Posts tagged with "wine enthusiasts"

Walla Walla’s Newest Businesses

WALLA WALLA’S NEWEST BUSINESSES SPOTLIGHT THE VALLEY’S BOUNTY
From a luxury winery resort to a refurbished 1930’s Showroom, Walla Walla’s new businesses further the valley’s connection to character and place.

Walla Walla is so nice, they named it twice. Honored for the second consecutive year as America’s Best Wine Region, and boasting a flourishing farm-to-table culinary scene, this rural-chic town in central Washington has earned a reputation for continually building upon its successes as opposed to resting on its laurels. With its sweeping landscape of wheat fields, vineyards, and farmland, not to mention its health and safety-minded Peace of Mind Pledge, Walla Walla continues to delight and entice visitors with no fewer than 11 new businesses opening their doors in recent months.

Among the most notable, a new luxury winery resort, three new restaurants, three new tasting rooms, and four other businesses, including a curated grocery store, an elevated general store, an artisan showroom, and an educational hops tour.

“It gives me great joy to see these new businesses opening their doors,” Says Robert Hansen, Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla and Walla Walla Valley Wine. “The common theme running through these new businesses is a unified connection to place and community supporting the local landscape, artisans, and history that makes Walla Walla so genuinely unique.”

Following is a list of some of the notable businesses that have opened their doors in Walla Walla in recent months:

LODGING
Yellowhawk Resort (formerly Basel Cellars): Yellowhawk Resort is an 84-acre hillside retreat on Walla Walla’s south side. The resort features a sparkling winery and tasting room with farm-to-table dining, a swimming pool and cabanas, lodging, and event space for weddings, reunions, and corporate retreats. As you enter the gate and wind up the hill to the estate house, the elevated setting provides a sweeping outlook on the fields of wheat, lush vineyards below, and the Blue Mountains in the distance. The property was purchased in December 2020 by Pacific Northwest hospitality leaders Dan Thiessen, Chad Mackay, Scott Clark, Philip Christofides, and Paul Mackay, and is part of the Revelers Club loyalty program. Winemaker George-Anne Robertson leads Yellowhawk’s sparkling wine program.

DINING & RESTAURANTS
AK’s Mercado: One of Walla Walla’s top eateries, Andrae’s Kitchen, which Food & Wine magazine’s Ray Isle once described as “hands down the best restaurant inside a working gas station in America,” recently relocated to its own space on Main St. in the heart of downtown Walla Walla. Focusing on tacos, smoked meats, and other street food, Mercado is inspired by Chef Andrae Bopp’s love for the cuisines of Oaxaca and New Orleans, among other places, with a craft cocktail program curated by local mixology legend Jim German. The venue also features various popups from Secret Squirrel wine, Daylight Plant Co, Walla Walla Cheese Co. and others.

The Kitchen at Abeja: Those with a taste for wine country living have yet another reason to visit Abeja, a 38-acre historic Walla Walla farmstead and home to the acclaimed Abeja winery and bucolic Inn at Abeja. The Kitchen at Abeja, which opened July 13, offers a fine dining experience showcasing innovative wine country cuisine and celebrating the Pacific Northwest’s seasonal bounty. Dinner guests choose from a five or seven-course prix fixe menu, as well as an optional wine pairing menu. Executive Chef Elodie Li, who returns to her home state after two years of cooking in Michelin two-star restaurants in Provence, France, collaborates with Abeja winemakers Dan Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler on the menus, updated weekly. Surrounded by the winery’s vineyards and gardens, The Kitchen at Abeja is a rich, refined wine country experience.

The Kinglet at Whitehouse-Crawford (opening early 2022): Farther on the horizon is The Kinglet at Whitehouse-Crawford, a new bistro eatery in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford Planing Mill building, from acclaimed Seattle Chef Maximillian Petty. A multiple James Beard semifinalist, Petty’s menu will range from exuberantly curated items, which built his reputation at Eden Hill, to a bar and lounge area that will stay open later with a snack-heavy lineup, including a pizza oven and an extensive cocktail program.

TASTING ROOMS
Moonbase Cellars: The Blue Mountains and rolling wheat fields of Walla Walla enticed Laine and Drew Pauk to call the valley their home. That, and their desire to make wine with a straightforward approach amidst an ideal viticulture climate. Moonbase Cellars’ philosophy is to find fantastic vineyards suited for a specific grape variety, sourcing excellent fruit from premier vineyard sites in the Walla Walla Valley, including multiple locations within the coveted The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA. As for the name, Drew has always been fascinated with space. Though his dream of becoming an astronaut didn’t work out, he managed to combine his love for wine and space with Moonbase Cellars.

