’s own website, “Vibrant, exciting flavors on the palette and extraordinary visual drama on the plate.”
The wine was flowing as well – each guest had brought a bottle or 4 of something to share – and this being Sonoma, of course many of the guests were in the wine industry – including Chris Loxton from Loxton Cellars, Brian Kvamme of Martinelli Winery, Ross Battersby from Limerick Lane and Gloria & Dan Schaefer from Audelssa.
It was a wonderful and delightful evening, it reminded me once again how lucky I am to be in this amazing little piece of heaven called Sonoma Valley. I was thrilled to be able to meet Gerard and see him enjoying what he does best, without the TV cameras rolling, without a “Throwdown” or any other challenges leaping out to meet him. I decided that as for me, I guess I prefer my entertainment not to come at the cost of someone else’s feelings.
What is your opinion about the cooking “reality” shows? Mean spirited or all just in good fun? Worth it if you get free publicity? What would you think if you were caught off guard and challenged to a throwdown? And how would your feelings change if you lost? What about a sudden “on the spot” (and on camera!) challenge to your wines? Take our survey and let us know!
* This week's survey along with others currently running are posted on the WineAndHospitalityNetwork.com homepage.
Read the Press Democrat article regarding the throwdown here:
Want to cook it yourself? Check out Gerard’s Paella recipe here:
Photos courtesy of Paula Minnis, Loxton Cellars
Well we certainly had a huge response to the contest for tickets to the Bottle Shock premier in Napa. Entrants came flooding in within minutes of the announcement and continued to pour in (pun intended) for days afterward. It was really fun reading all the reasons why people said they should win!
So what are you doing to engage your guests and customers? Obviously they do business with you because they like your product or service. But let's face it.. there are a slew of competitors out there that have a similar product or service and are doing as much, if not more, to promote their business/product. How confident are you that the loyalty you currently enjoy will sustain?
If there was any doubt as to the power of a freebie, little remains in my mind. I'm not suggesting that you constantly need to be giving away the store, but every now and again, a "thank you" or give back program can go a long way toward strengthening the bond that exists between you & your customers. They are your bread & butter after all and the fact that they exist keeps you in business.
Giving back can be as simple as a complimentary wine tasting or glass of sparkling on their next visit.. something that let's the customer know that you appreciate them. You can certainly get more creative if you are so inclined. (Thanks to the producers of Bottle Shock, we were able to get creative & had fun in the process.)
Whether you choose to go the traditional or creative route, this concept of giving back should be an important element in your CRM program. All too often we concentrate on getting new customers. Attracting customers can be 10 times more costly than retaining your existing clients. So think about what you can do to give back on occasion and let your customers know that you think they're the best!
In terms of customer relationship management, we highly endorse the integration of guest satisfaction surveys to new or existing programs. We have survey solutions priced with the industry in mind and consult with you on every step, from design through to deployment. Call 707.933.0687 or email us for a free 15 minute consultation.
If you're doing something that's really working, you can share with us by posting a comment.. just click on the "send feedback" link below..