How To Market Wine To Millennials: The Millennial Wine Competition

How To Market Wine To Millennials: The Millennial Wine Competition

The Millennial Wine Competition

The new generation of wine consumers pay little attention to what a wine scores out of 100. While I understand the importance and tradition of submitting wines to be tasted and scored based on quality – I don’t believe that those ratings carry as much weight as they used to when it comes to young wine drinkers.

The Millennial Competition is changing the way wine, beer and spirits are scored and tasted. By focusing on the millennial generation (approx. 1981-1996 according to the Pew Research Center), this competition gives industry professionals, influencers and celebrities the opportunity to score wines. Wines are submitted by producers and put into blind tasting flights based on varietal. It’s giving wine an entirely new rating system focused on the sensory experience of judges that represent a wide variety of consumers.

By forcing the generation of label-lovers to blind taste and rate wines on a Bronze, Silver or Gold scale – the founders Olivera and Amanda are gathering the most important information of all. Do people enjoy your wine?

As explained in more detail in this Market Watch Mag article, E. & J. Gallo Winery has been investing in the research behind how to successfully market to millennials. According to the article, the generation must be broken down into subsets based on consumer behaviors and beliefs. An attempt to market to all millennials is like trying to market to all Americans. Your marketing will be too broad to truly find your niche.

What the Millennial Wine Competition has succeeded in doing is separating millennials into different consumer subsets, which may overlap for some people, but include wine, beer and spirits. Each alcoholic beverage competition includes judges from a range of backgrounds that may include Sommeliers, Wine Bloggers, Actors, Models or wine nerds with a degree in Viticulture & Enology (me). This business model reaches a range of audiences that may not be the target for wine marketing, but are influenced by the recommendations and scores from the judges. Oli and Amanda have revolutionized the wine rating system and expanded the audience of wine consumers. It’s genius and it was a blast. I had an incredible time trying red wines for my flight virtually with the other judges, as we tasted Cabernets and Syrah/Shiraz from around the world.

How it works

Producers submit their wines to the competition to be judged among blind tasting flights of similar varietals and will receive a score by the hand selected judges. More details on the process can be found on their website here.  The wines are scored on a Bronze, Silver and Gold scale individually by each judge and then all of the judges decide on a score that best reflects the group. The labels are hidden to prevent any bias based on if you like or dislike the branding.


Marketing to Millennials

The Wine Experience

Being a millennial, I have focused my career on developing strategic marketing and branding to target this new generation of wine consumers. This dynamic and curious group of wine drinkers wants to enjoy the wine experience. This is how wine bars have drawn in cult followings, because they developed a fine tuned brand and focused on a niche market (check out Melody, Los Angeles and Madalena’s, Perth).

For wine bars this translates into your wine list, the events you host, the producers you highlight on your social media and more. For wine brands and producers, this means communicating your story and what makes your wine special. Define what makes the experience so enjoyable when a consumer opens your bottle of wine. Chisel down your business and define your purpose. Then market the HELL out of it. 

How To: Successfully Market Your Wine Brand on Social Media

Defining your target audience is the first step, or else all other tactics will be overlooked. You want to find the audience that every time they come across your posts, they feel that it was created for them specifically. Thoughtful communication is the key to developing brand loyalty. 

Keep your branding consistent across all platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Website & of course your wine labels and tasting room marketing materials)

 

Focus on communicating the wine experience, how does opening your bottle of wine or sitting at your wine bar improve the drinking experience for the consumer?

 

Engage with your audience on all platforms, consistently

 

INVEST IN GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY! As a business, make it a top priority to put out high quality content and invest in a photographer if you need to. iPhone cameras are also pretty incredible nowadays 


Check out the winners (with prices!) of the 2020 Millennial Wine Competition here.

Of course these marketing tactics can work on all generations, but there is an appreciation for authentic and thoughtful branding among the younger wine consumers. That generation may not be the right target audience for your brand, but understanding what kind of consumer defines your audience and targeting them specifically will create more brand loyalty in the long run.

Happy sipping!

Australia’s Best Kept Secret: The Wine World of Perth

Australia’s Best Kept Secret: The Wine World of Perth

I have found the buried treasure!

It happens to be in Perth, Western Australia. Seemingly absent on many world traveller’s bucket lists. Given the slow but steady global recognition, Perth has remained a one-of-a-kind, beach focused, culinary treasure dazzling along the Swan River. It never feels too crowded or diluted. Easy to use, clean and organized train lines can take you from the outstanding Indian Ocean coastline to the lively and towering CBD. The city sits three short hours (by car) away from one of the world’s most incredible wine region. Margaret River is the wine paradise of the world, producing some of my favourite wines. Find out where to go wine tasting in Margaret River here.

The isolation that claims to make it unreachable, instead allows for only travellers who are truly interested in the beauty and complexity of the city to make the trek. The distance travelled is repaid in endless sunshine, melt in your mouth toasties and nightly sunsets that produce colours I have never seen before. Having been to most of the world’s famed metropolitan cities, there is something special about a major city without all the chaos and speed. A city where you can head to the Cottesloe beach in the morning and sit on a rooftop bar overlooking the Swan River for happy hour.

While living in Perth, I made it my personal goal to try all the great wine lists in the city. In Perth, wine lists are taken very seriously. Wine connoisseurs are hidden among the masses but they are making their mark. The wine industry is growing rapidly and palates are evolving. Starting with the wine region and seeping into the city, the wine industry is innovating constantly. Every restaurant and wine bar that I have been to has customized glasses with a subtle yet aesthetic logo. I applaud the attention to detail. Wine in Perth is appreciated and celebrated. Every wine list has a beating heart and is curated with creativity and pride. The wine industry in Western Australia feels different. It feels inclusive and understated. 