Kinhaven Winery: This new family-owned small lot winery and vineyard is perched atop a picturesque knoll in the Southside winery district of Walla Walla. The property, with 8 acres of Merlot, Cabernet, Carmenere and Malbec, enjoys unobstructed views of the Blue Mountains and is the perfect setting for family and friends to connect while enjoying their thoughtfully crafted wines. Purchased in 2019 by Terry and Lisa Davenport, who also own the recently renovated Boyer House. From dining in the vines to weddings, the combination of Kinhaven Winery and Boyer House sets up for the perfect family and friend gathering.

5 Dollar Ranch Brewing: Self-proclaimed as “Walla Walla’s best new brewery in 2021,” this newcomer opened in June 2021. Located on the south side of town along the Oregon border on twelve acres of farm property, with sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. An evolving menu of hop offerings is fit to appease the novice to beer connoisseur. The location is both dog and kid-friendly. According to brewer and owner Josh Hulett, while he loves all of his beers, the Hazy’s are not to be missed.

Hoquetas Wine Company: Located at the Port of Walla Walla wine incubator facility in the Walla Walla Airport District, Hoquetas Wine Co. opened its doors in September of 2021. Started by musician turned winemaker Robert Gomez and his family, the winery focuses on producing wines that are both expressive and representative of the region’s terroir. Hoquetus, a musical method where vocal parts alternate to create a single melody, speaks to Gomez’s musical approach to winemaking, where the ingredients are carefully composed to create a melodious pour.

Runway Market: Located in the airport district of Walla Walla’s wine region, Runway Market is a sparkling wine bar serving up local bubbles. The Market serves an assortment of food options, including picnic boxes, paninis, flatbread pizza, and various other grab-and-go options. All tastings include complimentary gourmet popcorn. Cathy Bay and her husband opened Runway Market in 2021 with the hopes of being a stop for not only bubbles and food, but laughter and celebration.

SPECIALTY, ACTIVITIES & OTHER
Showroom at Colville: The Showroom on Colville was built in the 1930s as a showroom for auto sales in the center of downtown Walla Walla. In October of 2019, the Showroom on Colville underwent extensive renovations which unveiled the beautiful bones of the structure, and from there the story began to blossom. A corner of downtown Walla Walla honors local history to gather and celebrate the community with local-centric artisans and purveyors. Shops include TMACS, The Market by Andy’s, Wildlings Co. kids boutique, and many more.

Walla Walla General Store: A new home, kitchen & gift store founded by Jean Bender and Peggy Frasse. The store opened to locals & visitors alike on May 6, 2021. From small delights, such as penny cent candy to homewares from makers such as Simon Pierce, Walter G textiles, Riedel and Staub – there is something for everyone at the Walla Walla General Store. Much more than just a retail space, co-founders Jean & Peggy envision the store as a space for community. Following a successful summer Art Series, resident Allison Palmer will host a continuation of “Make for Joy” there this fall. Weekly Monday-Wednesday classes will begin in September, and continue through December.

Walla Walla Brews Cruise: Walla Walla is known for wine, but it’s also home to plentiful craft beer and cider. Alongside thousands of acres of vineyards are century-old wheat fields and orchards stretching across the valley. Generations of wheat farmers have made their home in Walla Walla and now support a growing community of brewers. Walla Walla Brews Cruise tours are knowledge-based tours where you will learn about the process of brewing beers and crafting cider, with a guided discussion of varying styles of alcohol.

Foodscape Walla Walla: Foodscape could technically be described as an online grocer, but it’s so much more. It’s a place to acquire food, talk about food, or gather meaning from food. It was started by Hannah MacDonald, a longtime chef, local, and significant influencer on the Walla Walla food scene over the past decade. Foodscape highlights the area’s bounty, from food to all the agriculture offerings: produce, meat, and seafood. They also directly import hundreds of spices from all over the world, as well as other specialty products like olive oil, seafood, and vinegar. Foodscapes give locals and visitors alike the tools that they need to cook any cuisine under the sun.

About Walla Walla:
As the unofficial capital of Washington wine country, Walla Walla is home to more than 120 wineries, a nationally recognized culinary scene, access to an abundance of outdoor recreation, and an arts & entertainment scene that rivals cities many times its size. This community of just over 30,000 residents is known for many things, including its friendliness and hospitality, the quality of its wine, and of course the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. An easy and scenic four-hour drive from Seattle, Portland, or Boise, Walla Walla can also be accessed via Alaska Airlines’ daily non-stop flights from Seattle. For more information and to begin planning a trip to Walla Walla, visit www.wallawalla.org.

