Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Vineyards in Paso Are Bugged!

Has Alberto gone into the wine business? You heard it here first... unless, of course, you also get press releases from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Don't worry about talking your head off as you roam through the area's vineyards, the bugs are the beneficial kind.

Paso Robles is actually on the forefront of the wine industry's adoption of sustainable farming practices. Part of this effort incorporates a
Biologically Integrated Farming Systems program driven by the Paso Robles based Central Coast Vineyard Team.

Many Paso Robles vineyards are using beneficial insects that eat vineyard damaging mites. This reduces pesticide use and promotes a healthy soil base.

From watershed management to alternative fuels and solar power, more and more of Paso Robles wineries are pursuing sustainable practices and practicing responsible stewardship of the land.

And it could be a new slogan: "Farm Responsibly So We Can Drink Responsibly."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trophy Looking for a Roadie

Check out the trophy that goes to the winners of the 2007 Winery Music Awards. The big final is Sunday, October 7th at the River Oaks Hot Springs & Spa in Paso Robles.

If you haven't made it to any of these yet, don't miss the finals. I have seen some amazing talent at three events. Last Saturday Holiday And The Adventure Pop Collective were just incredibly entertaining. Totally unique.

Fun people, great music, fine wines and good food... need I say more?

And, if you're way far away, you can check out the event's live stream
on Oct. 7th at their website. Or click here: Live WMA Stream

Check it all out at Winery Music Awards site.

Trophy Fun Facts:
Design by: Kathy Kelly, John Olt, Kent Kahlen,
John Kemple
Bronze Sculptor, John Olt, Paso Robles
Glass blower, Kent Kahlen, Laguna Beach
Granite, Valley Tile & Stone, Templeton
Fabrication, John Kemple, Genesis Bronze, Paso Robles

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who's Dan? And Why Do You Need to Know Him?

During my day job of consulting wineries on how to best market their brands I encountered a unique web based "human powered network." It's called

They are still in beta at this moment and are preparing a section dedicated to wine tasting rooms and wine related events. Which is kinda how I got involved.

The interesting part, to those of you interested in fine wine and good food, is that you can sign up for "savings based" alerts on lunches, dinners, tickets to events, etc.

From my perspective (helping wineries market themselves) I could see the situation where it's the day before an event and you've got 15 unsold tickets. The business can fire an email to and send subscribers (who have signed up to be alerted to such deals) and offer them $10 off the ticket price.

One example, the Winery Music Awards offers 10% off a pair of tickets to their big finals event when you buy online at and use the promo code "iKnowDan."

I do quite a bit of web based research and helping clients improve their web based marketing tools and I've never seen anything like I signed up two days ago!

The Blog Catalog

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bruce Lee vs. The Orange Panda

I'm not making this up. We had lots of fun with the owner and general manager (Bruce Lee and Toshi Maruta, respectively) of SLO's hottest new Japanese restaurant, Sushiya.

They were entertaining and informative on the air and then insisted that Kathy and I join them for lunch, laughs and Karioke.

Keep an ear out for their upcoming gourmet Sake Tastings and other fun events. We'll keep you updated on
the show as to all the goings on at Sushiya.

The Orange Panda is on the plate that Kathy and are holding up in the photo.

Toshi is quite the crooner!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rolling in the Clover with a $12 Cup of Coffee

So where do you find a good cup of $12 coffee? I found it in Avila Beach last Saturday at the new Joe Mamma's coffee place (310 Front St.).

To celebrate their grand opening they were serving world’s best and most expensive coffee, Hacienda la Esmeralda (as recognized by the Specialty Roasters Association), which is about $200 a pound for the beans.

Their coffees are ground and brewed one cup at a time via a machine that is shaking up the whole retail coffee industry; is called The Clover.

Last year the Clover 1s won the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Best New Product: Coffee & Tea Preparation Equipment (Commercial) prize. Joe Mamma's Clover is the only one between LA and San Francisco.

Joe Momma's is great looking place and there's lots of coffee choices well under $12!

Also on hand for Saturday's coffee buzz was Heather Perry of Klatch Coffee Roasters. She had just recently returned from Tokyo where she won second place in the World Barista Competition. In 2003 she was named "World's Top Barista."

Heather knows more about coffee and the retail coffee business than anyone I've ever talked to. No small wonder that she's the only U.S. citizen to win the Barista competition twice.

"Heather Perry from Coffee Klatch was, as usual, a total polished pro. Here she serves her pumpkin specialty drink."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Where's Chuck On This Chart?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

In Memorial x 2

At right is Michael Jackson (circa early 90's) tasting the line of SLO Brew Ales. Pouring the brews is owner, Mike Hoffman.

Acclaimed beer writer Michael Jackson left us 8/31/07 at age 65

I met Michael at ye olde SLO Brew in the very early '90's when I was handling the marketing duties for the brewery. His encyclopedic knowledge of beers from around the world was perfectly paired with his droll sense of humor.

Michael Jackson, England's renowned beer historian, writer and television personality on both sides of the pond has died at his home in London.

His longtime partner, Paddy Gunningham, said Jackson died from a heart attack. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease for years. She said he had planned to write a book about his ailment.

"He was simply the best beer writer we've ever known," Tim Hampson, chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers, told the Associated Press. "He told wonderful stories about beer, breweries and far away places. He told the story of beer through people, and he was humorous and erudite at the same time."

Among Jackson's books are two dealing with his favorites, Belgian brews: "The Great Beers of Belgium" and "World Guide to Beer." In his work, he wrote for magazines, did television appearances in the UK and the United States, and wrote a series of books about beer and whiskeys that were published in 18 languages.

Happy Beer Hunting, Michael. We trust that the lyrics from the popular Polka, "In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here," is only a fiction.

Alfred Peet passes on 8/31/07 at age 87

Just as SLObispoians get ready to celebrate the opening of our first Peet's Coffee & Tea, word comes that Alfred Peet, who founded Peet's Coffee & Tea and opened its first store 41 years ago in Berkeley, died Wednesday at his home in Ashland, Oregon, the company said today.

Mr. Peet opened the coffee roaster's first store in 1966, followed by outlets in Menlo Park (1971), Piedmont Avenue in Oakland (1978) and another Berkeley store across from the Claremont Hotel in 1980. He retired in 1983.

Mr. Peet was born in Alkmaar, Holland. He cleaned machinery and did other odd jobs at his father's coffee roastery in Alkmaar before World War II.

After the war, Mr. Peet became an apprentice at Lipton's Tea in London, then moved to Indonesia to work in the tea business there.

He immigrated to San Francisco in 1955 and went to work at a coffee importer, E.A. Johnson & Co.
He opened his first Peet's at Walnut and Vine streets in Berkeley, installing a small roaster in the shop's back room.

Legend has it that the founders of Starbuck's sought Mr. Peet's advice on how to buy and properly roast coffee before opening their first shop.