Perth is special, there’s an energy and sophistication that reaches to the edges of the city. It’s a hidden treasure.  Thinking about visiting Perth? Or moving? Do it. I did not have one moment of regret while living there and I miss it every single day. Australia’s best kept secret. Only tell the people who will appreciate it! Part one of my adventure to try all the best wine lists in the city, below are my favourites right now. Happy sipping!


Petition Wine Merchant

Perth CBD
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My favorite place in the Perth CBD? The State Buildings. Hands down. A historic landmark in the heart of Perth. The State Buildings collectively have 140 years of history. “Reimagined and revitalised,” the buildings were restored in 2015. Sitting on the throne of the buildings is the gorgeous COMO hotel. Within them resides some of the best restaurants and bars in Perth. Home of Petition, a group of individual venues that focus on producer relationships and unmatched quality.

There is nothing I love more than a wine bar with a wine shop. Not only do I love the simple elegance of wine covering the walls of the interior, but it’s a bookstore for wine lovers. At Petition Wine Bar & Merchant, you can look at all the labels and unique brands, figuring out their stories and flavor profiles. Explore wines you have every week and ones you’ve never heard of. Curated by Emma Farrelly, who is taking the wine world by storm and creating award wining wine lists and labels as she goes! Find a bottle that you can’t put down? Open it and enjoy it at one of their small tables in the bar. Small bites (& oysters!) available to have with the wine that you just selected from the shelves. It’s simple, but it is executed perfectly. Ambiance is difficult to find, but with Petition it feels so easy. Not in the mood for wine? Grab a beer or meal at the Petition Beer Corner or Petition Kitchen right down the hall!


Mayfair Lane

West Perth
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How much do you love London? Now close your eyes and imagine the feeling of being in London, but instead there is sunshine every day. You’re sitting on the patio at Mayfair Lane, a ten minute walk from the CBD. The sun is shining, the bar is packed and you are looking at a menu with bangers & mash AND Veuve Clicquot on it. One of my favourite spots in the Greater Perth area. Mayfair Lane is a “distinguished renegade built on the traditions of the Great British gastro pub & dining room.” Also translates to my heaven on earth.

The award winning wine list, curated by the one and only Foni Pollitt, features regions from all across the globe. A bible for wine lovers like me. Her personality and exquisite taste is found on every page. Foni is an internationally recognized wine expert with the spirit to keep the wine industry alive all by herself. She’s the best of the wine world and Mayfair Lane carries that recognition to the streets of Perth. Foni and her husband Chris Pollitt started Mayfair Lane in early 2016 and I am so thankful they did. Oh, and they have outstanding marketing. I couldn’t love this place more if I tried.


Lulu La Delizia

Subiaco
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Do you know the feeling when you’re falling in love? The feeling that makes you pause, breath in and forget about all of your troubles? That’s how you feel dining at Lulu La Delizia. Started by Chef Joel Valvasori-Pereza and nestled in the alleyways of Subiaco, you’ll find Lulu’s bustling from the early arvo to the late evening. You know you’ve found it when you spot black and white striped umbrellas in a welcoming courtyard that spills into the alley and an intimate dining room lined with delicate lace curtains. You’re under the impression that you’ve been invited to be a part of the family traditions of Joel Valvasori-Pereza and Luigia Valvasori, his Nonna, who the eatery and wine bar is named after. You’re transported into the heart of what makes Italian food and dining so incredible, with authentic yet simple dishes and incredible service. 

Lulu’s is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I wish I went more when I was living in Perth. The extremely well versed and passionate wine program led by Alex Rogers is out of this world. He gives you subtle excellence with eclectic taste that highlights some of the best wines from Italy and Australia, with a few notable labels from other regions to complement the cuisine. To this day, my favorite Italian wines were poured for me at Lulu’s. Paired to perfection with the Chef’s menu that pushes the limits of what you knew about flavor and creativity in the kitchen.

Go for dinner, go for lunch. Go every day if you must. You’ll thank me later. One of my favorite profiles on Lulu’s by Young Gun Of Wine can be found here.

Young Gun Of Wine is championing the future of wine by focusing on young winemakers, exciting wine labels and must visit wine venues. Follow them, subscribe and thank me later.


What is your favourite wine list in the world? Big ask, I know. But come on, there has got to be one that comes to mind. 

Happy Sipping! 

This is just SBS! The beauty of the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend

This is just SBS! The beauty of the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend

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It really is just complete BS that I have never heard or tried a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend before I moved to Perth. The wine world NEEDS more of this balanced and bright wine with a touch of oak (no not you Chardonnay). These varietals seem to compliment each other so well, I can’t drink them by themselves anymore!

So where do they come from? What’s the SECRET?

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: Old World

Do you ever go to research something and find exactly what you were looking for? For example a timeline covering the complete history of the SBS blend from Wine Australia? Never usually happens to me, either. But here we are.

To go back further, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends originate from France (of course). According to Wine Searcher, both white varietals are predominant in the Graves district within the Bordeaux region of France. Both Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon can also be used in dry and sweet wines. Usually involving botrytis, these varietals can be used to make Sauternes – also from Bordeaux. Sauternes are sweet dessert wines usually with strong honey notes and a gold colour.

