Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notes from the Rollerbag

Travel, to someone working at Initech that spends their perfunctory eight hours puttering away in a cubicle, must seem like a non-stop world of delight: nights in plush accommodations with room service, luxurious dinners with adoring distributor reps, strolls in Central Park.

Not quite so.

The world of sales is highly unglamorous.

To wit, exhibit A:
I am on a middle seat on a 757 from Las Vegas to DFW, sleeping peacefully, headphones in, some death metal blaring away.

The hum of the engines lowers in pitch, and the familiar sequence that tells me we're making our initial descent into the city du jour begins, and I awaken slowly, like a wood elf from a midsummer afternoon idyll.

My left leg is warm and damp. I touch my jeans. And now chunky, as well.

I open my eyes to a three year-old with matching chunks on his chin being held by a sheepish mother that shrugs and gives me an underwhelming "sorry."

Sorry, indeed.

Note: if your child pukes on an unrelated passenger on the airplane, and said passenger is sleeping, do not hesitate to wake the stranger up. He or she will not mind, or at least, will mind far less than discovering the remains of baby's lunch spattered upon them.

A few other bits of advice, when traveling:

1) Be aware of the limits of your personal space. I won't go into detail on this one but use your imagination.

2) You may have just gotten out of bed, but don't dress like you're still in it. Velour sweat suits and plush furry slippers may be de rigueur for Saturday cartoons and Cheerios, but they do not make for appropriate travel wear.

3) Realize that people are at their lowest level of cerebral activity when boarding and deplaning an aircraft (and when merging onto a freeway). It's easy. Locate your seat (hint: it's the alphanumeric quantity in big bold letters on your boarding pass). Upon finding your seat, throw one bag up top and one at your feet, remove yourself from the aisle, and sit quietly. No talking or fun of any kind. Upon landing, do not unbuckle your seatbelt and stand up in the aisle at the first available opportunity. This is both unnecessary and annoying (or perhaps annoying because it is unnecessary). Anyhoo, calm yourself.

4) Read the signs. Yes, there are information kiosks and gate agents, but consider them as a last resort when trying to determine the relatively simple (i.e., the location of your gate, or whether the plane is boarding). Just because they exist to be of assistance does not mean they aren't thoroughly unimpressed with your foolish inquiries.

5) The extra shot with the super size beer is never a good idea, and moreover, it's not that great of a bargain, if you do the math.

6) Never check a bag. Nevah-evah. Going for a whole week, you say. That’s what guest laundry is for at the hotel where you'll be staying. Need seven changes of clothes? No, you don't. Seven pairs of underwear, most would argue, is a necessity, but the person you work with on Wednesday will never be the wiser that the pants you're wearing you wore the day before when working with someone else. Simplify.

Until next time, may all your departures be on time and your arrivals early.

Blessings and cheers,

Thomas the Sales Guy

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Latest eNewsletter

We thought it would be cool to share our latest newsletter. A new release, a new wine sale and thoughts on sustainability. Enjoy!

New Release and Estate Wine Sale from Woodward Canyon

New Release: 2007 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $39. "This wine has a beautiful nose of subtle tobacco, complex spiced oak and clove that integrates beautifully with ripe black cherry/cassis fruit. A rich mouth feel begins with black cherry leading towards a chocolate/mocha finish that is exotic, enticing and long." 599 cases produced, 10% case discount applies. This is a great example of a Walla Walla cabernet.

Green Beer, Green Wine, Green Wine Sale? We have it - well, at least the wine part. All of our Estate wines come from our certified sustainable vineyard. What does that mean? Scroll down to read more about how we stay 'green' in the vineyard and keep reading to find out all the details on our Estate Wine Sale.

Estate Wine Sale! Purchase at least 6 bottles of any combination of our Estate wines (750ml bottles only) and get 15% off per bottle. Purchase a full case or more of any combination of the Estate wines and get 20% off. What a great excuse to go green! Estate wines available are the 2007 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Estate Barbera, 2007 Estate Dolcetto and 2005 Estate Red, which scored 91 points from Parker. All of these come from our certified sustainable Estate Vineyard. Add 6 -11 bottles of Estate wines and receive 15% off those bottles. Full cases of Estate wines will receive 20% off. All non-Estate wines purchased as part of a case will receive 10% off if they normally qualify for a case discount.

