In the Press

Wine Tasting Moves To The Web- Winesellers Find A Great Resource For Listing Functions.

The Times-union

by Alison Trinidad

Jun 11, 2006 -- If Jacksonville were measured by the number of wine events occurring in the area, it would rank fifth in Florida - behind Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando - according to, an online calendar of wine-related functions around the globe. But maybe that's because other area wine purveyors have not yet heard about the free Web site that advertises events that have a food, wine, spirits or beer theme. Megalopolises like New York City and Los Angeles have more than 100 event postings each, while Jacksonville (as of Friday) had 14. Eligible events include wine tasting, wine appreciation classes, cooking demonstrations, beer brewing contests and culinary tours. Keith Litterick, owner of Make-N-Take Wines in Orange Park, began advertising his Wednesday wine-tasting parties on in January, the same time he decided to schedule a regular wine tasting. He says he was one of the first in the area to discover the free marketing tool. "Hardly anyone in Jacksonville was using it then," Litterick said. "Now, there's a lot. It's really come a long way." Though business for the make-your-own-wine retailer has "steadily increased" since offering wine tasting, Litterick said he is unsure whether the exposure on the Web site helped. But it couldn't have hurt. "There's no charge, so it's almost like a why-not?" said Joyce Pease of The Joyful Cork in St. Augustine. Pease, who also distributes a newsletter to customers via e-mail, signed onto about a month ago, after one of her wine distributors showed her the site. Wine guru Eric Orange, now living in Philadelphia, rolled out the Web site in July 2000 to increase publicity for restaurant, vintner and wholesaler events. It has listed more than 68,000 events since then. The site lists events by city, state and country. It also sends a free e-mail newsletter to subscribers, with a calendar of upcoming events and wine-related news articles. Orange, who now works on the Web site full time, makes money by selling separate advertisement space on the site and by providing online ticket sales to some of the events. Although many newspapers (including the Times-Union) publish lists of upcoming wine tasting and classes, those lists generally are limited by geography. brands itself as a comprehensive calendar of food and wine events around the world. It's a handy site for travelers to use while planning a trip, or for foodies to spot the ultimate culinary experience, whether it's a mile away or a thousand. Lorena Streeter, marketing communications manager for Orlando-based ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, said she prefers using to promote the chain's events because she can control what goes in a posting. Although Streeter also sends out notices to area publications, the format in which the information is printed (if at all) is out of her hands. ABC does not track business generated from the Web site posts. Most wine purveyors offer wine tasting to lure people into their stores, from liquor stores to supermarkets. Places like Total Wine & More and WorldMarket host weekly tasting events. The events - most of which are free - are meant to be social and inviting, for people to learn what they like to drink and (after a few sips) maybe buy. Some events charge a nominal fee, which usually includes a souvenir glass and discount off a purchase. Most store owners could not calculate how much profit is made from hosting a tasting, free or not, but they said the extra traffic it generates in the store is worth the trouble. "We're happy if we break even on the night of the event, but there are residual effects," said Bob Gibson, marketing director for ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. "When people try out 20 to 30 different things, they'll probably buy something. And it's an opportunity to showcase the store and our expertise." David Trone, co-owner and president of Total Wine, said giving away samples of wine is more about customer service than sales. If a customer is happy and satisfied, sales will follow, he said. Pease at The Joyful Cork says tastings are a common-sense approach to advertising her wines. She hosts free, weekly tasting events to introduce customers to new wines in her store. "I don't bring wine into the store without tasting it," Pease said. "Would you buy a car without driving it?"

Uncorking The Joys Of Wine Dinners

Chicago Tribune

by Kevin Pang

May 11, 2006 -- .... On average, there is at least one organized wine dinner every night in the Chicago area, according to - A Wine Lover’s Event Resource

Wine Adventure Magazine

by Tom Dinardo

May 01, 2006 -- How many times have you found yourself looking for a really cool local wine event, wine education class, boutique wine shop or friendly wine club in your area? Or searched for wine events in destinations you plan on traveling to? After spending needless time searching inefficiently, you find very little or, worse, nothing more fun than visiting the local grocery store’s wine department. Or you could type into your browser and find it all at your fingertips. was created in 2000 by wine industry veteran Eric Orange. The idea for the website had occurred to Eric when he was working as a wholesale wine representative. “I would show up to do a wine dinner with the restaurant and no one would be there. This happened in every city I would travel to! Restaurants and wine purveyors did not know how to get the word out,” states Orange. Today the website receives over 9 million hits a month, and it ranks as one of the top search engine results for wine-related searches. Also featured are almost 2,000 web links to various wine, spirits, food and wine education websites. Over 55,000 events have been posted to date with new events being added daily. “There are exciting events going on all of the time,” says Orange. Users browse the site for free and no registration is required. offers a user-friendly city search feature in the state or country of your choice, making it easy to find out what’s going on in your part of the world. Once you have selected the specific city, you simply choose those events of interest or select the subject pages such as “Wine & Food Educators,” “BYOB Restaurants” or “Food, Wine and Lodging” located at the top of the city webpage. users may also sign up to receive “The Juice” newsletter and e-mails about local wine events happening in their area. Tom DiNardo is a wine writer and educator, licensed auctioneer, certified appraiser (GPPA), and sommelier candidate with the International Sommeliers Guild. © 2006 Tom DiNardo. All Rights Reserved. Email Tom:

Restaurants Use Wine-events Website As Free Marketing Tool

Nations Restaurant News

by Gregg Cebrzynski

Apr 24, 2006 -- PHILADELPHIA (April 24) - A website that emerged six years ago to list wine tastings and dinners has grown to include hundreds of restaurants worldwide that are using the site as a free marketing medium. The website,, has listed nearly 55,000 wine-related events since Eric V. Orange, who lives outside of Philadelphia, founded it in July 2000 after a 20-year career in the wine business. "I lost the passion for the business of wine but not for wine itself," he said. The idea for a central site where restaurants, wine vineyards and wholesalers could post their events came to him during his days as a wine representative. Orange would often go to a restaurant that was holding a wine dinner and find no one there, he said. He believed that the events weren't successful because word about them wasn't getting out. "It was in the back of my head that if consumers found [event listings] all in one place, it would be efficient for the whole industry," he said. A year after taking a computer course he launched the website. It lists wine events by city, state and country and triggers e-mails to consumers who show an interest in the events and to those who have asked to be updated about new events in their local markets. Restaurants were among the first to post events on the site, Orange said. "They recognized the benefit right away," he said. "It's free marketing." The Cove Restaurant in Sweetser, Ind., used the site to promote its first tasting last September. "It really worked out well," owner David Ailstock said. "We ended up getting people from several states." Sweetser, a town of 800, is located between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Ind. But Ailstock said diners from Michigan and Ohio showed up for the event. The Cove, which Ailstock said serves "hamburgers by day and steak and seafood by night" seats 70 people, but 180 showed up for the wine tasting. "That was way over our expectations," he said. Vittorio de Roma, in Palatine, Ill., promoted a wine dinner last November on the website, and "I had to turn down quite a few people," owner Vittorio de Benedetto said. "I was planning to do 40 [dinners] but I did 70 or 75." The dinner featured five courses with wines to match each course, he said. The restaurant used to promote wine events with in-store marketing, but the website gives them more visibility, de Benedetto said. The website recently added a section for wine flights, Orange said, because "there are a lot of restaurants that do Thursday night wine flights." E-mail the author at:

Grape Growers To Vote On Pr Tax

The Press Democrat

by Tim Tesconi

Mar 17, 2006 -- ... Napa also outpaces Sonoma when it comes to annual wine events. Napa boasts 42 events, compared with 29 in Sonoma County, according to the Web site Even Paso Robles has more, at 32, than Sonoma. ...

Local Wine Events

by Kristin Detterline

Mar 08, 2006 -- Philadelphia’s culinary reputation makes it a prime spot for wine events. The only problem is that, outside of a handful of wineries and the annual Philadelphia Wine Festival, there isn’t a “go-to” resource for finding them – until now. Just a little digging on the web turned up Local Wine Events, a city-by-city reference for wine dinners, classes and certification courses plus similar events for scotch and beer. A sampling of current local events (which is actually the tri-state area) through summer includes “Value Wines,” “Wine Tasting for Dummies” and “Sommelier for a Day.” Event details like time and price are included but you’ll have to contact the establishment on your own for reservations. (They ask that you mention Local Wine Events when you call). Traveling abroad? The part about it being “local” is slightly misleading; the site has wine event listings from Cape Town, South Africa to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Media Watch

Chicago Tribune

by By Robin Mather Jenkins, Chicago Tribune

Mar 01, 2006 -- On the Web: Wine lovers will want to bookmark, a five-year-old company that posts wine events at cities all over the world (114 in Chicago when we checked on Feb. 24; just one in China). Founder Eric V. Orange worked for 20 years in the wine business and boasts more than nine million hits each month. The site is free and no registration is required.

Learning The Ropes About Vines

Wall Street Journal

by Dorothy J. Gaiter And John Brecher

Feb 10, 2006 -- .... So, how do you find a wine class? It's impossible for us to recommend any specific classes, but it's clear that it's a buyer's market today if you're willing to do some homework. One place to start is It's chock full of classes, listed state by state. Look closely to separate one-night tastings from multi-class courses. There is much to learn at one-shot tastings, but you might learn more in a short time in a course that meets several times because the comfort factor increases each week.....

Corkscrew: Cyber-wine- Online Snobs Vs. Valuable Wine Websites

Creative Loafing

by Taylor Eason

Jan 04, 2006 -- ..... Most of the others produced by the Google (“wine”) search are so mired in snobbish winespeak that I gag. Explore with caution, as the attitude is contagious. Not located by the search, for whatever reason, are two other useful sites: and…. is a national site that lists wine events in cities across America. The listing is free for the event organizers and free to you, as well. This way, you'll never be without the juice.

Oh, Maybe Just A Taste

La Times

by Valli Herman

Dec 07, 2005 -- "Tastings are a powerful promotional tool for hotels, restaurants and other businesses. (Many are listed on"