Downtown Napa image provided by Olga Verkhotina and the Augustine Agency for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Sustainable Practices In Downtown Napa

Downtown Napa is home to more than 40 tasting rooms, 80 eateries, 60 boutiques and shops and a variety of lively art displays all within walking distance of one another. Aside from convenience, Downtown Napa also gives travelers an opportunity to minimize their carbon footprint. Here are some ways local hospitality businesses offer sustainable practices for visitors.

Car-Free Travel:

Not only is Downtown Napa wine country’s most walkable destination, but visitors don’t even need a car to get here in the first place – an ideal way to reduce overall environmental impact. The Napa Valley Wine Train offers a car-free San Francisco Bay Area connection with the San Francisco Bay Ferry, so travelers can hop on, sit back and enjoy a traffic-free scenic ride to the train station in Downtown Napa.

Attractions and Lodging:

To eliminate plastic water bottles, Andaz Napa provides guests with reusable, BPA-free aluminum PathWater bottles that can be refilled at the property’s filtered water stations. The hotel also continues to focus on purchasing local and sustainable products for its food and beverage offerings. Additionally, the housekeeping staff is always on a mission to turn off electric devices in each unattended guest room.

Archer Hotel Napa provides access to local and regional wines and produce through its in-house sustainable food guidelines. The hotel follows low water consumption measures, recycling and reusing practices, utilizing an eco-friendly dry-cleaning service and more. The property also has an ongoing partnership with One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization with a focus on global reforestation, and Proud Source Water, a Certified B Corporation spring water provider.

As the first Northern California bed-and-breakfast to be certified by the California Green Lodging Program, The Inn on First uses low-flow water sources, composts kitchen and garden waste, provides stainless steel water bottles and reusable glassware for guests. To reduce packaging and shipping, all food is also made from scratch. Each room features a personal air conditioning unit with an occupancy sensor, thermostat-controlled heat source and ceiling fans, among other eco-friendly amenities.

Napa River Inn located within the Historic Napa Mill is the original green building in town, which opted to build upon its historic roots keeping the original structure intact. Additionally, the bricks that make up much of the building were formed with clay from the Napa River. Embracing an eco-friendly way of life, Napa River Inn also sources bath amenities locally, recycles cooking oil into bio-diesel and offers charging pumps for electric vehicles on-site.

The Westin Verasa Napa is part of the California Green Business network and features oxidizers in rooms, low flow showerheads, composting, food dehydrating practices and sustainable purchasing. They’ve also eliminated plastic straws and implemented bio-fuel recycling, repurposing of linens, LED high-efficiency lighting, recycling training and more.

Recently revealed Napa Valley Welcome Center at First Street Napa features lights operated on timers, a water-saving toilet and sinks. All information provided to tourists is now fully digital. Additionally, the mercantile shop makes an effort to source local, handmade items. 

Food and Drink:

Angèle Restaurant & Bar attempts to only use local purveyors and farms to create its delicious French dishes. To eliminate plastics, the restaurant switched to paper and corn straws, as well as wooden or corn silverware. Additionally, the restaurant composts all food and paper waste.

The Dutch Door is a zero-plastic takeout cafe, dedicated to compostable containers, flatware and cups. The Dutch Door strives for zero food waste, choosing to sell out of items daily instead of discarding them. About half of the cafe’s menu is vegan, and they also order local produce and source meat from no-feed farms.

Gran Eléctrica utilizes bio-fuel recycling and partners with Napa Valley Recycling to properly compartmentalize all waste for maximum sustainability. The restaurant only uses recycled items including paper straws, paper hand towels, to-go containers and printed menus, all of which are fully compostable. Whenever possible, Gran Eléctrica only sources food items from local farms. The restaurant also grows peppers, squash, cilantro, mint, edible flowers and various herbs on-site to reduce the need to purchase additional produce. Additionally, staff is trained to never waste food, but instead tasked with pickling and dehydrating certain items. The owners also encourage their employees to carpool or bike to work.

Monday Bakery serves its treats and drinks in compostable packaging and also offers compost, recycle and garbage bins within the shop for customer use. The company was awarded the JD Fullner Recycling Leadership Award in 2019 by the City of Napa.

Oenotri maintains a 5-acre culinary garden just a few miles from the restaurant where 80 percent of the menu is sourced during peak season. In addition to fresh produce, Oenotri serves more than 20 types of house-made salami, daily house-made bread, an array of handmade fresh and dry pasta and olive oil sourced exclusively from Napa Valley.

