New Wine Blog…with my favorite rating system!

Well, as the NBC television saying goes “if you haven’t seen it then its new to you!” (lame way to try to excuse running repeat programming, but good description of my relationship with Grape Juice

).  Well this site is new to me even though its been around since late 2005.

Owner of the Grape Juice blog, and current Wine Life Today BETA tester, Erin contacted me about exchaning links and the fact that I hadn’t run across her great blog until she reached out to me is a testament to the rate of increase of the wine blogosphere.

First,  I do believe that Erin and I share the same stock photo of a wine glass in the background of our blog headers…this shows she has a great eye for nice wine photo and how to use it in an artistic way

 (look at the Vivi’s header).

Second, the content on the site is well organized and very attractively displayed.

But third, and most important, is the rating system employed!  I gotta say, the number system is hard to swallow because its usually one man/woman’s opinion which has infinite possible variations and therefore cannot possible represent what the average person will think.  Grape Juice scraps that idea in favor of the following:

Rating System

Not Even On Pain of Death: I’d pretty much run screaming from this wine if I ever saw it again.

I Wouldn’t Make Faces: Not my choice, but if someone were to serve it to me at a gathering of some sort, I wouldn’t turn up my nose.

I’d Hit It: A good wine, but not necessarily mindblowing. I’d consider buying it again.

Repeat Offender: I’ll be buying this one again. A wine with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’

Bet Your Bottom Dollar: A sure-fire hit. Even your mother-in-law would like this one.

I find alot of “I’d hit that” wines myself and I think the double entendre speaks for itself (as this rating is used between buddies and I quite often when we go out drinking


From the site it seems as if Erin has a partner, Michelle (my daughter’s middle name), and so with this I say “Hello” to Erin and Michelle and welcome to the wine blogosphere!

Enjoy the Wine Life!

Reminder! Wine Blogging Wednesday is right around the corner!

Just a quick reminder that Wine Blogging Wednesday #23 – BBQ Wines is coming next week!  I am expecting some great comtributions from the US-based bloggers with one of the biggest BBQ weekends coming up.  90% of you have a 4 day weekend so no excuses!

Enjoy the Wine Life!

Wine Life social news site

So with idle hands we’ve done it again.  I worked with Kelly to pull together a news site that combines wine fanaticism and functionality.  Its now ready for public Beta testing!

The project is called “Wine Life Today” and is wine news for wine lovers, by wine lovers.  With this site, the community has editorial control!  What that means is “Front Page” news is determined by articles that the community likes best.  Its simple, you can review submitted article and vote for them.  Once they recieve enough votes, they make it out of the newsroom and onto the front page!

Continue reading “Wine Life social news site”

Wine Blogging Wednesday #23 on Vivi’s – BBQ Wines!

Vivi’s is proud to host July’s edition of the monthly virtual tasting party and the topic is – Bar-B-Que Wines!  This topic might seem Northern Hemisphere biased but there are two

things to note about that –

1.  When Lenn graciously accepted Vivi’s as a home for WBW#23 it was July 2005 and WBW wasn’t quite as global as it is now and

2.  I use my Bar-B-Que YEAR ROUND!  Rain or shine, East Coast or West Coast, there was never an excuse not to fire up the grill and cook up some good eats!

So with that I thought it would be great to hear what the wine blogosphere pairs with their BBQ meals.   Hot weather, cold weather, red, white, charcoal, wood burning, or propane we want to hear about your BBQ wine experience.

If you would like to take part in WBW#23, fire up the grill, choose a wine, look at it, sniff it,

taste it, drink and then write something about it on your blog.  Post a trackback or comment here on Vivi’s with a link back to your tasting note.  On Wednesday July 5th I’ll start collecting the notes and post a round-up article so we can see what the world pairs with their grillin’!

If you don’t have a blog, just send them to me via e-mail ( and I’ll include them in my round up.

One last note – we at Vivi’s have been developing a community news site – think “ meets Wine Bloggers”.  Its ready for public BETA testing and is designed to give create a news site where the wine community has editorial control (and provide traffic back to community contributors).  We’ve been developing it for a couple months but its time to get some community feedback!  The wine blogosphere has given Kelly and I so many good wine experiences we thought we’d give back to the wine blogosphere!  Sign up, check it out, send feedback – with the way this community participates this can be a very useful tool.