The Bordeaux Region

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Source: Wikipedia

The Graves AOC is notable for red varietals and the blend of Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. The Bordeaux region has a temperate and Mediterranean climate, with maritime influence from it’s close proximity to the ocean. Sunlight during the day on the growing vines and cool nights to break up temperatures throughout the canopy make this region something very special.

The SBS blend is the modern twist on what used to be a classic white varietal blend from the region. Adapted to changes in the consumer palate and demand. White wine blends that are crisp, dry and fresh have become predominantly more popular among wine drinkers around the world.

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: New World

DO YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS THIS CLIMATE? The temperate and Mediterranean climate with ocean influence and ample sunshine? Margaret River, Western Australia. Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends have erupted throughout the New World, gaining traction with unparalleled quality and popularity in Wine Paradise. The Australian sunshine ripens the grapes, yet ocean breezes in the afternoon cool the canopies down throughout the evening leaving natural acidity and powerful flavour accumulation.

Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, separately, have been predominant white varietals in Australia throughout it’s winemaking history. According to Wine Australia, it was around 1831 that Semillon was introduced in the Hunter Valley and the early 1800s for Sauvignon Blanc. They also do not put the accent on Sémillon, which takes some getting used to. The Margaret River region was pioneered by Dr. Tom Cullity in 1967, after he studied the reports written from Harold Olmo, from the University of California Davis (!!!), describing the wine grape potential of the south-west region of Australia. Tom Cullity founded Vasse Felix (!!) and kickstarted the discovery of a region that has maintained a consistent climate year after year and is producing world renowned wines.

Described as “inherently complimentary” these two varieties can produce a blend of wine that takes the desirables from each varietal and creates the seamless fusion now nicknamed SBS (Wine Australia).

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: The Blend

Sauvignon Blanc is a white varietal with bright flavours, green grass and subtle tropical fruit notes. Semillon is also a white varietal with typically light/medium body, delicate honey notes and citrus. Together? Usually involves oak maturation, producing a medium bodied wine with the perfect array of tropical fruit, citrus and good acidity. The SBS blend is predominately Sauvignon Blanc whereas another popular interpretation is the SSB, predominantly Semillon.

It really is one of my favourite blends. As I have only ever had it from Margaret River, I would highly suggest any SBS from this Wine Paradise. All dynamically different but involve innovative and unique winemaking processes.

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What to try!

But I also have not had an SBS that I don’t like. Explore this incredible blend and support this special region, happy sipping!

 

 

 

Bali Part 2: Is there such a thing as too much Wanderlust?

Bali Part 2: Is there such a thing as too much Wanderlust?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

wanderlust

/ˈwɒndəlʌst/

noun

a strong desire to travel.

“a man consumed by wanderlust”

It’s an amazing feeling, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. A lot of the time, I even feel like I am incapable of living in the moment because I have this hardwired desire to go somewhere else. I don’t want to be ‘consumed’ by any emotion because it will ultimately never leave room for the others. For example, appreciation. Sometimes you are so ‘consumed’ by the feeling of being there that you forget to enjoy it at all.

As it’s been a month since Bali, I said that I would write something to sum up the experience and what I’ve learned from it. Read the first post about Bali here. Why was it so difficult? What I’ve seemingly discovered stems from 1. still journaling in my Bali notebook (using the same pen of course, I rue the day that it runs out of ink) and 2. taking a look inward. And what did I find? I found that I may claim to love to travel but I spend most of my time hyper focused on seeing as many places in the world as I can. It’s a race! Cue Mr Bean in Rat Race. The most important part of a race is when you get to the finish line, but what is the finish line when it comes to travel? You’ll never see it all, countries and cultures will never stop being beautiful and alluring, it never has a finish line. I’m racing against absolutely nothing. What a nightmare! I’m competing with myself with no idea how to even win. Having the strong desire to travel is a very important thing and I never want to lose that, but being able to put that emotion on pause is also equally as important. If I never stop and enjoy the moment I am living in, the moments run the risk of having no meaning. They become forgettable. I don’t want to dream of these trips for years, finally take them and then forget the moments that made them so special.

I think this is what happened in Bali. Not only the other emotional challenges, you can read about those here, but there was something deeper that made it so difficult to be in the moment. The feeling of ‘wanderlust’ can sometimes be so consuming and addicting that eventually you self implode. Especially when things are not working out the way you want them to. The pressure people (travellers) put on themselves to see the world is a powerful thing and should be celebrated but for me, it took away the most important aspects of seeing the world in the first place. The emotions and anxiety of the difficulties made the feeling of wanderlust too much to bear, leading to the ever-enjoyable break down you read about before. I was in my dream destination and I was struggling to be in the moment every day. I needed a constant reminder to enjoy where I was. The feeling of finally being there was everything I wanted, but I was too emotionally drained to be present.

I do believe that the feeling of ‘too much wanderlust’ starts at home. The physical unrest to constantly leave, move and start over. It builds and builds until you feel unable to even enjoy where you live. The feeling of constantly being unsatisfied with your surroundings, thinking that travel will be the only thing that will bring you joy. The issue with this mindset is that travel can’t fill the void you’ve built by avoiding living in the moment. If you are never living in the moment in your daily life, going on a trip won’t suddenly teach you how to do so. You have to practice how to be present, every day. Taking a trip can’t be the rebound relationship you use to feel happy with your life, it should be the reward. There is no finish line when it comes to travel, but there can be a way to make more of the trips that you have worked so hard to take.