Oxbow Public Market and its merchants use compostable containers and food ware. The market employs an industry-leading recycling program which has received special recognition from local, state and U.S. governments for outstanding green business practices through its recycling efforts.

Stone Brewing Napa donates its brewery wastewater to the Napa Sanitation District wastewater system. The brewery’s spent grain and hops also go to a local farmer in the region to feed the cattle. Stone Brewing is another City of Napa JD Fullner Recycling Leadership Award recipient.

Retail:

Betty’s Girl Napa has been a green business since its launch in 2003 and offers 100 percent upcycled fashion, such as dresses made from vintage and recycled fabrics.

Napa Running Company is committed to keeping fitness environmentally friendly by offering green products such as Hydro Flask water bottles as well as recycled shoe packaging. Recently, the store introduced a new eco-friendly brand, Girlfriend Collective, whose products are made from recycled polyester and post-consumer recycled water bottles.

For more information about Downtown Napa, including lodging, dining, wine tastings, shopping and things to do, visit donapa.com.

ABOUT NAPA TOURISM IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

Created in 2010, the Napa Tourism Improvement District (TID) is the official destination marketing organization for Downtown Napa/City of Napa. With a mission to increase overnight visitation and improve the local economy, the Napa TID promotes nearly 45 hotels and bed and breakfast properties, premier dining, wine tasting, shopping and local entertainment. The Napa TID utilizes its website (DoNapa.com), participates in the creation of local events and develops targeted marketing programs that drive overnight stays during the off-season and mid-week occupancy throughout the year.

glass of wine via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Ten Things That Every Wine Connoisseur Should Have

Whether you enjoy relaxing with a decadent glass of sweet red wine after a long day of work, find yourself waiting for Friday evening so you can finally indulge in a good vintage, or prefer fruity white wines from time to time, there a few things ways to take your love for wine to a new level. On the other hand, if you don’t particularly enjoy the beloved grape beverage, these ten tips will give you great gift ideas for the wine connoisseur in your life. 

A Few Good Bottles

As a wine connoisseur, you won’t want to head to the store each time you feel like indulging in a glass. Instead, having a few bottles in storage is ideal. You should get a selection that boasts some variety, so you can decide which type of wine you want to indulge in at that moment. It is a great idea to have a quality bottle of all your favorite types of wines. Remember that correct storage is essential, even if you don’t plan on starting a valuable collection.

An Ordinary Corkscrew

Even though you can open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, having one is the most simple way to open a bottle of wine. There are tons of variants on the market, so consider searching for a fancy design–especially if you are gifting a wine lover. However, the ordinary plain corkscrew is usually adequate when it comes to opening a bottle of wine without cracking the glass, breaking your nails, or facing frustration.

A 36-Piece Wine Glass Set

The average wine lover can identify a wine glass. However, only a wine connoisseur would know that there are several variations of wine glasses, and that each is suitable for a different type of wine. Whether you enjoy vintage wines, sweet reds, zesty whites, or rich dry reds, a complete 36-piece wine glass set will ensure that you always have the right glass. The shape of the glass does have a minor impact on the overall taste of the wine, which is why there are so many variations of wine glasses out there. 

Foil Cutter

A foil cutter will prevent you from ever ruining your manicure while removing the foil from a bottle upon opening. These innovative devices are relatively cheap and easy to find online, and greatly enhance the process of opening a bottle of mouthwatering wine. The small cost of a foil cutter will save you a small fortune in time and money when it comes to preserving your nails as well. 

Wine Veils

Wine veils are perfect for any wine lover that prefers to indulge in their drink while outside. Because quality wine often has a rich aroma, small bugs will find your drink quite attractive. To avoid the unpleasant experience of accidentally swallowing a tiny bug, invest in a few wine veils to protect your beverage while outdoors. These essential wine lover items are not too pricey and are available in various colors and patterns. 

A Wine Cooler

Unless you are prepared to head down to the local store each time you feel like having a glass of wine, a wine cooler an essential item for any wine connoisseur. It is not the best solution to store your wines in the fridge, as the temperature is too cold and will change the taste of wine. When reserving a few bottles for more than a week, a cooler is essential.

Wine Glass Charms

Wine glass charms are by no means essentials, although they are incredibly dainty and pretty. These charms can transform your preferred glass by personalizing it. You will be able to find single wine glass charms in endless variations. You can also find these glass accessories in sets. They are the perfect gifts for wine lovers, and with all the variations out there, you can find the unique, niche charms with a simple online search.