Enjoy the Wine Life!


“Pink Marketing” Wine Myth

I commented on this topic in the past when “White Lie” and other “Pink Marketing” approaches hit the market basically taking the position months ago that artificially creating “chick” wines was not only a waste of time but somewhat condescending.  To market and create wine that is somewhat low quality just to take out the carbs or some other fad (effectively over-processing the wine to force certain characteristics) and create “feminine” names then target women with it because they are “different” is very questionable.  And now there

is a report to back that position up.

On the Women Wine Critics Board web blog, researcher Christian Miller answers some marketing questions with statistical data.  Miller is the proprietor of Full Glass Research and director of research for Wine Opinions. “We do market research for a variety of wineries, and grower/winery organizations. During the course of this research, we often look for patterns or trends by gender,” explains Miller.

A few highlights from the report:

Core wine drinkers – those who drink wine once a week or more often – are 46% male, 54% female. This group consumes over 80% of the wine in the U.S. However, the gender ratio more than reverses in California, where, according to Miller, the majority of core wine drinkers are men.

Miller’s research indicates little basis for a popular belief that women prefer white wines and cute labels. “Females were more likely to choose pinot noir, but the other varietals showed no gender differences,” he reports. “Females were slightly more enthusiastic about zinfandel, but otherwise there were no significant gender differences.”

While “wine geeks” are as likely to be women as men—they both drink wine frequently, have distinct opinions about wines, and spring for expensive wines regularly—the gender difference grows more obvious as you go up the price spectrum. When asked if they have ever bought wines priced $100 or more, 45% of Wine Opinions males say yes vs. 24% of females.

Readers of Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator skew male, says Miller, 4-1 for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and 2-1 for the Wine Spectator. Males also stated higher influence on buying decisions for these publications, so “it is reasonable to assume that ‘point-chasing’ is a more of a male activity,” concludes Miller.

Granted, having an engineering background laden with statistical work I know stats can be read many ways but bottom line here is that you don’t want to tailor the WINE to women and create goofy names, you want to tailor the ENVIRONMENT to women.  Wine marketing minds are absolutely missing this.  Look at the survey – men read Wine Spectator and Robert Parker.  Men dominate wine cellar usage.  Women want reasonably priced wine (unfortunate labor statistic there regarding income).  Don’t “tailor” wine for women or artificially create “chick” wines; tailor and market the environment for drinking them to women – female oriented wine bars, tasting rooms, websites, magazines, even vacation spots.  Hit their price points (as you would for any demographic with their income statistic).  But most of all GIVE THEM GOOD WINE!  They can appreciate it as much if not more than anyone else!  Like I said before – don’t put lipstick on a pig, it doesn’t work… 

Wine clubs – are they for discounts or more?

Wine clubs are an interesting beast. Working on a couple of consulting projects I realized that most wine clubs seem to offer no other benefit than sending me wine and giving me a chance to purchase more of it at a discount.

Is that it? Is there more? Some have a panel of experts (aka “wine buyers” or “sommeliers”) that taste a whole bunch of wines and send you something that basically doesn’t suck. They then send you wine in the form of “wine of the month”. Wineries use wine clubs to give members special insights to their new releases or special dinners.

As a project, I’m setting out to understand what truly is the benefit, from a user standpoint, of a wine club. Did you sign up? If so, why? If not, why not? If a wine club could be more useful, what would you suggest they do?

Wine clubs come in different varieties but feedback on any of them will do. You have wine clubs from retailers (its hard to tell which ones are putting in the work and which ones are getting rid of overstock), wine clubs from wineries (usually accompanied with some nice perks), online wine clubs (not sure what the advantage is here other than pre-tasted wines so that you don’t stumble on crap…but who’s to say its not crap anyway), and others. If you have a comment go ahead and post it. I’m going to be gathering data from everywhere that I can and I’ll post the findings here.

Oh, if you LOVE your wine club, please contribute that too. You can e-mail me at or post a comment to this letter.

Enjoy the Wine Life!