Advancing the nexus of viticulture and technology.

Da Wine!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Chitown buddy of mine recently gave us a bottle of 2005 Mike Ditka's "Kick Ass Red," made in partnership with the Mendocino Wine Company.

I won't offend our readers with my simplistic review of the wine. Instead, I point you to a January 2007 blind tasting by the Chicago Sun Times of the 2004 Mike Ditka Kick Ass Red against a 1998 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon.

Is this fair?

It is when you consider the "unbiased" panel included columnists Mark Brown, Elliot Harris, David Roeder, and Paige Wiser. The 50-50 vote leads us to one conclusion; you'll have to try Da Wine! yourself...


The truth about blogging

Friday, July 27, 2007

From Hugh McLeod on GapingVoid


Windows Vista | Our Take

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Some of our users are asking us if they should upgrade to MicroSoft Windows Vista, so I guess it is time we weighed in on the evolutionary (though not necessarily revolutionary) product that was five years in the making and has been available for nine months...


If you need a new PC and it comes with Windows Vista, go ahead. Otherwise, we see no reason to upgrade (especially if you have an older PC).


  • Cool Mac-like user interface;
  • Better stability, fewer crashes;
  • Improved security.


  • Costly ($200 - $400 depending on version);
  • Hefty hardware requirements (you might need a new PC);
  • Some compatibility issues with non MS applications;
  • Lots of little enhancements, but no single compelling reason to upgrade from Windows XP;

BTW - here is a funny tutorial on installing Windows Vista.


CNN Money | Entrepreneurial Vintners

I was happy to see a CNN article yesterday featuring two of my favorite CA wine producers: Hall Wines and Michael-David Vineyards. Read article here.

The article described the advantages of operating a small wineries. I particularly liked the emphasis that both groups place on grassroots marketing.

A visit to the Hall Wines website shows how a small winery can have a huge presence on the web. Another strategy is explained by David Phillips, "We're constantly on the road, spreading the message."

Good luck to both, and keep making great wine!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Inertia Beverage Group (IBG) announced the development of a FREE web-based compliance tool for the wine industry (click here to read the announcement in Forbes).

IBG's "Rethink Compliance Tool" will lower the barriers wineries face in shipping direct to consumers, mainly the time and expense required to comply with the rules and regulations in 50 different states. The tool will launch to the public at the end of Q3 2007. It is a web-based tool (of course) that promises greater access to wine for consumers and greater access to consumers for wineries. Way to go IBG!


Wine Industry Tech Symposium

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The 2007 Wine Industry Technology Symposium was held in Napa today. This year's theme was "Technology Best Practices for the Wine Industry" and it featured some interesting speakers with fascinating advice...

The CIO of FedEx Kinko's, Richard Maranville, said, "You guys are just at the beginning of using technology. If it's not something you're doing today, it's definitely something you're going to be doing tomorrow, because your competitors are doing it."

The wine industry's "shock jock," Gary Vaynerchuk* of (TV) encouraged wineries to embrace the web to find and understand wine consumers and to sell more wine. He went on to say, "Take control of your brand. Put out the information you want out there. Reach the consumer direct, so you're not at the mercy of anyone….You have to care. If you're good, you're going to win. Doing the right thing always wins." unbiased summary?



* Gary described a wine as "not obnoxiously over the top and fake as many of these types of wines are. Instead of a full face-lift and boob job and suction and all of that, maybe this just got a nose job."

Organic trumps local?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Guardian reported a University of Wales Institute in Cardiff study that found the majority of food's ecological footprint comes from food processing, storage, packaging and growing conditions. The researchers argue that a 2% of the environmental impact of food comes from food miles - the distance food travels before it reaches the consumer - and thus misses the big picture. A better system would consider all environmental impacts (e.g., land required and the amount of energy used to grow, harvest, process, package, and transport the food).

The researchers recommend that consumers should not base their choices on distance alone, as local food could have a larger footprint than food flown halfway around the world. They go on to say, "the footprint for wine is just too high."

[This assertion is supported by a 2006 study from the University of Siena which compared the conventional and organic production of Tuscan wine. This study found that a conventional farm requires twice the amount of natural resources, expressed in terms of global hectares.]


Server configuration

Monday, July 02, 2007

We're optimizing our server configuration this week. Though we're doing the DNS changes during this week's Independence Day holiday and have structured the changes in such a way that the server downtime should go unnoticed by our users (given the timezones that we span, there is no "ideal" time), we still wanted to get the word out to prevent any unnecessary anxiety attacks. In addition to being fully backed up in multiple sites and on multiple media, your data is not the subject of our work and the only thing that you may notice is temporary system availability issues. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please don't hesitate to get a hold of us.


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