Wine Decanter

A wine decanter can enhance your wine’s aroma and color. They also make pouring a glass of wine much easier. There are various decanter designs out there, although it is recommended to opt for one that is dishwasher safe as it will be significantly less fragile. A wine decanter is the best way to store the rest of the bottle’s content if you are only indulging in one or two glasses. 

Wine Bottle Stopper

Suppose you don’t like the idea of a wine decanter and prefer to keep your wine in its original bottle– you may already have realized how difficult it is to get the cork back in after removal. Instead of attempting to re-cork the bottle, opt for a wine bottle stopper that acts as a reusable cork, sealing your bottle and keeping your wine fresh. Be sure to get a quality bottle stopper, as inferior qualities may not be crafted from suitable materials and can alter the flavor of your wine. 

Red Wine Stain Remover

Every red wine lover out there has encountered a stubborn red wine stain. These same wine lovers have probably lost the fight after trying to remove it with an endless variety of cleaning detergents. Luckily, there are products out there that are made to remove stubborn red wine stains, such as the red wine stain remover. It will be worth it to purchase a bottle of this cleaning product, just in case you happen to spill a glass. 

There are tons of fantastic products out there that will enhance your experience as a wine connoisseur. It is always best to invest in quality items–whether purchasing a bottle stopper, a wine glass charm, or an ordinary corkscrew. Because wine products may affect the flavor and aroma of your beverage, quality is always an important consideration– just as it is when purchasing your perfect, preferred bottle of wine.

Marine Layer Wines illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Marine Layer Wines

Marine Layer Wines Launches in Downtown Healdsburg 

Marine Layer Wines,  a modern new winery that brings the soul of the Sonoma Coast to life with its lineup of small production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, has officially launched, with a tasting room opening in downtown Healdsburg, June 2021.

Marine Layer was created by a tight-knit team of free-spirited colleagues who share a devotion to quality wine, genuine hospitality and living life to the fullest. They have already amassed a small cult-like following of industry insiders and locals who have embraced their stellar lineup from sought-after vineyard sites.

“This winery is a passion project many years in the making for the team,” said Baron Ziegler, founder of Marine Layer. “It’s pretty rare that you get the chance to work with a group that has this much joy for their craft, and it’s no surprise that it’s expressed through our wine, which is authentic, small-batch, and sustainably sourced. We can’t wait to share Marine Layer wines with everyone.”

The name Marine Layer pays homage to the prominent blanket of fog that pours in from the Pacific.  Known for cooler temperatures and wild and rugged terrain, the wines are vibrant, structured, and finessed.  With a focus on sustainable farming, heritage clones, and hand-harvesting, Marine Layer’s obsession for quality guides their path.  Every bottling of Marine Layer is produced in tiny quantities, some as small as four barrels.

“With decades of experience and deeply rooted relationships with the top growers in the Sonoma Coast, we built Marine Layer with an intimate knowledge of this region,” said Winemaker Rob Fischer. “Our wines are a pure expression of the land, history and soul of the Sonoma Coast.”

Marine Layer has partnered with local designers, the Hommeboys, who have perfectly captured the spirit of the Sonoma Coast in the design of the tasting room.  With its warm, earthy tones, low-key coastal vibe and layered textures, the space exudes the look and feel of the ultimate laid-back Northern California retreat.  Marine Layer’s Tasting Room is slated to open in downtown Healdsburg, June 2021.

For more information, please visit Marine Layer Wines website.

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Wine illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

California Wines × Down to Earth

California Wines Livestream & Video Series Celebrates Down to Earth Month in April

Facebook Live & Instagram Events Share Tips on Enjoying Sustainably Grown & Produced Wines

For “Down to Earth Month” in April, California Wines is celebrating the state’s global leadership in sustainable winegrowing with a series of fun and informative virtual events and videos on Facebook Live and Instagram. Throughout April, the free livestream events and videos will present a variety of discussions, cooking demonstrations, and virtual wine tastings focused on sustainability.

Hosts for the Facebook Live events include Napa Valley sommelier Amanda McCrossin of SommVivant and Aida Mollenkamp, Food Network personality and founder of Salt & Wind Travel.

Videos shared on the California Wines Instagram channel will demonstrate recipes, how to pair and enjoy California wines, and what makes a wine sustainable. Programs will feature food and beverage influencers, including Meg van der Kruik of This Mess Is Ours, Jerry James Stone of the Jerry James Stone blog, Britney Brown Chamberlain of Britney Breaks Bread, and Sarah Gim of The Delicious Life.

