A Glass of Real Wine Please

May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Isn’t interesting how powerful an idea is. I remember working as a waiter back in the 80’s and 90’s. That was a time when wine consumption was the realm of celebrities and the French it seemed.

It was also a time when wines Schloss Laderheim, Black Tower, Blue Nun, Mateus and the like. As you remember these were are relatively sweet. Yet in the ‘it’ circles and amongst connoisseurs you were only accepted if you drank dry, specifically dry white wine. If I had a dollar for every time someone came into the restaurant and asked for a glass of dry white wine, I would be a rich man today. However when I served technically dry wines they were often met with not so happy faces, yet when what I served was technically off-dry it was loved unconditionally. The lesson I learned is that people love sweet wines, they just don’t like to be told about it.

Fast forward to today and look at the success of wines like Layer Cake (yup the whole line up), Apothic, Colby and the list goes on. Each of these is a juicy red California blend that has a lot of what we call in the industry, residual sugar. But that isn’t the perfect formula, what you need in addition to a load of residual sugar is vanilla flavour. This comes from ageing the wine in either American Oak barrels or ageing the wine with American Oak chips.

The best way I can describe these wines is that they remind me of a pin-up girl that has tons of make-up. Once you remove the make-up and photoshop there isn’t much attractive there.

They aren’t my cup of tea but they sure seem to sell well so  what do I know.

Spring Evening Spirit

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

I believe that it is folly to take the moment out of the enjoyment of a beverage. Often the moment marries so completely with the beverage that the beverage tastes different, not necessarily not as good, than previously. If the moment is not as memorable then it is likely the beverage will be less memorable.

I had the good fortune to sit on my deck the last few evenings enjoying a spirit and it started me thinking about which spirits have been most enjoyable on a spring evening that still shows hints of winter on the wind.

As I looked into the past and enjoyed the present it struck me that on spring evenings I have enjoyed lighter spirits that feature more citrus or brisk fruit or herbal flavours.

Specifically I’m recommending Irish Whisky’s like Jamesons or Red Breast 12, Scotch such as Macallan 12, Glenfarclas 8, or Glen Garioich 12, just a small dram and a moment to enjoy life and all is good.

If you are not a whisky liker (if that is a word) then try Pisco which is a Chilean/Peruvian young brandy, or a light Cuban, Barbadian or Puerto Rican Rican rum. You could even go with a Silver or Platino Tequila or a Tuscan Grappa, but the trick is to have the citrus, tree fruit, fresh herbal flavours not weigh you down yet have the spirit warm you up. Just a few sips, some words with the breeze and the birds and all is right. I love those moments and each season has them.

If you have some favourites let me know as I would love to hear about them.


May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is amazing how time away from something that captivates so much of your time, energy and thought process can add perspective.

I took a week off last week and took the family away. I have come back with some tools that formed by connecting the dots. In other words all the elements were there before, they just hadn’t been mixed together. My perspective has changed and now it is simply about using the tools to test it out.

First and foremost is to prioritize better at work and the tools needed. I have developed a threshold for each category for each store that should allow me to manage our inventory better, track movement against expectations better and that will hopefully lead to greater profitability and accountability of more than just me.

There it is… the reason I blog. Every blog asks me to work out an idea. The idea of this blog was to have the tools that made more people accountable for our mutual success than just me. To create a playing field where it is pretty cut and dry if you are succeeding, getting by or getting tossed.

Ooh that feels good. Feels like I have finally itched that spot that keeps moving.

The Next Phase of Wine

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m sure that I will be shot down for this but who gives a shit about that when something so important is on the line.

Wine is like a child growing up; it goes through phases. I know that it will never stop growing as its pace of growth is generational instead of incremental. It is an every changing product in an every changing world with ever changing influences. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that we in the industry are not listening to those that will most influence the character of wine in the years to come.

We in the industry wrap ourselves in jargon in a desperate and noble desire to convey the aromas, flavours and textures of wine to anyone who wants to read or listen, however our words and voice, unless read or heard by those already seduced by the pleasures of wine, are most often met with quizzical faces.

Those that are…. (would you look at that, I was about to say un-initiated like it is a group or club worthy of going through  initiation stress) not as familiar with wine, make up the majority of the North American and Asian population. What they taste when they taste a wine is really dead simple; It’s great or it sucks. If we want wine to become as popular as, say beer, then we have to accept and build on more than the cerebral expression of the name of a flavour or aroma. I think… I want it to mean more because it does.

Wine has magic. You don’t have to actually see it to sense its magic. You can dismiss it and magically it has helped open doors, affirm feelings, and consummate relationships that lead to the next innovation, a new job, a new relationship or rekindling a current one. All of this happens without a descriptor, a discussion of terroir or vintages.

The Next Phase of Wine is yet to be discovered but my bet is that it will be lead by someone that today is saying “it tastes like… like wine.”

How Much Further Can A Company/Product Grow?

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I recently have been faced with a new and different question. One that I never thought would ever be posed. Have we reached the limits of our companies growth?

I desperately want to emphatically say no as I believe we are so far away from truly being excellent. There are some many things that we can improve upon. However each of those improvements needs a rationale. If we do X what changes should we see? What un-intended consequences should be seen? What returns on investment should be gained? Yet is seems that every path we look at seems to come at the cost of current market share. Am I missing something?

Given the current BC liquor system we are forced to try and be everything to everyone and thus it seems that we are at a limit. Only if the whole system is on the same the playing field in terms of purchasing, promoting, distribution, zoning and data can the market further segment. This is my view. Again I will ask… am I missing something?

Fab Five of Start Ups

May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

For sometime I have wanted to start a little company that has at its core creativity. I envision this group being the Fab Five and what gets generated by this little company saves people time, money, allows people to get creative themselves, and generally improves the quality of life of thousands if not millions of people.

This group should bring different skill sets to the table and I believe that those need to be the following:
Technical – write programming
Graphical – put the vision(s) into easy to understand and attractive images.
Legal – ins and outs of copyright, establishing companies, etc.
Marketing – how to craft the vision(s) into messages that will appeal to the target market(s)
Leadership – focusses the group on the task(s) at hand and is capable of fulfilling the vision(s)
Financial/Accounting – insure that we are doing things profitably.

Notice that there is 6 skill sets but only 5 people. I know there is overlap and is by design as everyone should have an appreciation of the expertise of the experts.

What I want from each member of this group is a passion in the doing of their thing and passion for getting up in the morning and creating the day. I want someone that is passionate about accounting, that loves the doing of accounting. Same goes for programming, graphics, marketing and legal.

Each member will put in $1000 and this will establish the company of which the founders will own 75% of the company equally held by all members. This means that each founding member owns 15% of the company.

If you are out there and this sounds like the kind of thing that might just interest you, then let’s start talking.

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