This is entirely my own hot take on why I had such a difficult time in Bali, but I feel like realising this has slowly allowed me to discover what I need to change in my life (home & travel) to feel more complete and in the moment. I felt like my need for control imploded in Bali, but finding out why has ultimately led to me discovering that it’s been bound to happen for a long time. Being present and enjoying the moment is a challenge for me but it’s worth paying attention to.

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Happy Sipping!
A Solo Traveller’s Love Letter to Bali

A Solo Traveller’s Love Letter to Bali

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Traveler or traveller? It might just be me but the double L sounds much more sophisticated. As most British-English words do.

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One week in Bali, my first solo trip and my first Christmas spent away from my family and my hometown. Solo travel feels like a kaleidoscope. It takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from the second you buy the plane ticket to the moment you’re back in your apartment at home. To preface my experience in Bali, I will be publishing (holding myself accountable by putting it into writing) three posts on my trip. The first, which you are currently reading, will be the honest and heartfelt love letter to my trip. The next post will be a Bali Travel Guide and the final post will be a reflection in about a month on how my perspective has changed since being home.

I believe that everyone (women, especially) should take a solo trip. Whether it be a weekend away or across the globe. Not only do you feel like the strongest and most resilient version of yourself, but you also begin to see what truly makes you the happiest. It can be really hard! Or it can be a complete walk in the park. Or both.

Arriving in Bali was electric. From the second you get off the plane you are thrown into a world so full of energy that it blows you away, literally. The second I walked off the plane, crossing the threshold, my straw hat blew right off my head and went straight in the direction of the plane engine. My new hat, it was one of those hats that feels as if it was created just for your head. Measured and tailored specifically for that awkward shaped head of yours, that you’ll probably never find again. Well, that perfect hat was flying straight for the jaws of the plane engine. The hat survived and no plane engines were hurt in the writing of this post. But it was surely an entrance. Welcome to Bali!

The country itself is a dream. A spiritual haven full of beautiful food, people and history. The first half of my trip was everything I had wanted it to be, a gorgeous Airbnb, delicious food and spa appointments every day. Bali is very affordable, safe and relaxing, if you allow it to be. I was hyper aware and followed nearly every rule given to me about avoiding the treacherous bali belly, food poisoning, that was given this cheeky name since more than half of the tourists get it. It’s basically unavoidable so I knew it would happen at some point. Being sick in a foreign country was something I had not prepared for. Not because I was worried I would never get better or there were no hospitals, but because it really shakes you awake to the idea that you are so far out of your comfort zone and the sickness drains all the energy you have towards making sure it’s the trip of a lifetime. It was really hard and I felt really alone. Bali let me feel this way but the sun would rise every morning asking, very politely, if it could show me more of what the country had to offer. It didn’t swallow me whole, it silently waited for me every day to feel a little bit stronger and more comfortable with myself and welcomed me back to paradise. My first solo trip was much harder than I ever imagined, but I couldn’t think of a more incredible place to feel lonely.

Day 4. I bought a journal that was made of recycled paper with “Bali with Gratitude” on the cover. I bought the journal halfway through the trip because I figured if I was having all of these emotions I should try writing them down. I decided to give journaling a chance! I was feeling more healthy and I was finally in Ubud. Ubud was a spiritual oasis among the mountains and jungle. It was Christmas day when I bought the journal, I was aching to be home for the holidays with my family. But I had chosen to travel the world! I was lucky enough to do so, I had to enjoy it as much as possible. It could have been the pressure I was putting on myself to enjoy it that ultimately made it the most difficult. Ultimately, I was in Bali and I was full of gratitude to be there in the first place. That’s why I bought this journal specifically. I was feeling happier and excited that I got the chance to be revived emotionally in this beautiful part of the world. Ready to start my first journal! But I didn’t have a pen.

Two days later, still no pen. I was finally ready to open up to the beautiful pages of this book but didn’t have the tool to even put the words on the page! Nobody had an extra pen, not the Airbnb host, not the pharmacy, there was no stationary store to buy a pen. Where did the Balinese people go to buy their PENS!? Finally, when I was lured into the only French Bistro in Ubud, feeling back in my comfort zone amongst French jazz, walls lined with wine bottles and French Onion soup, they had an extra pen! YES! A good pen too. There was something grounding about being in my comfort zone again. Funny, that my comfort zone involves Côtes du Rhône red wine and a menu that includes Croque Madame.

So what did I write in my new journal that I had been waiting so anxiously to write in? I wrote an apology to Bali. I was apologizing for trying to take my first solo trip during the holidays, pushing my limits and emotional capacity. I was in my dream destination and I was sad, it felt so wrong! It wasn’t personal, it wasn’t Bali. Trying to force a solo trip during the time of year that you want to be surrounded by your loved ones was harder than I ever imagined. I realized that being home for these moments was priceless, it was worth more than your dream destination. I learned my lesson. But I was still sorry, sorry I had to realize these things on a trip I had been waiting for since I first watched Eat Pray Love. I had idolized Julia Roberts strength and resilience to be able to see the world solo. It’s also a film adaptation, it doesn’t show the moments of solo travel that are the hardest.

The most incredible part about solo travel is being able to feel sad and having the ability to pull yourself together, slap on sunscreen and your perfect sun hat and continue exploring. Anxiety and fears aside, you are alone for a week and you still get up every morning and enjoy the island crafted coffee, get on the scooter and tour the country that ends up being more beautiful than you every imagined. I asked Bali for forgiveness.