To view details on all Down to Earth Month events, visit California Wine’s website.

Facebook Live: Thursdays, 10 am PST

Livestream hosts Amanda McCrossin of SommVivant and Aida Mollenkamp of Salt & Wind taste and discuss sustainably grown and produced California wines. Event replays will be available on the site for later viewing.
 
April 1 – What Is Sustainable Wine?
It’s time to clear up the confusion around what defines sustainability! Participants will learn what sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices are and get the inside story on California’s sustainable certification programs, including the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) program.
 
April 8 – What Are Biodynamic and Organic Wines, and How Are They Sustainable?
Explore the differences between organic and biodynamic practices and learn how they fit into the sustainability equation.
 
April 15 – Why Is There a Chicken in the Vineyard?
Chickens, sheep, and goats don’t just look adorable in California vineyards—each has an important job to do. Learn how animals are helping California vintners in their sustainable farming efforts.
 
April 22 – How to Look for Sustainable Wines
Finding sustainable wines is easy—if you know what to look for. Participants will learn about the sustainable certifications, logos, and terms to look for on wine labels.
 
April 29 – How California Is a Leader in Sustainable Wines & Sustainable Farming
California is not only a world leader in sustainable winemaking and winegrowing practices, but producers also embrace sustainability in dairy and other agricultural areas. Learn about California’s innovative farming practices and how the state leads in sustainable wine and food.

IGTV Videos: Tuesdays 10 am PST

Every Tuesday in April, videos from well-known food and beverage influencers will be shared on the California Wines Instagram channel, each demonstrating a recipe inspired by the Wine Country Table cookbook paired with sustainably made wines from California. Recipes and information about sustainability will be shared on each influencer’s website and social media platforms.
 
April 6 – Meg van der Kruik of This Mess Is Ours
 
April 13: – Jerry James Stone of the Jerry James Stone blog
 
April 20 – Britney Brown Chamberlain of Britney Breaks Bread
 
April 27 – Sarah Gim of The Delicious Life
 

Art courtesy of Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

QxA Sandra Guibord

How Sandra Guibord Pivoted to Success During the Pandemic& Sandra’s Wine Life’s Valentine’s Day Wine Recommendations

What was your career like pre-pandemic?

For the past 20 years, I have been a wine educator as CEO & Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life. The in-person education aspect of my business involved leading wine seminars for large corporates, entertaining large groups of high-net-worth clientele for private banks, accounting firms, technology firms, and non-profits.

What changed about your business when the pandemic hit?

In Spring, 2020 when all my in-person presentations were canceled, I knew I had to transition to virtual events. All of my corporate clients now needed an intimate connection platform with which to reach their customers. I create Sandra’s Wine Life’s Virtual Wine Seminars to entertain small groups of advisers and their select clients.

What inspired you to make this change rather than just take a few months off?

On a Zoom call with my ski friends, we were commiserating over cocktails about our beloved ski season being cut short from the pandemic. Zoom was new to me, but it was such an easy platform to use and I realized how easy it could be to connect with people all over the world. Right away I knew that it was the path I needed to take to jumpstart my company.

How is business going?

The wine seminars have been an extreme success. I am conducting presentations at least three nights a week all year long – and I’ve had some re-bookings already from clients I just gave seminars for in September as their clients have been very responsive. Seeing the great excitement generated from these seminars is incredibly rewarding.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

My service is more valuable than I realize.

When I started Sandra’s Wine Life, I viewed my service as simply entertainment. I have grown to realize that my services are quite valuable as a business generation tool for my clients, particularly in these pandemic times. My virtual seminars are an opportunity for agents to reach out and effectively connect to their clients. I create an environment that is relaxed and enjoyable to set the mood and facilitate open conversation. This might seem a small thing, but as there is so much to be distracted by about in these times, having the ability to keep people upbeat and in the moment right now is a skill that has proved very valuable, and it’s also very enjoyable for me to be able to provide.

People are not always nice.

Unfortunately, I have seen behavior at wine conferences and other industry events that can be reminiscent of a high school cafeteria. As an attractive woman who is friendly and approachable, people will make assumptions that I don’t take my business seriously and that I’m not as committed to my craft or qualified. I ignore their behavior and simply do what I do to move my business and initiatives forward. In my accomplishments, I prove them wrong.

Don’t be shy about developing your network.

If you never ask or reach out to those in your network, you could be missing out on enormous opportunities. For example, Thomas Preti Catering has separately been providing food to match my wine pairings to some of my clients for as long as 10 years. Just a few months ago I first approached him with an idea about the two of us teaming up to provide food and wine pairings together for exciting virtual events such as Wine & Opera with International Opera Performers, Wine & Cinema tastings. Immediately he was on board. Now I kick myself for being shy about reaching out years ago!