'Green' Wine: All of the fruit that we use in our Estate wines come from our Estate Vineyard which is certified sustainable by LIVE, Vinea and Salmon-Safe. These three organizaitons work to help vineyard owners improve and nourish the land that is farmed, making it a better environment for the entire ecosystem. At Woodward Canyon, we have encouraged biodiversity by restoring native vegetation, such as juniper, rabbit brush, green sage and grasses, between the vineyard blocks. Our newer plantings, as well as the vegetables we grow on the vineyard property, have been farmed organically. We utilize grape pommace, green waste from the Tasting Room garden, organic manure and cedar chips for use on the vineyard. To minimize water usage, the entire vineyard is on drip irrigation. We also use sustainable practices in the winery and in the office. In fact, in 2008, by participating in Pacific Power's BlueSky program, we saved the equivalent of 23,252 pounds of CO2, which is equivalent to not driving 23,590 miles in a car. How cool is that? For more information on how we go 'green', click here.

2005 Columbia Valley (Sweet) Riesling, now 30% off! Reg. $14.00, now $9.80. With only about 2.5% residual sugar, this isn't your typical 'sweet' riesling. It has just enough sweetness to enjoy on a warm Spring afternoon or evening. No additional discounts. Limited availability.

We will be busy with events this Spring all over the Pacific Northwest. Check out the events below to see if you can join us or check our click here to check out our Events page.

Upcoming Events:

Wine Dinner at The Ranch Club, Missoula, MT, March 12th. Thomas Woodley, our National Sales Coordinator, will be on hand for a great five course dinner prepared by The Ranch Club. Expect great Woodward wines as pairings! Call 406-532-1005 or email ejoy@ranchclub.com for more information.

Wine Dinner at The Silver Star, Helena, MT, March 13th. Join Thomas Woodley for a wine dinner pair with the delicious food of The Silver Star. Reservations are required and space is limited. Call (406) 495-0677 for more information. The Silver Star's website is http://www.silverstarsteakco.com/restaurant.php.

Dahlia Lounge, Seattle, March 20th. Join us in celebrating Washington Wine Month. Each week, Dahlia will feature a Washington winery and also offer wines from that winery that are not usually sold by the glass. Thomas Woodley of Woodward Canyon will be in the restaurant pouring and talking about the wines on the evening of March 20th. For more information, contact Dahlia Lounge at (206) 682-4142 or visit http://www.tomdouglas.com/events/view/id/18 to check out the schedule.

Winemaker Dinner with Rick Small, Waterfront Seafood Grill, Seattle, March 26th. Join Rick for an excellent menu paired with Woodward Canyon wines. $125 / person, reservations necessary. Please call 206.956.9171 for more information or to make a reservation.

Taste Washington Seattle, WA, Qwest Field, April 5th. Join Woodward Canyon and many of Washington's wineries for Taste Washington Seattle. For more information go to http://www.tastewashington.org/.

Feast Walla Walla, Downtown Walla Walla, April 11th, 2009. Feast Walla Walla is a Celebration of Fine Food, Wine, and Art. Join Woodward Canyon and a number of other Walla Walla wineries and restaurant vendors from 1 - 4 PM on April 11th. Tickets are $45 and you will be able to purchase wines you have tasted onsite. Look for the "BIG PARTY TENT" on First Avenue in downtown Walla Walla. Visit http://www.feastwallawalla.com/%20for%20more%20information.

Anacortes Spring Wine Festival, April 11th, Anacortes, WA. Mark your calendars now! This is a full weekend of great wines and food. Featured wineries will be Woodward Canyon, OS, Hightower, Woodinville Wine Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, Tasawik, Mark Ryan, Chinook, JM Cellars, Rulo, Lopez Island Vineyard, Gorman, Sheridan, Sleight of Hand, Des Voignes, Challenger Ridge, Dunham, Whidbey Island Winery, Ross Andrew, Cuillin Hills, Andrew Will and Delille. Add 6 local restaurants, a whole bunch of winemaker dinners and make a weekend of it. Tickets go on sale March 16 through the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, Compass Wines at http://www.compasswines.com/events.cfm#72 and the restaurants involved.

