Swirl with Your Girls at Columbia Winery, Enjoying Great Wine and Great Company

On Friday night, I went to Swirl with your Girls at Columbia Winery.  A friend of mine, Kim Brunskill, is a member of their wine club and was able to score the tickets.  Not knowing what to expect, I made sure to where my gold glitter “barbie” shoes (platform stillettos), downplayed by black jeans and dressy shirt. That way, I wouldn’t look too overdone, just in case it was a casual event.

Me and Kim at Columbia Winery: Swirl with your Girls

I arrived a little bit early, not usual for me and was very surprised to see a long line to the entrance.  Apparently, this was a very popular event and I quickly found out why.  The event not only included a tasting flight, but also appitizers and shopping opportunities.

When we signed in, we received a wine glass, small bag of beads and a program.

There were 8 wines to taste:

  • 2010 Viognier
  • 2010 Opal, Stone Cutter Series,
  • 2010 Rosé of Syrah
  • 2009 Sangiovese, Red Willow Vineyard
  • 2010 Barbera, Small Lot Series
  • 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Willow Vineyard
  • 2006 Syrah, Red Willow Vineyard
  • 2010 Covey Run Reserve Moscato

Each guest was given 8 beads (one for each taste) that you gave to the host as you worked your way through the tasting menu.  I tried 4 of the 8: the Viognier, Rosé of Syrah, Syrah and the Opal.  I paired the Opal with a pink champagne cupcake – quite delicious.

Aside from the wine, there were also appetizers, vendors and a raffle.  The vendors included everything from jewelry (most notably Stella & Dot), manicures (from InSpa), clothing, a DJ, photo booth and even massage. After I had a few tastings under my belt, I loosened up my purse strings and purchased a hat for myself, a cute blingy headband for my daughter and some skin products (from Perfectly Posh).

The Cellar Club @ Columbia Winery was also giving away prizes for the best dressed group and many ladies and their groups of friends came dressed to impress, everything from little black dresses to Mardi Gras masks and beads.

Towards the end of the evening they drew the winners of the raffle and amazingly enough, I won some free flatbread from Columbia Winery.  I never win at these kinds of things, so I was pretty impressed by my flatbread.

It was such a fun night and it was really great to see all of these women out enjoying themselves.  I really thought this was not only a great way for the winery to open themselves to a whole market opportunity, but also a great  opportunity for the participating vendors.  This event was enough to make me seriously think about joining the Columbia Winery wine club.

A few crowd shots:

The Crowd at Swirl with your Girls

The Line to get into Swirl with your Girls


Abel Clement Rose: Let Rosé Season Commence!

Ah Refreshing!

Rosé is a good warm weather wine.  Since it is served cold, it is refreshing, but not too sweet.  A nice combination of red and white wines. This summer, I have decided to make a point of trying many different Rosé’s.

Mother’s Day weekend in Seattle was beautiful and warm.  It was the perfect excuse to try a Rosé.  We went down to Uwajamaya, an Asian Market, to buy a few ingredients for dinner and I decided to check out the wine aisle – just to see the offerings.  There I found an excellent deal – a Rosé for $3.99.  I usually only purchase wine that I have read about or been directed to buy by one of my brothers or another trusted source.  But this time I thought I would just go for it – and since it was only $3.99, I wouldn’t cry if I had to pour it down the drain.

It was a bottle of Abel Clément 2009 Côtes Du Rhône, and in my humble opinion, it was pretty good.

The color was a very pretty light red, and looked lovely glistening in the sun (I was enjoying it while relaxing on our back porch).  The wine had almost no nose, the slightest hint of kiwi and light summer fruits.  It wasn’t sweet on the palette, it reminded me of berries, but not sweet berries – more like raspberries.  Very refreshing and worth every penny.

I decided to look up the wine after I was about half-way through my first glass – just to see what was written about it on the internet. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was included in an article from February 2012 in the Seattle Times – Entrancing wines from Washington’s Tranche, by Paul Gregutt.  It turned out the wine was one of the “Picks of the week” – go me!

I do recommend this wine – I believe that even not on sale, it is only about $10/bottle and very refreshing for a hot day.

Winery Advertising, Social Media and the FTC

The FTC has decided to review its policy in regards to alcoholic beverage company advertising and social media.  OK, makes sense – I am sure it is antiquated, as-are most government policies and regulations.

However, it looks like the government may be taking it a bit too far – in an article by Michael Doyle, published in the Kansas City Star – US to Review Online Marketing of Beer, Liquor and Wine, the FTC is requesting advertising data, including tweets and Facebook posts, from large alcoholic beverage companies:

In an ambitious venture, the Federal Trade Commission is requiring 14 major alcoholic beverage producers to release information about their Internet and digital marketing efforts. The parent companies for storied wineries including Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi and Beaulieu Vineyard, as well as the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi, are all being tapped for precious data likely to shape future advertising rules.

I do understand that it is necessary to make sure all products are represented accurately and that alcoholic beverages are not being advertised to minors. I get it, I have a young child.  But I have to agree with the Steve Heimoff, and his article – Federal Trade Comish to Demand Winery Tweets? Don’t let it happen:

People under 21 (and I think the legal drinking age should be the same as the age to serve in the armed forces, 18) will do what they do: smoke pot, drink beer, whatever. And people will certainly say whatever they want on social media: that is social media’s DNA. The government can’t stop it, certainly not by spying on winery tweets.

Honestly, the wine industry does not have much to worry about.  Wine is not the alcoholic beverage of choice for tweens, teens and even college students – enter Mike’s Hard Lemonade, beer and the wonders of things such as Four Loko. So while this does pose some challenges to wineries, summarized nicely by Vintank’s article – Nothing Like a Good FTC Probe to Bring Another Headache to Wineries, I really don’t see too much of a shift in how wineries are interacting with consumers.

The advertising and social media interaction I have seen with various wineries has all been age appropriate and mostly educational.  <rant>I don’t think the government needs to worry about tweets that discuss wine pairings, a 16 year-old isn’t going to worry about which wine would go well with her Cheetos. And how often to you get a group of teens approaching you in a parking lot asking if you will buy wine for them…isn’t it normally beer?

And Big Brother – some food for thought – drug dealers, pushers – they aren’t opening Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups to push sales on dime bags, yet their business is booming.  So maybe, just maybe, think about focusing your efforts (albeit the best of intentions) somewhere else.</rant>