Your perspective and brand tone can change dramatically as your life changes. Lean into it.

When I first started Sandra’s Wine Life, I was a single woman in New York City, and as such I focused on the demographic that I was a part of. As life evolved, adding children, increased obligations and more Corporate services, the focus of my company also evolved to incorporate my perspective on how wine fits into life and its moods and situations, broadened to home entertainment, business dinners, family holidays, International travel and large-scale corporate entertaining.

Be patient and stay the course.

Over the last 20 years, I have had to go to great lengths to keep my business alive. I have had to be creative, carve out time that didn’t exist, continue selling my services, collaborate with others, and learn a number of new skills on the fly — and with great enthusiasm! I did this all while raising children, dedicating myself to growing my former husband’s business and without having any encouragement or support. My business was always my voice and I needed to keep it alive and growing slowly so when the time came that I could fly. The time finally came, and when it did, I was truly ready. Now I’m flying and loving every minute!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day – and Galentine’s Day. How should our readers celebrate?

  • Impress your date with romantic chocolates alongside Champagne.
  • Treat your best girlfriends to pizza and Pinot Noir.
  • Send Mom a bottle of her favorite Chardonnay.
  • Cook a romantic spicy seafood pasta dinner for two with a luxurious Brunello.
  • For that “new” special person in your life, a picnic with Prosecco and cheese is friendly and thoughtful – and pandemic friendly.
  • If you’re in a restaurant and in doubt, White Burgundy or Pinot Noir are great food-friendly choices that are smart to order.

What are your top wines for celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

I will be sharing plenty of wine tips similar to these and much more in my forthcoming book, titled ‘Wine Identity’, due out this Spring. Look for more news on this shortly! In the meantime, you can check out my Instagram at @sandraswinelife each Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET for my weekly #WineWednesday recommendations, where I’ll share details about my favorite wines of the week and practical tips on how to enjoy them.

Rita Azar illustrates wine article for 360 MAGAZINE

ADAMVS Winery

With so many wineries now offering virtual tastings as a way to connect consumers with their favorite winery, ADAMVS winery in Napa Valley is now offering more than just a virtual tasting. ADAMVS has created a wine country harvest offering, connecting consumers with CA’s wine country at a time when most cannot visit during this spectacular season.

Consumers can choose from a variety of ADAMVS’ library wines which can be sent to their home in a hand-crafted wooden box along with a selection of handmade seasonal harvest-inspired items from ADAMVS’ 80-acre Howell Mountain property.

Items include: 2020 ADAMVS Cabernet Sauvignon jam, orchard fig jam; apple butter; mulled spice mix; dried oregano; ADAMVS herb salt; lavender shortbread and a few other seasonally-inspired harvest specialty items. Also included are seasonal recipe pairings from the Estate’s culinary director.

To enhance the offering further, recipients can schedule a private, virtual tasting with ADAMVS’s Owner, Denise Adams. Denise encourages guests to also invite others to the virtual tasting, to connect for a reunion over fine wine.

Red Wine, 360 MAGAZINE

Sandra’s Wine Life × Thomas Preti Events to Savor

Sandra Guibord, CEO and Founder of  Sandra’s Wine Life,  today announced the formal launch of her already successful partnership with Thomas Preti Events to Savor.

The wine educator and top New York caterer have pivoted their businesses, traditionally in-person wine education courses and large-scale in-person events respectively, to provide services virtually, shipping their wine and culinary creations to virtual event participants located throughout the United States for meetings, holiday parties, as well as Sandra Wine Life’s Wine Seminars.

Both companies have experienced tremendous success with this new model, working independently and together. Since the onset of the pandemic when physical events were put on hold, Sandra’s Wine Life has held four virtual events per week at minimum and experienced a growth rate of 100%.

 “Our new normal has empowered me to shift my business, previously in-person wine education seminars for top financial institutions, legal firms and non-profits, into a virtual format,” said Sandra Guibord.

“Through this experience, Sandra’s Wine Life has gained new clients and enthusiasts. I have not lost one client during the pandemic – in fact, I have grown my business 100%,” Guibord continued. “This additional partnership with New York’s top caterer, Thomas Preti, is a testament to the opportunities that can be created through collaboration during this unique moment in history.”