Dear Bali,

It isn’t personal. I’m just not the travel alone during the holidays and summer Christmas kind of girl. I think I need a solo trip during a time where I won’t feel so lost without my family and traditions. I don’t want to be the only person who says Merry Christmas. I want to wear a sweater and feel a wind chill when I walk outside finding warmth in a glass of red wine. Comfortable and accompanied by the people that I love the most. Please forgive me?

From Dria, with love. 

The day after I wrote this. I woke up to a morning that was singing with forgiveness. I asked and what I received was more than I ever imagined.  The island opened it’s heart to me. The ‘Island of the Gods’ knew exactly how to respond. The best was yet to come, the low points were about to feel like a distant history. My last day in Bali was a cultural tour, it was raining and the island came to life. It was a tropical storm of beauty. From temple to temple, I became more aware of how much life this island had to give. I was full of happiness to be able to not only witness the preservation of such beautiful history and culture, but to feel a part of the legacy and purity of the Balinese culture. I asked for forgiveness and I got a letter in return. A letter without words and with just a feeling of comfort and acceptance.

Instead of an apology, now I’m writing a love letter to Bali. Thank you for your beauty and forgiveness. I can’t wait to come back.

What’s your dream solo destination?

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Welcome to Wine Paradise: Cellar Door Guide to Margaret River

Welcome to Wine Paradise: Cellar Door Guide to Margaret River

My love letter to Margaret River. Not to be dramatic but I did move across the entire world because I fell in love with this region. Sometimes you see photos, read interviews and taste wines and you firmly believe that you belong in that place. That a region is so special that as a traveller and wine lover, if you don’t go, you’ll never reach your full potential. This was my obsession with Margs and can I just say, it was everything I wanted it to be. From the Boranup forest, with thousands of karri trees towering over you with elegance and poise or the most beautiful coastline in the world with pantone swatch blues that clash with the pure white sand beaches. The wine, the people and the best farm to table food (& SEAFOOD) I have ever had! The perfect destination to add to your bucket list. 

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This region is the Southwestern most point of the Australian continent. It’s a cape that on the Northern end meets the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean at the other end, providing drastically different climates and coastlines from North to South. Formed millions of years ago when India and Australia collided, the cape has ancient soils that provide a region with so much biodiversity and potential. Known as a biodiversity “hotspot,” aka a wonder of the world for people like me. If I were a grape, I’d grow here too!

Why ‘Wine Paradise’?

With some of the most pristine grape growing conditions, maritime climate and warm Australia sunshine, this region provides grapes with idyllic conditions to grow. The isolation of the region provides unique terroir that is only found in Margaret River. The wines are cool climate but ripen to perfection. The best grape varietals from the region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay. Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends.

Fun fact: This region has never had an outbreak of phylloxera

Here are my favorite cellar doors on the cape! Wake up in the morning, walk on the beach and be drinking a wild ferment Chardonnay by noon. Is this heaven?

 

Vasse Felix

Cowaramup, Margaret River

#1 in my heart and #1 on this list too, of course. The founding wine estate of Margaret River provides the ultimate wine experience in Cowaramup. The most beautiful cellar door that I’ve ever tasted in, with wines that keep up the elegance & style. A feast for any interior designer, this modern log cabin-esque cellar door feels like it belongs seamlessly among the grape vines and marri trees surrounding it. It quietly sits within landscape without interrupting the natural motion of the region. They are in the process of becoming Certified Organic, already implementing organic processes in the vineyard and winery. The wines are magnificent and give you a taste of the history of the region. It also just so happens that the best restaurant in the region is also here. The food is created and developed to complement the wines and not vice versa. The wines are what lead Head Chef Brendan Pratt to discover new locally sourced dishes. The best of the best and worth the entire 22 hour flight from the States.

Open daily, 10-5pm.

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Vasse Felix

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Vasse Felix Restaurant

If you want to know more about my journey moving to Western Australia to work for Vasse Felix, find out more here!

 

Stormflower

Wilyabrup, Margaret River

From the wines to the cellar door, Stormflower executes minimalist and sustainable practices flawlessly. The woodwork in the cellar door is from a marri tree that fell down years ago. It’s homey and absolutely lovely. The Stormflower labels also happen to be my favorite in the region. They remind me of a fairytale. It’s a welcoming environment and the perfect place for a picnic. Right off Caves Road is this gorgeous oasis with easy drinking and Certified Organic wines. A must see!

Open daily, 11-5pm.

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Source: Stormflower

Marq Wines

Yallingup, Western Australia

A 10 minute drive from my favorite beaches in the world. Located under the trees and among the vines, the Marq Wines cellar door is inviting and one of the best in the region to grab a book, order a cheese platter and enjoy the serenity. I first had the ‘Wild Ferment’ (a wine that is not inoculated with yeast and is instead allowed to ferment using the wild yeast found on the grapes/in the winery) Chardonnay in Perth. Loved it so much I needed to meet it’s maker. With the most creative and eclectic wine list I have ever seen, Mark was there himself to talk me through the gorgeous wines on the list. I tried every single one of the varietals that I had never heard of before.

Vermentino (Sparkling and Still) – Native of Sardinia White Varietal

Fiano – Native to Southern Italy

Petit Manseng – Native to the Juracon in France

Yes, I bought a bottle of the Fiano and I am drinking it as I write this. It’s beautiful. It takes to the cool climate with such poise. It’s delicately floral with savory notes and balanced acidity.

Open Friday-Sunday, 10-5pm.

