Grape-pattern pajamas? Not for the practical gift-giver - By Deborah Scoblionkov
December 04, 2002 ~ Click and sip: It's Friday night, and you're home alone. You'd love to relax and sip interesting wines with lively company. Rather than park yourself on a barstool at the local pub, check out www.localwineevents.com to learn about wine-related happenings in the Philadelphia region and more than 100 other locales, Tuscany to Tasmania. Log onto this central clearinghouse to access details of wine tastings, classes, auctions and wine-maker dinners worldwide. Friday night, you can "Swirl the World" with the Wine School of Philadelphia at Grass Roots Cafe in Manayunk (1-267-295-1023) or sign up for a wine-and-food tasting class ($89) at Viking Culinary Center (610-526-9020) in Bryn Mawr.
WINE LOVERS ON THE WEB - By Dan Berger
July 30, 2002 ~ The Blue Mountains, two hours east of Sydney, offer some of the most gorgeous views in all of Australia, and the charming area is also home to quaint antique shops and handsome bed-and-breakfast spots.
Assume you are a wine lover mapping out a sojourn to Sydney in October, with plans to visit the Blue Mountains on your trip. As a wine lover, you'd appreciate being able to taste some of Australia's finest wines, but since the Blue Mountains are hundreds of miles from the nearest wine region of Australia, you figure your chances of a fine wine experience are nil.
Not so fast.
The Sydney International Wine Competition's Judges' Farewell Dinner is scheduled for Friday evening, Oct. 11, at the Lilienfels Resort. And it is open to the public for a fee of only about $85 per person. I have been to these "degustation" dinners in the Blue Mountains and can verify that the multicourse meals are always sensational and offer tastes of many superb wines.
Late this year, from November through the end of the year, those visiting Yosemite National Park will also have the chance to attend wine seminars and banquets, part of the classic Vintners Holidays at the Ahwahnee hotel.
I am a moderator at two of this year's sessions, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 6. I have done these events for well over a decade and believe them to be among the most enjoyable wine events anywhere in the world each year.
Finding such wine events, especially those that are remote from where wine lovers live, has been, in the past, rather difficult. You could always look in a wine magazine, but smaller events, or those in really remote locations like New Delhi, India, rarely are available to even the most committed wine lover.
That is why the Internet offers wine organizations a chance to reach out to the world to gain publicity for their events. But the drawbacks with most search engines are obvious. For example, if you enter the words "wine events" in most of them, you'll get a wide-ranging set of unconnected "events," many of which are promotional in nature and cost far more than they ought to.
One group that does wine-based dinners around the world is the International Wine & Food Society, in which regional chapters coordinate individual events. But entering the phrase "International Wine & Food Society" into search engines yields random events from places like Helsinki, London and Ontario, including some that are long since past. And wine information sites rarely have a very complete compilation of events. The web site for the Wine Institute in California, for example, http://www.wineinstitute.org, has only a handful of events.
So I found it quite useful the other day when I was looking for a major wine event to come across a site that had literally hundreds of wine events around the world.
The site, www.localwineevents.com, offers so many events that even the most dedicated wine lover will have a hard time choosing where to go.
Eric Orange started the site exactly two years ago and today has more than 12,000 events listed on the site, including one in New Delhi! (The Delhi Wine Club staged a wine dinner last Thursday, July 25, a five-course Lebanese meal with wines from Tuscany, Burgundy, Spain, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Details are on the web site.)
At present, localwineevents is not charging for postings. At some point, Orange says, he may levy a small charge for posting commercial events but says, "Charities probably will be able to post for free. But where a wine maker dinner is being staged, where a restaurant is making a profit, I may charge some day."
Advertising on the site now provides enough money to allow Orange to "pay the bills that the site costs," but he admits, "it has nowhere near repaid my time to develop the site."
The site has no commercial sponsorship, but it does offer an option to subscribers of informing them of wine events in their areas. There is no charge for the service.