“Sandra and I have worked together, supporting the same clientele, yet separately, for nearly 10 years with tremendous success. I’m thrilled to now add our company’s catering expertise – traditionally shared in New York City’s most prestigious event venues – virtually through our new ‘Preti, Set, Go!’ offering,” added Thomas Preti, Founder of Thomas Preti Events to Savor.

“Although events are now primarily virtual, we continue to be able to provide cuisine that is just as beautifully presented and flavorful as for live, in-person events,” continued Preti. “The additional success that we’ve experienced teaming up with Sandra’s Wine Life has been incredible, with dozens of new events added, as well as the ability to now provide a full-service food and wine offering for virtual events.”

Sandra’s Wine Life Virtual Wine Seminars offer an array of custom and pre-packaged wine courses for beginners to wine connoisseurs. Thomas Preti Events’ ‘Preti, Set, Go!’ culinary offering is available to pair with Sandra Guibord’s wine selections for any of the virtual wine seminars. 

Seminar topics include a primer about wine and pairing called ‘All About Wine Tasting & Discussion,’ frequently hosted alongside a top wine industry expert. More topics include, ‘Wine & Cinema Tasting,’ including the preview of the film, ‘Wine Calling’ which captures the story of France’s natural winemaking movement, as well as ‘Wine & Opera’ which presents relevant wines and conversation alongside a ‘live’ virtual performance by International opera singers, Charles Castronovo and Ekaterina Siurina, from Berlin, Germany. 

With two decades of wine expertise and knowledge, Sandra Guibord offers wine tips and thought leadership for selecting and drinking wine that fits into everyone’s lifestyle. Sandra’s Wine Life celebrates selecting and enjoying wines for entertaining, gift giving, romance, parties and life’s many other occasions that call for a fabulous glass of wine.

About Sandra Guibord, Sandra’s Wine Life 

Sandra Guibord, CEO and Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life has over two decades of experience the media and entertainment business. A former Wilhelmina model and actress, including soap operas, network television series, films and corporate spokesperson roles, Sandra is now a preeminent guide within the wine and spirits community. She assists top corporations, legal firms, and nonprofits with entertaining their top clientele and senior executives.

Utilizing her hands-on learnings gained through vineyard internships and travel to wine regions worldwide, Sandra Guibord has made the often vexing world of wine enjoyable through her fun, festive and informative approach that has been well received by wine enthusiasts from novices to connoisseurs. She offers from practical wine advice for casual events (virtual and in-person), business dinners, romantic dates, and building custom wine collections. Sandra will be unveiling her first book, titled ‘Wine Identity’ in early 2021.

Learn more about Sandra’s Wine Life and Sandra Guibord’s event offerings at www.sandraswinelife.com.

About Thomas Preti Events To Savor

Since 1987, Thomas Preti Events to Savor has seamlessly orchestrated thousands of events at New York’s most prestigious venues. Our team has earned a reputation for delivering an unmatched culinary experience and first-class service by tailoring the needs of each event to enhance its unique image and style.

You’re not just choosing a menu. You’re choosing an experience. People who know caterers choose Thomas Preti for the events that matter. When we promise grilled grouper, that’s precisely what we serve. Grilled perfectly. Served impeccably. We’ve been delighting our clients and their guests for over 30 years. We’ve seen fads come and go. We don’t follow fads. We focus on what really matters. Real food, prepared in surprising and delicious ways. Preti is famous for delivering what we promise, flawlessly.

In 2020, we launched Preti, Set, Go!, a modern evolution of the classic Thomas Preti experience, individually packaged & delivered to you!

California Wines New Blog

Good wine, good food, and sustainability; Discover California unites all three topics in a tasty new blog. Food and wine sustain us best when produced with care and shared with friends.

Patio perfect: Time to take it outdoors. Dust off the patio furniture, fire up the grill, and uncork a juicy Zinfandel. Whether you’re celebrating Dad on Father’s Day, or just enjoying a warm evening al fresco, your backyard barbecue could probably use a refresh. Grilled pork shoulder chops and a nectarine slaw are definitely not the same old grilling.

Which Zin? Zinfandel is like that dinner party guest whom you can seat next to anyone—the extrovert who makes everyone feel comfortable and fits into any group. As Zin fans know, California wineries make this variety in a vast spectrum of styles, from fresh and lively to dark and brooding. So, what’s best for grilled pork? Red wine.

The choice is yours; It’s not easy, when you’re racing down a supermarket aisle, to be thoughtful about the wine you buy. Sustainable? Organic? Biodynamic? Do you even have time for that? When you’re tempted to grab-and-go in the wine aisle, remember that your choices matter. A little knowledge can help you quickly select a California wine that is made responsibly.

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