A website content shoot for Marq Wines new cellar door.
Source: Your Margaret River Region

Domaine Naturaliste

Wilyabrup, Margaret River

Nestled among the gorgeous vines of Wilyabrup, Domaine Naturaliste carries the name of one of the ships used by the French when mapping out the cape, called the Naturaliste. With a beautiful philosophy to winemaking and a gorgeous cellar door, this is one of the greats of the region. Winemaker, Bruce Dukes, aims to “leave the land in better health for the next generation.” Also – again with the labels! Get charcuterie and explore the history and future of winemaking in Margaret River.

Open daily, 10-5pm.

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Source: Domaine Naturaliste

Blind Corner

Quindalup, Western Australia

Drive through the vines to find the most iconic sign in the Margaret River region, a skate ramp and the most lovely spot for a picnic in all of Western Oz! I first tasted the Blind Corner Sauvignon Blanc from Wise Child wine shop in Perth. Love the label and love the wine more! With a gorgeous array of wines that give you a sense of immense creativity and personality behind the wines. AND HELLO PET NAT!! I’ve missed you! This cellar door feels like Margaret River wrapped up like a present with a bow on top. It’s cozy. bright and the wines are worth staying awhile. I left with a bottle of the Orange *as in the colour* wine that is a white blend, fermented wild on the skins to get the color and tannins. Find yourself a skater boy and enjoy a chilled Beaujolais Nouveau, LOVE.

Open daily, 10-4pm.

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& many many many more! Happy sipping and enjoy Paradise!

Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

I must really be taking this whole “wander” for wine thing seriously. Yesterday I wandered (with a job & visa) to one of the furthest wine destinations from my home. Say hello to Perth’s newest expat!! Australia is not all shiraz and sunshine! Western Australia is the home of some of the most noteworthy and consistent maritime climates in the world for wine. Vineyards in Margaret River, about three hours south of Perth on the southwestern coast represent the largest winemaking region in WA. Producing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other classic Australian varietals.

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Source: The Western Australian

After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture & Enology, I had explored aspects of the wine industry that allowed me to chisel my own marble sculpture of a career that I ideally wanted. While loving the technical and hands on aspect of heading into the cellar, I found that my interests and passions in the industry were more focused on the marketing and business development side. If you can’t tell by now, I love wine. But what I love more is the experience that wine creates across generations and continents. It’s the universal language that can be easily understood and enjoyed without a translator. The experience that the wine industry provides for it’s consumers creates an achievable life of luxury with every bottle.

I started to explore jobs in California and New York within the business side of the industry. What I found was different strong holds in both regions.

New York: Small concentration of production, massive distribution and import job opportunities, many sales jobs in Manhattan.

Los Angeles: Large quantity of production jobs, sales jobs with large wine distributors and many wine service jobs.

I was applying and interviewing and found that I was turning down opportunities because they didn’t feel like the stepping stone I was looking for. So I looked further (apparently as far as possible).

I’ve been in LOVE with Vasse Felix in Margaret River ever since I started my education in wine. They embody traditional winemaking while targeting a global audience. With impeccable marketing strategy, a vineyard in one of the most beautiful places on earth and an international mindset, they have pioneered a small part of the world into the hearts and cellars of wine drinkers around the world. They are sharing wine paradise with the world, and I AM SOLD.

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Vasse Felix Estate. Source: Winedering

Starting November 1st (ha yes, the one tomorrow) I will be starting a six month internship in the Sales and Marketing department of Vasse Felix based in Perth, WA. It’s not common for companies in Australia to offer internships, but based on the visa options, it works out the best for this position. The work holiday visa only allows you to work for the same company for 6 months of the 12 month visa. Extending your visa includes farm work or company sponsorship.

Vasse Felix was not hiring or looking for a UCD grad living in Los Angeles, but I bought Linkedin premium and started reaching out to the company in February. I wasn’t (consciously) looking for a job, but I wanted to understand the company and get advice on how to navigate the business side of wine. It took about six months to finalize an offer and LOTS of follow up emails, but I knew from the first Skype call that I wanted Vasse Felix to be the Mr. Miagi of my Karate Kid career.

Lesson? Sometimes looking for a job is extremely daunting and seeing that you are 1 applicant among 49 on Linkedin doesn’t feel promising. How I’ve found the most important career stepping stones has actually been dissecting the process and finding the company first. Find a company that excites you and creates a brand/strategy that embodies the way you visualize success. The wine industry is different, I have found extremely helpful and kind people who want to give me advice and referrals. But I would never have bought my one way ticket to Perth if I hadn’t bought Linkedin Premium (since canceled because my god it’s expensive!!!) and decided to put myself out there. 

I’ve been drinking my fair share of California & Washington wines in order to get my fix before the move. No Trader Joe’s deals for six months, I’ll survive right?

After doing all of this research and the information I have learned through networking, working in the wine industry is a huge draw for US Citizens moving to Australia. If you are looking for a harvest or cellar job, I would recommend looking at these websites, Wine Jobs Australia, Wine Industry Jobs, Wine Jobs, and more!! But the best way to get connected is through the people who have already worked or done harvest there. The wine community in Australia is hired almost predominately through word of mouth or referrals. Keep your friends close and your harvest coworkers closer, because they may just know someone from Oz.

I’m absolutely terrified but there is nothing I wanted more than to work for this company and explore the world. Ask and you shall receive apparently. Stay tuned for my big move DOWN UNDER!!! Cue Men at Work.