As you would expect, Orange's site lists Napa/Sonoma as the place with the greatest number of wine events posted at present, with 48. Included are winery-sponsored and charity-backed events, cooking classes, a summer film festival sponsored by Gundlach-Bundschu, and even Kendall-Jackson's Tomato Festival on Sept. 7, at which more than 150 varieties of tomatoes may be sampled along with wine tasting, gourmet food sampling, an art show, seminars by renowned chefs, and live entertainment.
WINE OF THE WEEK: 2000 Monterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Monterey County ($13) -- A stylish wine with bright cherry and herbal notes, and excellent balance, so it will age for a few years, and a bright fruit finish.
Dan Berger resides in Sonoma County, Calif. Berger publishes a weekly newsletter on wine and can be reached at danberger@VintageExperiences.com.
Website Exposes Local Wine Events to World Stage - By By B.J. Shepherd
July 01, 2002 ~ Putting together the myriad promoters of wine events and the millions of potential attendees to their events would seem a great idea. Eric Orange thought so, too, and the website he has created to facilitate that meeting is one of the internet’s best.
Wine and food buffs can find information about all sorts of wine-related opportunities at www.LocalWineEvents.com. Access to the site is free, both for the consumer and for the organizers of those events.
Though the site provides segmented information on other topics of interest to wine fanciers, such as wine vacations, accessories, a classified ad section and includes a great number of links, its core is the easy-to-understand home page. From that point the reader can learn about wine events near his hometown or anywhere in the world, for that matter.
Perhaps predictably, California seems to have the greatest number of listings the Napa/Sonoma section alone has 47 at the moment though many other parts of the country are represented.
There aren’t too many events listed for Arkansas at the moment, but there is the Altus Grape Fest this week. Apparently the festival is free and promises "tasting of all the local wineries, Bacchus look alike contest, live music and lots more!" Forty-three events are listed for Chicago, but southern Illinois isn’t neglected. The Illinois Liquor Marts promote their 18th consecutive Wine and Food Expo, which will be held in Carbondale this October. The state of Washington has enough listings to require classification on a geographic basis. Clicking on the Columbia Valley section, I discovered that in August, Destiny Ridge Vineyards is sponsoring "A Night Out," which includes a tasting of Washington wines, skeet shooting and a steak and lobster dinner.
International happenings are made available, as well. The information is really broad-based, even If it isn’t comprehensive in an "A to Z" manner. From accessing the international listings I’ve found that Australia hosts the Best of Barossa Banquet in Adelaide this weekend. Nothing seems scheduled in Zaire or Zambia, but the U.K. is home to many events. Those in the north of England in mid-September can participate in the York Festival of Food and Drink, for instance.
Forty-year-old entrepreneur Orange has a background that includes a diverse experience in the wine industry. Earlier in his17-year career, he worked in retail wine sales, served as a bar manager/wine steward and learned enough about the agricultural side of things to become a vineyard supervisor. More recently he has held management positions with the internet marketer WineShopper.com and with Paterno Imports. In his time he’s certainly seen many approaches to promoting all sorts of wine events. "How do you publicize these events? The options are limited," said Orange in an interview earlier this week. "Well, put ‘em all in one place," he thought "and I’ll do reciprocal links, too."
The two-year-old website has received great response from its users. The concept seemed almost too obvious to Orange, but not all segments of the wine industry are on board the bandwagon yet. "If I get 100,000 people a month visiting our site, wineries will be lining up to buy ads," Eric said he thought as he began the endeavor. That line hasn’t yet begun forming, but his numbers haven’t yet reached the 100,000 mark. Currently, LocalWineEvents.com is drawing about 35,000 site visitors a month—a very respectable figure and growth continues.
Consumers love the site and, if wineries are still slow to grasp the value of his idea, other aspects of the wine business are not. "The people who understood it the fastest were the retailers—the fine wine shops—and the restaurants," he said, mentioning the Tribeca Grill in New York City, Farallon in San Francisco, Sam’s in Chicago and Spec’s in Houston as businesses who’ve posted events with him. Sotheby’s even promotes their auctions on his site. The "local" nature of LocalWineEvents.com is perhaps too narrow a definition of its value. Orange reports that wine fans traveling on business or on their vacations often use his service to find what’s going on in areas where they wouldn’t otherwise be familiar with the wine scene.
