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Wine 2.0 Unites Wine and Tech

June 2008
by Kate Lavin
Wine 2.0
Vie Winery's Barry Dorf, Rachel Blatt and Todd Seaver, from left, say the winery's name reflects the values of celebration, life and friendship--the winery was founded by a group of friends.
PHOTOS: Kate Lavin
San Francisco, Calif. -- Electronic devices powered up and wine flowed April 24 in San Francisco, where winemaking facility Crushpad hosted Wine 2.0, an event designed to foster partnerships among members of the technology and wine industries.

Tech companies Popular Media and Qik co-sponsored the event with multiple wine-based businesses, and venture capitalists were encouraged to attend and talk with proprietors of the smaller wineries, many of which do their blending at Crushpad.
Wine 2.0
Craig Balkin, left, and Stan Bradbury, founders 122° West Winery, promote their text program.
Wine 2.0
Penelope Coral Gadd-Coster, owner of Coral Mustang Wines, pours at the Wine 2.0 event.
Craig Balkin and Stan Bradbury, founders of 122° West Winery, debuted a text-messaging alert system that allows them to send updates to wine drinkers who subscribe to their text newsfeed. By texting the word "WINE" to the short code NEWBAR (639227), participants automatically are added to the 122° West Winery contact list.
Wine 2.0
Sharol R. and John D. Tarabini of Damian Rae Winery both have corporate backgrounds.
Wine 2.0
Kelly Naughtin, left, and Matt Raymond celebrate shelter dogs with Canine Wines varietals.
Balkin and Bradbury developed the texting application for, their first vertical business launch. "We developed a software application from the ground up that's all about mobile CRM (customer relationship management)," Bradbury said. "The way the world is now, everyone has a mobile phone--everyone has a mobile phone with them at all times."

Customers opt-in to get the text messages by sending a winery-specific message to a short code.

Rhône Rendezvous

Hospice successful despite sagging economy

by Kathy Marcks Hardesty
Hospice du Rhone
Winemaker Augie Hug of Hug Cellars and John Alban of Alban Vineyards attend Hospice du Rhône at the California Mid-State Fairgrounds in Paso Robles.
PHOTO: Mel Hill
Paso Robles, Calif. -- Not even a slumping American economy could curb the enthusiasm of the wine industry specialists who attended the annual Hospice du Rhône (HdR) celebration on California's Central Coast. The three-day celebration, which attracts more winemakers than consumers, sold out again this year with 1,100 Rhône aficionados from around the world crowding the exhibit halls at the California Mid-State Fairgrounds for the 16th HdR celebration.

The educational focus centered on international Rhône zones this year, featuring Spain, Australia and France. But the rare vertical tasting of E. Guigal led by Philippe Guigal had winemakers gushing over the experience.
Hospice du Rhone
Auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski officiates the auction portion of the Rhône event.
PHOTO: Dan Hardesty
Hospice du Rhone
Jonata winemaker Matt Dees discusses Syrahs from his Santa Ynez Valley-based site. PHOTO: Mel Hill
Two up-and-coming new brands were highlighted: Jonata from Santa Ynez Valley and Booker from Paso Robles, neither of which have any wine on the market yet. Still, Jonata winemaker Matt Dees managed to present his 2004 through 2006 Syrahs.

Auction proceeds were down slightly at $115,000, compared with $130,000 raised during the "one-of-a-kind" Barrel Auction in 2007. The highest bid came from Keith Prothero of England's Mullineaux Family Wines, who paid $27,000 for 18 magnums of Guigal's Hommage à Etienne Guigal.
Wine 2.0
Keith Prothero places a bid for 18 magnums of Guigal's Hommàge à Etienne Guigal.
PHOTO: Dan Hardesty
Wine 2.0
John Salisbury of Salisbury Vineyards attends the 16th Hospice du Rhône celebration.
PHOTO: Dan Hardesty
The two grand tastings were sold out, according to marketing director Catherine Jaeger, who noted: "People are still willing to spend their money on things they deem important."
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