Cheers and Happy Sipping!

For the love of food & wine!

For the love of food & wine!

Life may not be perfect, but your food and wine pairing CAN BE. There is this beautiful thing that happens when the wine you are drinking compliments your meal. There are the basic food pairings that are easy to navigate, but what about the more complex dishes? Here’s a list of some of my favorite unique food and wine pairings!

Indian Food

My favorite cuisine is Indian food, I love prawn Tikka Masala, Saag (or tofu!) Paneer and typically a coconut based chicken dish. I recently tried a green curry coconut chicken dish from an Agra Cafe Indian Cuisine in Los Feliz, California and it was spectacular. Pairing wine with Indian food is similar to other spice and herb based dishes so this pairing can be referenced for other dishes that ignite the senses in the same way.

Pairing:

White Wine

Joel Gott Pinot Gris

2017 Willamette Valley, Oregon

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Source: Total Wine

Where to buy:

Total Wine $12.99

Albertsons

Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Pinot Gris

2017 Willamette Valley, Oregon

Where to buy:

Trader Joe’s $6.99

Artichokes

I don’t know about you, but I could enjoy a full globe artichoke and a side of shrimp cocktail any day of the week, sans the shrimp if you desire. The warm artichoke dipped in butter (or lemon mayonnaise) cooked Julia Childs style in boiling water with vinegar & olive oil. Artichokes, when they are in season, are one of my favorite vegetables. Getting to the heart of a perfectly cooked artichoke may be one of my top 10 favorite dinner moments. Next time you make an artichoke, try pairing it with these wines and watch your palette come to life!

Pairing:

White Wine

Louis Jadot Chardonnay

2017 Bourgogne, France

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Source: Wine.com

Where to buy: 

Gelsons Supermarket*

*Some Gelsons now have a WINE BAR in the store. At select locations, shoppers can have a glass of wine and a Gelsons employee will complete your shopping for you following your grocery list while you enjoy a perfectly chilled glass of Burgundy Chardonnay. YES, you read that correctly.

Wine.com $16.99

Rosé Wine

Chateau Miraval Rosé

2017 Cotes de Provence, France

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Source: Total Wine

Where to buy:

Target $25.99

Total Wine $18.97

Ice Cream

More specifically, McConnell’s chocolate covered strawberries ice cream. TO DIE FOR. This food pairing can work for almost all ice cream choices, unless you get crazy, rainbow sherbet might be strange. BUT WHO KNOWS. This McConnell’s must-have can be found in their stand alone ice cream shops, local grocery stores (Gelsons is the only store I’ve looked in). But to paint the palette, try a chocolate or berry ice cream with this food pairing to have the perfect dessert.

“Trust me, you deserve the pint of ice cream” – Wine (and me)

Pairing:

Red Blend

Cooper and Thief Red Blend

California

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Source: Total Wine

*Aged three months in Bourbon Whiskey Barrels!

Where to buy:

Total Wine $24.99

Whole Foods

Pinot Noir

Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Noir

2016 Diamond Collection Monterey County, CA

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Source: Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Where to buy:

Delivery in Los Angeles via the Saucey App $25.99 ($10 off your first order and FREE DELIVERY!!!)

Francis Ford Coppola Winery $21.00


 

Food pairings can be so fun to explore, what are some of your favorite pairings? Happy sipping!

Beauty and the Bottle

Beauty and the Bottle

The beauty and the beast behind one of the most readily consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. A universal gift given to us by the earth that demands nothing of it’s consumer besides appreciation.

Why wine? What makes this timeless alcoholic drink so intriguing? Well, if you ask me, EVERYTHING about it makes it the most enthralling agricultural product that has ever been grown.

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The Past

According to National Geographic, the first known winery was found in an Armenian Cave near the village of Arnei dating back about 6,100 years. Providing the first “complete archaeological picture of wine production” taken by the researchers at UCLA in 2007. Evidence dating back 7,000 years that links wine chemicals and archaeological proof have been discovered but not a winemaking facility.

The discovery includes what appears to be a grape press and fermentation vessel. Researchers found that the grapes were pressed by foot and the grape juice following pressing was drained into the vessel to undergo fermentation. Traces of ancient grape vines, skins and seeds were also found in the cave.

After testing the clay vessels, they were radiocarbon dated back to 4100 BC. These tests were positive for Malvidin, an anthocyanin pigment that is found in red wine color. This anthocyanin is determinate of the intensity of the red pigment of red wine as well as the potential for oxidation (browning of wine).

Patrick E. McGovern, ancient wine expert and bimolecular archaeologist at the University of Philadelphia Museum and author of Uncorking The Past: The Quest For Beer, Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverages describes the discovery of wine in ancient Georgia being the birthplace of present day Pinot Noir.

Grapes were domesticated thousands of years ago and the early years of its production remains a question researchers are still actively looking to answer. While centuries of human evolution have taken place, grape vines have maintained a steady place in society. 

The Present

In an article written by The Week, analyzing data found by Impact Databank, the United States was the largest wine consuming nation in the year 2013. Wine has been continuously increasing in popularity and sales across the globe. But why?

The wine industry in the United States is changing and adapting to the new consumer. Natural wines, Pét Nat, Orange Wine, chilled Reds, etc. The exploration into the wine world is taking turns and igniting the long lost flame of many ancient winemaking practices to cater to the new wine drinker. Rare varietals are making waves across shelves and wine lists are becoming more creative. Tradition continues to be the infrastructure of the industry but new methods, organic and biodynamic practices and funky flavor profiles are sparking trends around the world.