Not charging entities posting their events, nor charging wine fans for accessing that information, the business has limited opportunity to generate revenue. "I’m not making any money," reported Orange, "but I’m definitely paying the bills."
LOCALWINEEVENTS.COM ADDS E-MAIL FEATURES - By Robin Garr
July 01, 2002 ~ If your club or institution is planning a wine event open to the public, you'll be interested to know about a new feature from our friends at LocalWineEvents.com: You can now submit events to this Website - the largest food/wine/spirits calendar in the world - direct by E-mail.
The procedure is simple: Include the E-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org" on your E-mail list and LocalWineEvents.com will post it. Visit http://www.LocalWineEvents.com/emailsubmit.php for the details.
If you're simply interested in learning about wine-related events in your city or anyplace in the world, http://www.LocalWineEvents.com is the place to go - you can browse the calendars online or sign up to be notified of events in your area by E-mail. .
A JUG OF WINE AND THOU.
May 01, 2002 ~ Wine tasting is all the rage these days. There could well be a vineyard in your state. The cost of a tasting, where they let you sample several glasses, explain the virtues of each, and give you a little nosh to clean your palate, is usually anywhere from $0 - $25. What? No vineyards nearby? Chances are a fine restaurant in your area will be hosting a wine tasting event in the near future. Calla restaurant with a great wine list to find ont (or visit localwineevents.com).
FOOD, WINE AND BOTTLES OF MILK - By Jamie Mock
February 26, 2002 ~ Eric Orange sits at his computer, the world at his fingertips through a DSL connection on the internet. He types out a few e-mails to California, New York, Slovenia...and then he hears his two year old son cry, and gets to go see what's wrong. He comforts his son, confirms with the nanny that all is well, and returns to his study to continue his world-wide correspondence to gain support for the website he started two years ago.
LocalWineEvents.com the website that Orange created, is a free service that allows any retailer offering anything to do with wine, spirits, beer or food to post events with a link back to their own website.
WHAT'S ONLINE - By CAY DICKSON
February 05, 2002 ~ WHEN WINE -- Be the first person on your block to know all about wine tastings and other wine-related events going on in your neck of the world. LocalWineEvents, at www.LocalWineEvents.com, is the work of Houston resident Eric Orange, who has been in and around the wine business for over a decade. He wanted to find a way to let people post information on wine events as well as find others to go to. All you have to do is choose a city from the drop-down list and you'll find a list of events for that month. There is also a section for wine happenings in other parts of the world. If you would like to stay informed about upcoming events, you can enter your e-mail and you will automatically be notified of new content on that city's page. The site has had 8,000 events posted since July 2000, and continues to expand as wine enthusiasts list information there. Cay Dickson is a Web developer in Houston.
Wine Business Monthly
February 01, 2002 ~ LocalWineEvents.com is a free service allowing retailers, restaurants, vineyards, wholesalers, and so forth, to post information about wine, spirits, beer, and food events, with a link back to their own websites for more information. The idea is to simply collect them all in one place so that the consumer can find them more easily, says Eric Orange who runs the site. Orange reports that there have been more than 8,100 events posted since July 2000, with four million hits and a mention in US News & World Report. The site currently averages about 1,000 unique visitors per day, and growing. I don't think I've scratched the surface yet, Orange says. The idea is rather simple: Create one place where consumers can find out about tastings and dinners going on in their area or cities they are traveling to and to provide one place where the industry can post them. An additional feature automatically emails interested consumers in a city when a new event is posted to the schedule. Posting an event is simple and free. Orange started in the wine business as vineyard supervisor for Millbrook Vineyards near Poughkeepsie New York, was later was district manager for Paterno Imports in Colorado, and worked for WineShopper.com before deciding to develop LocalWineEvents.com. Visit them at www.localwineevents.com.