Winefest is making most of popularity of social networking

The Colorado Mountain Winefest is making the most of the surging popularity of social media by updating its Web site and increasing its public outreach through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The new Web site, said Elaine Matthews with the marketing firm Ryan, Sawyer & Whitney of Grand Junction, not only is more user-friendly but it also allows guests to purchase Winefest tickets, find updated schedules and explore the many events planned for the Sept. 16–19 event.

Colorado Mountain Winefest can be found at http://www.ColoradoWinefest.com.

Another new addition is the use of those social media sites to stay in constant contact with wine and food lovers and Winefest fans.

Through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Winefest followers can receive up-to-date news on events, promotions and additions to the Winefest schedule.

Ryan, Sawyer & Whitney is working with Winefest to redesign the Web site and implement the social media program.

You, too, can join the Colorado Mountain Winefest conversation on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cowinefest, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cowinefest, and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/coloradowinefest.

While winemakers and vineyard managers in the Grand Valley anxiously await full-on spring in order to judge how much of their vines survived last December’s sub-zero cold spell, the news from California is that the rumors of a wave of foreclosures hitting Napa Valley vineyards and wineries are a bit overblown.

According to a recent story in the San Francisco Business Times and reported on the Web site Wine Business News, accounts of a surge of foreclosures in Napa Valley forced by the drop in high-end wine sales have been exaggerated.

In an interview with the Business Times, Eileen Fredrikson, of the wine industry consulting firm Woodside’s Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, downplayed the tales of woe, saying, “We have not received calls from folks desperate to sell their wineries.”

“As with any industry, there is no one-size-fits-all story,” Fredrickson said.

The fears of foreclosures came after U.S. high-end wine exports dropped 9.5-percent last year, potentially putting at risk some winery owners with big mortgages.

The soft world economy made pricey wines, those selling for $20 or more, nearly a thing of the past as consumers turned to less-expensive choices.

However, things already are looking better for the upper-end producers. According to the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, which represents 1,000 or so California wineries, fourth-quarter wine exports were up nearly 16 percent compared with a year earlier.

In an earlier story in the S.F. Business Times, reporter Chris Rauber quoted Peter Grossman of Walnut Creek’s WineCircle Consulting as saying that in 2009, “the consumer went to sleep.”

Consumers are buying less-expensive wines and are finding quality wines at lower prices, creating a trend that’s expected to continue, Grossman said.

This is affecting “wineries, restaurants, distributors, everybody,” he said.

Wineries will be “learning to cope with a game where the rules have changed,” Grossman told Rauber. “Everybody’s trying to come up with a survival strategy.”

Wine of the week: Survival strategy is a good definition of this week’s wine pick.

I recently received a sample of Underdog Wine Merchants’ Monthaven Vineyards Central Coast Chardonnay, a three-liter boxed wine in Underdogs’ unique eight-sided Octavin Home Wine Bar collection.

Priced at $23.99, it’s the liquid equivalent of four 750-ml bottles at roughly $4 a bottle.

The wine was bright and fruity, with a bit of green apple and grapefruit and good acidity, making it a delightful accompaniment for an outside lunch on the first day of spring.

The box protects the wine from light and oxygen, wine’s two biggest enemies, and the easy-to-use spigot allows you to pour one glass at a time.

Boxed wines aren’t new but Underdog is aiming to lift the bar of quality, offering 10 well-made wines, including sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, pinot noir, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, all in the $22–$24 range.

The wines, some of which previously have been available only in bottles, are made by well-known winemakers including Silver Birch Vineyards of Marlborough, New Zealand, Big House of Soledad, Calif., and Bodegas Osborne of Spain.

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