In my OPINION, the most recent generation that has started working and earning money is becoming increasingly focused on the accessibility and affordability of “luxury goods.” There is a need for grandeur without the bank account to accompany it. Wine has and will continue growing in popularity because it has historically been exclusive to a certain demographic. But here comes an influx of producers, wine shops/bars and the ability to buy a fantastic bottle for cheap. The more diluted the industry, the more access there is for everyone to be welcome in it (producer and consumer side).

Don’t get me wrong. I think the desire for cheap wine is alive and thriving, but I think there will be a need to continue increasing the market share of ones wine knowledge, wine access and palette. There seems to be a patient manifestation within every wine drinker to expand their niche. The peaked interest will eventually send them into the world of fine wine. The industry has provided the affordable training wheels for a new consumer to be involved in the wine world and to continue exploring the industry as we know it now.

The Future

“Millennials are changing the wine industry” – Business Insider

While I may not know what the future holds, no crystal ball yet, I do think that the current generation will continue being the fuel for the fire. The industry needed a fresh perspective to show how strongly it could root into society.

According to Business Insider, Millennials consumed 42% of the wine consumed in the United States in 2015. 42%. 

The future is looking bright for the wine industry and I am here for it. Wine has withstood time beyond the ages of any wine drinker in the market today, it was consumed throughout the timeline of human history. It knows the tales of development and speaks the ageless language of mother nature.

The experience of drinking wine has changed. Consumers are still buying the wine with the best label, but they are also drinking with more purpose. They are analyzing their likes and dislikes while slowly but surely developing a preference for the wine they consume.

Cheap wine, expensive wine, at a restaurant, on your couch, you are drinking history.

Happy sipping and I can’t wait to see where the industry takes us.

 

 

The Happiest Hour

The Happiest Hour

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy drinks at Happy Hour. We all want to be happy and we all want drink discounts, right? That’s where we get the beautiful creation of happy hour. I’ve drank at my fair share of happy hour’s across the West Coast and it’s about time I created a Master List of my favorite HH in Seattle (more locations to come!!)  While this is specific to a killer wine list on the happy hour menu, these places usually have great cocktails and appetizers no matter what your drink of choice is.

Seattle, Washington

Barolo Ristorante

Downtown Seattle

This chic and tastefully elegant Italian restaurant is one of the Seattle greats. With glistening chandeliers, an outstanding wine list and out of this world pasta and meat dishes. Make a reservation for dinner and enjoy an incredible meal from start to finish. But what is even better is their Happy Hour. My favorite dishes on the bar menu include and ARE NOT limited to: Grilled pacific calamari, Rigatoni pasta with beef and veal ragú and the baked escargot (TO DIE FOR).

HH

Monday-Saturday: 3:00-6:30pm and 10pm-midnight

Sunday: All day starting at 3pm

50% off the bar menu
$5.75 glass select white, red, and rose’
$20 bottle of white, red, and rose’
$5.00 draft beer

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Source: Barolo

Purple Café & Wine Bar 

Downtown Seattle, Bellevue or Woodinville

“Where a global wine list meets seasonal Northwest ingredients” WOW. Talk about my kind of place. Purple is a industrial dream, with impressive metal work in all locations highlighting the dark and mysterious ambiance. With a never ending hand selected wine list that feels like a well written novel paired with exquisite and perfectly prepared dishes. Don’t you dare leave without trying the sea salt caramels. They taste like true love. What else to try: Warm baked brie, Crispy lemon-chile calamari and I usually always try the Washington wine featured on the menu. Currently: Lu & Oly Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA.

HH

Daily 2-5pm

Happy Hour menu includes $7.50 glass of featured wine or 40% off listed price of the featured wines by the bottle

Cocktails, Beer & Snacks also listed on HH menu

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Source: OpenTable

Stoneburner

Ballard

Located within Hotel Ballard, Stoneburner has an everlasting sophistication that feels like you landed in the perfect era during a trip through time. With a corner of the restaurant showcasing walls of the incredible wine collection opposite the art deco and classic full service bar. It’s a gem within the urban and artsy streets of Ballard. With a stone hearth focused kitchen, the small plates are served family style for the table. This would be a place to start with wine and finish the night with a masterpiece cocktail. Must try: CRISPY CASTELVETRANO OLIVES stuffed with mozzarella (not on HH menu but WORTH IT), classic pepperoni pizza and the Asti Fizz.

HH

Daily from 3-5pm

Happy hour menu includes salads, pizza, cocktails and WINE FLASKS 500ml flask of white/red/rosé for $10.

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Source: Stoneburner

The Walrus & The Carpenter

Ballard

One of my favorites. My heart feels so full with the incredible memories I have from this place. They are known for their oysters (YUM) and seafood. They are an enchanting and eclectic spot in Ballard that provides an oasis in the city for sea lovers and wine lovers alike! The interior design is warm and incredibly darling. As Total Happy Hour describes, “The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the elegance of France with the casual comfort of a local fishing pub.” With a hand selected and unique wine list that pairs perfectly with the sea fare, this is the perfect place to spend your evening.

HH

Oyster Happy Hour Monday-Thursday 4-6pm

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Source: The Walrus and The Carpenter

Of course, there are many more incredible places for HH in Seattle, but these places have my heart and will forever be in my brain bank of some of my favorite places in my hometown. What is your favorite place for HH in Seattle?

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy drinks at Happy Hour (1)

Happy sipping!