Fire or Hot Air. Which Do You Have?

How will you do in 2012?  I think the key to your business’s success is pretty simple.  It all comes down to execution.

For many, this is easier said than done.  You’re either  going to dig deep inside and turn the switch from pilot light to ON or you will move through 2012 with a lot of talk about what you need to do.

Step 1:  Ignite the pilot light

Step 2:  Turn the switch to on

Step 3:  Prepare for lift off

Step 4:  Set your sights on immediate …

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Sailing Away from the Storm

What direction are you sailing?  The wine industry is showing positive signs that the storm has passed and a bright future is just beyond the horizon.  However, I don’t think the industry can fall into a false sense of security that it is going to be the good old days again.  I have heard a lot of chatter that the customer has changed.  They are looking for a deal or not purchasing.  I think there is something else at play.

The day of order-taking is over!  The perception of value …

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Are You In the Hunt?

Hunting for success

Why is it that young pups believe the next big customer lies just around the corner?  What’s not to love about this optimism?  For in it exists the creative drive often needed to reach people. 

I just read a report that said social media had no impact on retail sales.  Does this mean we should all abandon SM?  Of course not.  SM is still very young and there is a lot to be learned.  I would argue that SM is a unique platform for connecting with people.  More importantly, it is …

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Fresh Start

 

It was sunrise the day after Christmas when I captured the picture above from my son’s kitchen window.  How appropriate that the morning began with a fresh layer of snow.  There is something peaceful about seeing the snow drape the trees. For me, there is no better way to close out 2010. 

With 2011 just getting underway, I can’t think of a better time to clear the slate and have a fresh start.  This past year has been challenging for the wine industry but there are many positive signs that the economy is moving forward. 

I …

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Life Returns to the Vineyard

On a recent fieldtrip into a Carneros vineyard I got to experience first-hand the pruning process.  It was a chilly morning and some vineyards had the wind machines running.  It was time to test them before the upcoming frost season.  As the sun’s rays began to warm me up I was anxious to discover more about the tasks before us.

Dubbed as the most important activity of the year, pruning requires a focus on each vine.  Understanding the life stage of the vine and what you are trying to accomplish …

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Are You Still in the Fog?

 

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Growing up in the Sacramento Valley I had plenty of opportunity to experience  fog so thick you couldn’t see the house across the street.  In the Napa Valley, we only experience ribbons of  fog that lace a vineyard together or tuck into a hillside.  I captured the picture above on my way to work this week.  It struck me how quickly the fog formed and meandered amongst the vines and trees.  Unlike the tule fog that sticks low to the ground and makes it …

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Satisfied, Think Again!

Unlike most commuters, I enjoy my drive to the office each day.  It’s no surprise since rather than being stuck in traffic watching motorcyclists zip by my mirror, I get to drive by vineyards, between hills, and some days under hot air balloons.  One of the benefits of life in the Napa Valley is the ever-changing scenery. 

Earlier this week, I was traveling the back roads to work when I saw the clouds tucking into the hills.  I tried stopping in the middle of the road to get a picture but wouldn’t you know, just …

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Reaching for the Stars

img_3157-400x600.jpgI had the opportunity to discover a local insurance agent’s passion for astronomy.  We had just wrapped-up our Junior Achievement board meeting when we were invited to enter into Gary’s other world.  He had built a specially designed observatory.  With its high-tech computer system it can track the planets and stars so you can quickly find them in the night sky.

Frankly, I have not been one to spend much time focusing on the night sky but I could hear the passion in Gary’s voice …

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A Southerner’s Perspective

I’m not from around here. vyd-600x400.jpg

Napa Valley can be an intimidating place. If the idea of wine with its white tablecloths and sommeliers weren’t intimidating enough, there’s all of that terminology that you need to understand. There are “appellations” (not to be confused with the Appalachians) and “terroir” (which isn’t to be confused with terror unless you’re a southerner who doesn’t speak French very well.) I’ve barely managed to adapt to the new directional perspective required when the coasts changed sides from left to …

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What’s in that barrel?

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I recently spent some time with the tasting room team at a local Napa Valley winery learning what was in their 2008 barrels.  The winemaker described how the wine’s flavor is impacted by the soils, lighting, temperature and water drainage.  Hearing all the variables that impact the flavor of the wine was interesting.  However, it was amazing to taste the difference these items had on the wine.  The Pinots …

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