The Wine Wench Does Family Winemakers of California
People often get a mournful, longing look when I talk about my jobs (day job as Sales & Marketing Director, then the rest of my professional work as Freelance Writer, Wine Judge and Musician). It ain’t as glamorous as it may seem, folks. I work really hard, most of the time without any days off. This takes a lot of energy – it’s always show time on Planet Wine Wench. I’m constantly selling wine, entertaining and schmoozing. That’s after I get up at oh-dark-thirty to write. If I do get a day or two off, I’m writing. I’m not complaining – I feel really fortunate to do what I do. Sometimes, I do get pretty tired, though. I recharge with my husband and our dogs and cats at home in the woods of western Sonoma County.
I do get to play hard, too. I get to drink lots of great wines, eat rainbows of gourmet foods, explore new places, meet new friends and stay in nice hotels. That doesn’t suck.
I just returned from a trip down to Southern California to work at the Family Winemakers events in San Diego and Pasadena. I also worked with my brokers in the central coast region. Here’s a week in the life…
On Saturday, March 10th, I flew down from San Francisco to San Diego on Virgin America. That is my chosen airline from now on – from the moment I entered their terminal, I felt like a VIW (Very Important Wench). Virgin America has it down – soft lighting, tasteful shops and restaurants and an overall feeling of relaxed efficiency. They even have a yoga studio! I sauntered onto the plane, which was softly lit with pinky/purplish tones and settled into my leather seat. The flight to San Diego was smooth and quick – I barely had time to finish my gin & tonic before we landed. Picked up my rental car (a super-cute Mitsubishi Infinity convertible) and headed to my hotel. I stayed at the Hilton in Del Mar, just across the street from the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where the tasting was to take place. I settled in to my hotel room and did some work – catching up on emails and following up with my accounts. Had a business dinner with my central coast broker and called it a night.
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon and the Family Winemakers tasting. It was featuring close to two hundred California wineries and was held in a huge exhibition hall. Got my table set up and started pouring wine for the trade (restaurant and wine shop owners, press, distributors and brokers). It got very loud, fairly quickly. It got so loud that I found myself shouting to the folks who stopped by my table, just so they could hear me. It got even louder when they let the public in. After five hours of pouring and shouting, the event was finally over. I did make some good contacts, but I was more than ready to head back to my room for some TV and room service after the event. Those events are hard work, even for an outgoing Wench like myself.
On Monday, I drove north to Pasadena. Sold some wine to an account in Orange County on the way up. Again, I settled into my hotel room and got caught up on emails.
Tuesday was the Family Winemakers tasting in Pasadena, at the Pasadena Convention Center. It was a replay of Sunday’s event – lots of people, lots of pouring and lots of noise. Met with my L.A. broker for dinner after that and called it a night.
Wednesday, I drove to Ventura and did a “ride-with” (where I ride with a broker or one of their reps in and out of restaurants, wine shops and grocery stores all day) with a very funny, very easy-going rep, who kept calling me “dude!” We did sell some wine, though.
Thursday, I worked with a different rep in Santa Barbara, who damn near wore me out. We were in and out of ten wine shops and restaurants. He chattered the whole time. I was twitching by the time I got back to my hotel. I think we sold some wine, maybe.
Friday, I worked with my broker in Paso Robles. It was a fun and easy day – a few stops, a lot of laughs and marketing strategies discussed for the future. That evening, she took me as her guest to a crawfish boil at a local winery. It was big fun! I stayed at her house on Friday night. She and her husband (and their dogs, cats and very tame chickens) made me feel right at home.
Yesterday (March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day), after a lovely breakfast of fresh blueberry pancakes and espresso, I said goodbye, hit the road and drove my rental car three hours through the pouring rain back to San Francisco and turned it in. I then picked up my car and drove the remaining two hours home. I am soooo happy to be back – we ate Corned Beef and Cabbage and drank shots of Tullamore Dew to celebrate my return.
And there you have it, a week on the road with The Wine Wench®.
Next week, re-charged and ready, I’ll be off to Atlanta. I’ll keep ya posted!