Spring Release at Woodward Canyon, May 1 - May 3, 2009. Join us for Spring Release weekend! Beginning Friday, May 1st through Sunday, May 3rd, we'll have great new releases and some special pours. We have some surprises for this year's Spring Release, so check this page in mid-April to see what we have going on. Check your inbox in mid-April for our Spring Release eNewsletter to see what we're up to.

Winemaker's Dinner Package at the Marcus Whitman, Walla Walla, April 30-May 2. Join Woodward Canyon & L'Ecole #41 for a Winemaker's Dinner Series at the Marcus Whitman the weekend of Spring Release. Combine it with a weekend stay at one of the Valley's best lodging choice. Packages start at $949 per couple. For more information, please call 509-524-5110 or email wine@marcuswhitmanhotel.com.

Winemaker Dinner with Rick Small, Beverly's, Coeur D'Alene, ID, May 17th. Call Beverly's at the Coeur D'Alene Resort directly at (208) 765-4000 for more details. Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Perks of the Job!

I have this really good friend who I’ve known for years. We both went to high school together and then we followed each other to college as well. We even went so far as to having our college graduation party together because we had so many of the same friends and our families knew each other well. Over the years I’ve become friends with his wife, who I also went to high school with, and have fallen in love with their two boys. So I always try to do something special for his birthday. Last year, I did a mini vertical of Walla Walla cabernets from 2000-2004. Not something I would recommend for three people, but it was a lot of fun and the wines were amazing. So this year I decided that I needed to do something even more special. After racking my brain I came across a 1998 “Old Vines” Cabernet from Woodward Canyon and decided that was just what I was looking for.

So the three of us made plans to get together over a nice dinner and crack open the bottle. It was fantastic! We paired the wine with a steak and potato dinner just like mom used to make. In the mouth, the wine was rich and still very powerful, with flavors of muted toasted oak and vanilla as well as raspberry, blackberry and a hint of the terroir that is typical of the Champoux Vineyard. It was well balanced and for being 10 years old it still had years of cellar time on it. The steak was hearty enough that the wine didn’t overpower it, leading to a wonderful pairing. We savored every last drop in the bottle and then wished we had three more to open.

The grapes were harvested entirely from Champoux Vineyard, planted in the 1970’s, above the Columbia River in southeastern Washington. The very warm growing season of 1998 gave incredibly ripe fruit with great richness and concentration. Champoux Vineyard consists of 170 acres of mixed varietals - cabernet sauvignon, lemburger, cabernet franc, syrah, merlot, riesling, muscat, and chardonnay. We, along with Quilceda Creek, Andrew Will, and Badger Mountain/Powers, are all partner wineries in the Champoux Vineyards along with Vineyard Manager, Paul Champoux. We primarily use Champoux fruit for our "Old Vines" Cabernet. The cabernet vines were planted in 1972, making them one of the oldest cabernet blocks in the state. The fruit produces extremely elegant and bright red cherry flavors which was evident in the 1998 vintage.

Then I gave him his “present” of the 2002 Woodward Canyon Estate Red to cellar for later. If you have not had a glass or bottle of the Estate Red you don’t know what you’re missing! This is definitely one of my favorite wines we produce here and the 2002 Estate Red is one of my favorite wines from the valley that vintage. It is a Bordeaux style blend entirely from our Estate Vineyard. This merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot blend has a soft generous texture that transitions to a supple, balanced mouth feel with a long and layered finish. This is a wine that can lay down, with proper cellaring, for 10+ years. And even though we are out of the 2002 vintage we still have plenty of the 2003 and 2005 available, both of which are excellent.

Needless to say he was pretty excited about the wines. It was a pretty special night that I will remember for a long time. I wouldn’t give or open a bottle like that for just anyone.

So happy drinking everyone! I hope you are all enjoying something special at this moment. If you are on facebook please friend us and keep up on what's going on out at the winery. And next time you are in the valley come see me in the tasting room!


Shari / Woodward Canyon Winery